200 Content Amplification Headlines that Drove Ridiculous Amounts of Engagement Post-Click

After combing through nearly 2,500 native ad unit headlines from 2018 in the inPowered labs we found the 200 that drove very high content engagement rates post-click. As a matter of fact, the content engagement rates ranged between 65% and 97%.

Similar article headlines like this one focus on click through rates (CTR) and not engagement post native ad unit click. This is important to note because after pouring through millions of dollars’ worth of data we found that there is absolutely no correlation between CTR and post-click content engagement. In some cases, we discovered a negative correlation. This is indicative of bot traffic.

Other articles that share best practices when writing headlines focus on what gets users to click not necessarily engage. Remember, there’s no correlation between the two. That means there may be other best practices that help drive engagement.


To determine whether content was engaged with we used Chartbeat Analytics’ 15 seconds dwell time benchmark. It states that after 15 seconds, on average, 80% of the content was consumed by 70% of the visitors. In addition, we separated the headlines by content type as shown below in order to glean additional insights.

  • Article
  • How-To
  • List
  • What Post
  • Why Post
  • Brand Mention

The “Article” category is the catch-all for content that didn’t fit in any of the other ones. “Brand Mention” is the category with headlines containing a brand or product name. We chose to include this category because of the on-going debate in content marketing about whether that’s a bad practice. This category supersedes all others, meaning, a “How-To” headline with a brand mention goes into the brand category. The actual brands and products in the headlines have been replaced. Here’s an example: [INDUSTRY BRAND].

To determine if a headline qualified to be on the list, we only looked at ones that lead to at least 500 content engagements. However, most were in the thousands to over 100,000 content engagements. Also, the image displayed with the headline likely has an impact on engagement, too. Headlines do not sit in a silo in content amplification.

Headlines and Engagement Rates

Why Post Headlines Engagement Rate
The Facts: Why Single-Spool is Superior for ITEP 82%
Why Smartwatches Are An Officer Safety Essential 75%
Why Every Woman Should Be Taking Probiotics 66%

These ad unit headlines have a very specific audience. Each one identifies who the article is for – women, police and aviation decision makers. Serving these ad units up to users not identified by each respective headline would have drove the engagement rates down considerably.

What Post Headlines Engagement Rate
What Kind of Car Is Right for You? 87%
Gas vs. Diesel Engines: What’s the Difference? 79%
What Octane Ratings Really Mean for Your Car 77%
What Does No Annual Fee Mean? 73%
What to Know About Different Types of Credit 73%
What to do if your financial aid changes 68%
What investors can expect in tech for rest of 2018 65%

The one common thread in this category is the topic. Ad unit headlines here are either about cars or finance. The last headline is similar to the Why Post category in that it identifies who the article is for – investors.

How-To Headlines Engagement Rate
Learn How Your Child Can Get Financial Aid 91%
How New Wrist-Worn Tech Can Save Police Lives 86%
Making the Most of Your Space 83%
Home Office: Managing Your Risk 81%
How to Capture Your Dog’s Personality 79%
Finding the Best Type of Car for You 79%
How to Outsmart Card Skimmers at the Pump 79%
How to Make Your Planned Candid Look Authentic 73%
How to Create a Successful Travel Blog 71%
How to Find Leading Lines As You Travel 69%
Beautify Your Lawn on a Budget 69%
How to Get a Great Photo in All Weather Conditions 68%
How to Shoot Abandoned Places 65%

This category of ad unit headlines is all about helping solve peoples’ problems. People only go to the web for two reason – to solve a problem or to be entertained, quickly. Businesses are in the business of solving problems. That’s what they do and why they exist. By leveraging this fact and choosing the right problem to solve these headlines drove significant engagement.

Brand Mention Headlines Engagement Rate
[AUTO BRAND & MODEL]: Good Things Come in Small Packages 84%
[BICYCLE BRAND] Bicycles: One Ambition Inspires More 84%
[BICYCLE BRAND]: Creating Community Change 83%
[BICYCLE BRAND]: The Path to Healthy Living 80%
[BRAND] shares visual trends for 2018 78%
[AUTO BRAND & MODEL]: A Shining Light Amidst Declining Sedans 78%
Why the New [AUTO BRAND & MODEL] is Ready to Fight Tonight 78%
2018 [AUTO BRAND & MODEL]: 6-Speed for Driving Enthusiasts 73%
2019 [AUTO BRAND & MODEL]: What Has Changed 73%
 [AUTO BRAND & MODEL]: Meeting the needs of active lifestyles 73%
2019 [AUTO BRAND & MODEL] Gets Interior, Engine Upgrades 71%
Highly engineered [AUTO BRAND & MODEL] separates it from others 71%
2018 [AUTO BRAND & MODEL] Review: Significant Improvement 71%
[AUTO BRAND & MODEL] [TECHNOLOGY] Is An Ideal Driving Partner 70%
[AUDIO BRAND’s] [PRODUCT] Headset Unveiled 70%
Check Out The Latest [BRAND] Smartwatch Review! 70%
2019 [AUTO BRAND & MODEL] Has the Engine It Deserves 69%
What you need to know about [MOBILE APP GAME] 68%
Road Trip: 2019 [AUTO BRAND & MODEL] 67%
[HOTEL BRAND] Residences Leverage Modern Technology 67%
Learn How the [TESTING BRAND] Helps Open Doors to College 67%
2019 [AUTO BRAND & MODEL] Gets More Standard Equipment 66%
10 Reasons SMBs Should Switch to [SMART PHONE BRAND & MODEL] 66%
[TELECOM BRAND] Business Serves Up Connectivity 66%
[TRAVEL BRAND] updates Northeast train seating 66%
Ready to Ditch the PC and Go Mobile-Only with [PRODUCT]? 65%
1,500 miles on the [MOTORCYCLE BRAND] [MODEL] 65%
[AUDIO BRAND] announces latest budget headset 65%
[MOBILE APP GAME] is a more engaging than Pokemon Go 65%
Social Media Shopping Hacks to use at [RETAIL BRAND] 65%

There’s long been a debate in content marketing concerning whether or not including a brand name in a headline helps or hurts with CTRs and engagement. There’re examples that look like it’s a hindrance and examples that look like it helps. The biggest difference between the two is the amount of brand awareness associated with the brand. All of the brands above are well known and popular. The takeaway from this is that headlines should only include a brand name if the brand is a household name.

List Headlines Engagement Rate
5 Travel Photography Mistakes & How to Avoid Them 95%
The Least Awkward Travel Photo Poses: Ranked 94%
6 of the Most Cliché Shots on Instagram 94%
4 Instagram Secrets to Record-Breaking Likes 93%
Consumer Reports’ Most Reliable Small Cars of 2018 89%
7 Easy Rules for Capturing a City Skyline 81%
6 Tips to Up Your Beach Photography Game on IG 81%
10 Common Credit Terms Defined 81%
Tricks to Capturing Picturesque Bridge Shots 78%
Non Cliche Ways to Capture A Perfect Sunrise Shot 77%
7 Free or Low Cost Ideas to Enjoy Summer 77%
Tips for Food Photos You Can Practically Taste 76%
5 Ways to Be the Best Tenant Ever 76%
Hidden Places to Love on a Cruise Ship 76%
30 Fun Winter Activities in Lancaster, PA 75%
7 Hobbies That Can Make You Money 75%
8 Photography Terms You Absolutely Need to Know 75%
5 Ways Shadows Can Make Your Vacation Photos Pop 75%
Tech Trends Impacting 6 Key Industries 74%
6 B&W Photography Tips to Take to the Streets 74%
RIP: 15 Cars Pushin Up Daisies in 2018 73%
4 Tips For Your DIY Pet Photoshoot 71%
Money-Saving Mindset: 7 Things to Know 71%
7 Aerial Photo Tips to Elevate Your Travel Photos 70%
5 Hidden Spots to Explore on Your Next Cruise 70%
7 Tips For Photography On The Go 69%
These are the 30 best cars for summer road trips 69%
5 Really Good Reasons to Join a Credit Union 68%
5 Places In Your Home You Should Hang a Mirror 68%
10 Tips for Taking Sellable Travel Photos 68%
4 Common Business Communication Failures to Avoid 68%
6 Signs of AFM in Kids 68%
Top 30 Things to Do this Winter in Lancaster 67%
How to Address 3 Common Investment Mistakes 67%
Photo Etiquette: How to Ask in 15 Languages 67%
4 things you missed when choosing a vision plan 67%
Romantic and Cozy Restaurants in Lancaster, PA 67%
8 Epic Jumping Poses for Your Next Trip 67%
6 Ways Smart Factories Are Using Mobile Today 66%
Mobile Cost-Saving Tips for a Growing Business 66%
10 Mobile Productivity Essentials for Business Own 66%
3 Investment Mistakes & What To Do About Them 65%
5 Trends Shaping the Retail Industry Today 65%

This isn’t surprising at all. The List Headlines category has long been known to overachieve. It’s human nature to gravitate towards lists. They solve problems and hint at doing so quickly. They also lend themselves to scrolling to look at everything in the list. Which, in-turn, lends itself to 15 seconds or more of engagement.

Article Headlines Engagement Rate
Gen X’s high screen time could cost employers 97%
Symptoms to Watch for – Signs of GYN cancers 96%
Don’t Ignore The Symptoms of Gynecologic Cancer 94%
The College Application Process 89%
Chelsea Handler Wants to Know What You Think 88%
Is One Car Enough for the Two of You? 87%
Outdated Beauty Trend We’re Totally Over 87%
A Solo Traveler’s Guide to Self-Portraits 85%
Sharing a Car With Your Spouse 85%
How Big-Ticket Purchases Are Changing This Year 85%
Is Your Condo Eco-Friendly? 85%
A Woman’s Guide to Gynecologic Cancers 84%
When a Friend Borrows Your Car 84%
How a Bicycle Shop is Impacting its Community 84%
How One Bicycle Shop Is Changing a Community 84%
Inspiring a Community: A Small Business’ Ambition 83%
A Photographer’s Guide to Barcelona 83%
Roshni Patel Reveals Feel-Good Style Secrets 82%
Work from Home? Protecting Your Business Property 82%
Gynecologic Cancers: Separating Myth from Reality 82%
The Next Generation Of Army Helicopter Is Here 82%
A Civilized Conversation with Canadians 81%
The Average Big-Ticket Purchase Is Going Up 80%
How #doortraits Became a Global Photography Trend 80%
Chelsea Handler Live On Her Cross-Country Tour 79%
A Smartphone Could Soon Power Your Squad Car PC 79%
Visual trends to get behind. So you can get ahead. 79%
Can a Friend Drive My Car? 78%
How a Fashion Blogger Elevates Her Everyday Style 78%
Does Renting a Vehicle Require Buying Insurance? 78%
Food Styling Tips for Better Pictures 77%
A Squad Car Computer Powered by Your Phone? 77%
Benefit flexibility is key to tight talent market 77%
#YesFilter: The Right Way to Use Art Filters 77%
See what’s shaping creativity in 2018 76%
How This Hobby Became a Global Photography Trend 76%
Fleet Still Grappling with ELD Regulations? 76%
Do You Need Rental Car Insurance? 76%
The Psychology of the Food Photography Craze 75%
Celebs Using Their Stardom to Talk Taboo Topics 75%
Are Retail Managers Ready to Go Mobile-Only? 75%
Small Living Space? Make the Most of It 75%
This Skincare Product Has Knocked My Socks Off! 75%
Don’t Make This Mistake With Your Lawnmower 75%
Financial Terms Explained 74%
Here’s What’s Replacing Legacy Warehouse Solutions 74%
Building a Good Relationship With Your Landlord 74%
These Are Americans’ New Career Ambitions 73%
Don’t Idle Your Cold Car 73%
FMCSA Regulations for ELD: Where Do You Stand? 72%
Do You Need to ‘Save’ Your Savings Account? 72%
How Can Mobile Devices Boost Driver Retention? 72%
Blue Hour: Golden Hour’s Lesser-Known Cousin 72%
Small Home Improvements, Big Impact 72%
Healthcare IT Leaders Are Ready to Ditch the PC 72%
Not all gasoline is created equal 72%
Is Your Savings Account Working Hard For You? 72%
The Most Adorable Dog Photography Trends on IG 72%
#Tilestyle: The Trend Taking Over Your IG Feed 71%
Should I Get a No Annual Fee Credit Card? 71%
How a Personal Loan Could Help Build Credit 71%
Are Physicians Ready to Ditch PCs and Go Mobile? 71%
Do You Have a Data Security Plan? 71%
A Customizable Mobile Solution for Your Warehouse 70%
College Financial Aid Fast Facts 70%
Manufacturing’s Future Will Be Powered By Mobile 70%
Chelsea Handler Wants to Tell You How She Feels 70%
How Instagram is changing the way we travel 70%
Fleet Managers: Can Mobile Help Retainer Drivers? 70%
The Missing Link in Improving Manufacturing Uptime 70%
Haven’t heard of Pickleball? You’re about to 69%
Is a No Annual Fee Credit Card Right For You? 69%
Customize Your Warehouse Mobile Solution 69%
Golden Hour: Nature’s Gift for Better Photos 69%
A Retail Manager’s Mobile-Only Day-in-the-Life 68%
Here’s How Mobile Drives Manufacturing Efficiency 68%
Modern Manufacturers Ditch the PC & Embrace Mobile 68%
The Best Lens for Every Type of Trip 68%
Don’t let poor service hurt your online business 68%
Need a Rugged Tablet for Your Field Workers? 67%
Keep Your Digestive System Running Smoothly 67%
Rules of Composition Photographer Should Know 67%
The Changing World of Americans’ Travel Spending 67%
A NYC Blogger Shows How to Wear Denim this Fall 67%
Rider has spoken: This is Motorcycle of the Year 67%
Rise in Acute Flaccid Myelitis 67%
Guide Your Child on the Path to College 67%
How Millennials are Defining the Dining Scene 67%
Local goes a long way. 66%
The Optimal Legacy Warehouse Solution Replacement 66%
A Day in the Life of a Travel Influencer 66%
Planning to Send Your Teen to College? 66%
New Mobile Tech Is Set to Revolutionize Policing 66%
Importance of Quality Cameras in Video Monitoring 66%
Editors Weigh In On Latest Smartwatch-Check It Out 66%
Smart Factory Tech That Improves Profitability 66%
Here’s How Mobile Can Improve Manufacturing Uptime 65%
Food Blogger Sarah Fennel Shares Her Secrets 65%
Discover Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year 65%
Where to Take Incredible Celestial Photos 65%
How Going Mobile Only Saves Money, Simplifies IT 65%
How Much Data Do I Need? Finding Your Perfect Plan 65%
Could a Super Powerful Smartphone Replace Your PC? 65%
Seattle’s infrastructure transformation is here 65%

The catch-all Article Headlines category is difficult to drive macro-conclusions from. The value derived from the list isn’t necessarily from one takeaway, but rather the list itself. Crafting native ad unit headlines similar to any of the above should be a recipe for post-click content engagement, assuming other best practices are followed.

As marketers, we should expect our headlines to drive engagement for our content, not clicks. Click-bate headlines and images in native ad units may get a click, but likely little engagement. Ultimately, these types of headlines usually lead to a poor user experience. This experience can hurt a brand’s image. Use the takeaways highlighted from each category to maximize content engagement post-click. In addition, each one of the 200 native ad unit headlines can serve as a template for crafting headlines that lead to content engagement.

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