How many times have you found yourself reading an article or watching a video on a topic that you take no interest in, just because the headline caught your attention?

Don’t mind counting, you probably wouldn’t be able to count every single time.

This happens on regular bases to every one of us, most probably because we are humans. And that means that we are not immune when it comes to curiosity or emotions.

This brings a whole new level of importance to headlines, realizing that they might be the key to boosting the engagement amongst the readers.

Therefore, more and more marketers are dedicating themselves to exploring the nature of headlines with the aim of finding the most effective ones.

We have gathered the data based on a research that was done and prepared some good piece of advice, all with the aim to help you write the most effective Facebook headlines as part of your Facebook marketing strategy.


The research was conducted by Steve Rayson from Buzzsumo and it relies on 100 million article headlines that were published in the period between 1st of March 2017 and 10th of May 2017.

The main goal of this research was to come to the conclusion which headlines are the most effective, and which, on the contrary, would just make your potential readers keep scrolling through the dashboard.

In the next section, we will focus on analyzing the data and defining concrete steps on what you should do in order to achieve higher audience engagement.


Here are the 20 most effective headlines.

When we say “effective” headlines, we mean the ones that drive the most likes, shares, and comments on Facebook.

As the result of this research, the three-word phrases, or trigrams, were ranked depending on their performance.

1. …that will make you…

The definite number one was this phrase, which came as a shock to many researchers.

Analyzing what stands behind this phrase, we realized that it’s much more complex than we thought.

For the start, this is a link between the action and the outcome.

It states clearly what will happen if you take a specific action, guaranteeing you the positive output.

For example:

  • 10 facts about life that will make you more grateful
  • 5 things you didn’t know about chocolate that will make you love it even more
  • The best morning exercises that will make you kick start the day

Highlighting the outcome, our emotions get triggered and therefore, we desire to read a specific article, even though we weren’t much enthusiastic about the action itself.

2. …this is why…

We all want to know why some things happen, and as human beings, naturally, we seek an explanation for everything that is happening.

This is why this phrase is amongst the most effective ones, driving our curiosity and satisfying our need to feel smarter and more in peace with ourselves.

You see what I did there? I guarantee that you feel much better now, that you can add another thing to your knowledge list.

For example:

  • This is why people should exercise 5 minutes daily.
  • This is why hummingbird feeders are often red.

3. Can we guess…?

What is the one topic you can always talk about?

Yourself, of course! We really enjoy talking about ourselves because we always know what to say and are certain that nobody knows more in that field than us.

Besides the satisfaction this provides, we also enjoy getting confirmation about some things that we believe in and generally, the picture we build of ourselves.

Therefore, we often can’t resist taking a quiz that will try to guess something about us. Better say – that will confirm something we are proud of.

For example:

  • Can we guess what is your age based on your music preference?
  • Can we guess your zodiac sign?

4. Only X in…

People are social beings but at the same time, they have a desire to be recognized as unique and completely different than the others.

When it comes to quizzes that state that only a few people on this world can understand or do something, we want to be amongst those people.

That is why we take these quizzes that challenge us, and when we prove that we are amongst the X population, rarely we refrain ourselves from sharing it with all of our friends on Facebook.

For example:

  • Only 5% of people can solve this test.

5. The reason is…

We all want to know what stands behind everything.

The bigger the effect of something, the more we want to know the reason behind it.

When things are explained to people, it helps them connect dots and their own thoughts, which gives them more confidence in their knowledge and understanding of things in general.

For example:

  • Have you ever seen can walking in circles for hours? The reason behind is so-called cat weed.

6. …are freaking out…

Drama alert! People will tell you that they don’t like drama and try to stay as far as possible from it, but will also be the first line to see a dramatic event and follow every detail from a safe distance.

Whenever something unusual happens or attracts many people’ attention, we want to know every little detail about it, even though it doesn’t affect us.

Here we are highlighting human’s curiosity once again and the fact that we want to feel a bit shocked about something, feeling safe due to it not happening directly to us.

For example:

  • People are freaking out about this new snake specie. And this is why…

7. X stunning photos…

Why wouldn’t you like to expose your eyes to beautiful pictures?

Exactly, you can’t find the reason not to.

Even though you won’t feel attracted to everything that will be shown on these pictures, you will often find yourself looking at them just to awake some positive feeling within yourself or brighten your day.

For example:

  • 10 stunning photos of beautiful places around the world.
  • These 5 stunning photos have shaken the world.

8. …tears of joy…

Yes, you will find this phrase in a lot of songs, but also in a lot of effective headlines.

This is due to the fact that whatever stands behind the headline will probably awake strong emotions within us, which is something we are definitely looking forward to.

For example:

  • After seeing this cute youtube video, I have cried tears of joy.

9. This is what happens…

When you read a headline that implies that there’s a clear and specific reaction to something, your brain really wants to find out more about that reaction.

Headlines such as:

  • This is what happens when you eat only fruits for 7 days
  • This is what happens when you order clothes online without trying etc.

Provoke our curiosity and make us read the article.

10. …make you cry

Again, this is an emotional headline. This will probably make your audience want to see for themselves if the article is really that strong to make them cry.

Bear in mind, exaggerating headlines just to draw attention to your articles without articles following the headline’s promise, will only make you lose your audience for good.

For example:

  • This short video will definitely make you cry.

11. …give you goosebumps

This phrase can often be linked to articles containing videos, especially those of somebody singing.

These are quite common in public talent shows where people, besides showing their talent, often tell their stories, and connect with the audience in that way.

For example:

  • This artist’s performance will give you goosebumps.

12. Talking about it

Do you know what’s trending right now?

Of course you do, because people want to stay on track with what’s popular right now and make sure they can join any conversation these days, since “that” is something everybody’s talking about!

For example:

  • People around the internet are talking about it.

13. …is too cute…

How many times before have you seen something cute – baby or an animal and just wished to squeeze it, pop it or even “eat it”?

For example:

  • This little kitten is too cute that only cold-hearted people won’t react.

According to science, seeing cute things can make us almost lose control, all due to the high positive-affect.

Therefore, implying that there is something that is too cute behind the headline will definitely seem appealing to many.

14. …shocked to see…

You would probably be surprised (shocked!) to realize how many people need drama in their life.

There are many explanations to this drama phenomenon, but one thing is clear: even though you might not cause drama in your daily life on purpose, you will probably guilty enjoy to read about somebody else’s, just to remind yourself that you are doing good.

For example:

  • After watching this movie, we were shocked to see how harsh reality can be.

15. …melt your heart…

You know that your heart can be melted only by your partner or some cute animal and that’s it. Or is it?

Whether these are really the things that melt your heart or there are some more you would add to the list, you have to admit that you enjoy the feeling.

Therefore, many people are attracted to such headlines, exactly due to their desire to experience the feeling.

For example:

  • People around the glove love it. This little Pomsky dog will melt your heart.

16. X things only…

This is quite interesting. As mentioned above, people like to feel unique, but most of all, they tend to feel understood.

Therefore, reading articles that are dedicated only to the role they have – for example, mother, architect, older sister etc. makes them feel revealed and as they belong.

Headlines such as:

  • 10 things only single mothers will know
  • 5 things only English teachers can relate to
  • 10 things only highly educated people will understand

This is a great example of giving exclusivity to the article, and therefore making it more appealing to readers.

17. …can’t stop laughing

This one is quite clear – who would mind an uncontrollable laugh, especially if they are having a bad day?

All comedy shows, stand-up comedians, ever more present humor in everyday life – even on the job, prove that people are more likely to watch something or to stay at some place if the good laugh is present.

For example:

  • After watching “Achmed the Dead Terrorist” by Jeff Dunham you simply can’t stop laughing.

18. Top X songs…

This goes both when people want to follow what’s trending, but also when people want to learn something about the completely unfamiliar topic.

For example, you have been listening to rock music your whole life, but the girl you just recently met is really into pop music.

Your logical next move is to search for 10 top songs in this genre, in order to impress the girl, and actually learn something about it.

For example:

  • This is the list of top 50 songs on the planet.

19. Twitter reacts to…

There is no easier way to see crowd explode than to follow twits.

This became quite popular, and anyone who still doesn’t have an opinion on a topic that’s currently in the center of attention will most probably go to Twitter and read all arguments, in order to form it.

These headlines imply drama, and articles help people stay on track, summing up the most important twits.

For example:

  • Twitter reacts to Trumps latest statement about the great American wall.

20. …what happened next…

You know how at the end of each episode of any TV show you’re watching; you are dying to find out what happens next. It’s the same with the headlines and articles.

They say that something (usually shocking) happened and now you’re really curious to find out what exactly!

BE CAREFUL! These types of headlines are becoming less and less popular. What’s more, Facebook classifies them as click baits which might cause the demotion of your headlines.

For example:

  • Little girl reached for the tiger in a zoo, and what happened next will blow your mind.


Now that you know the 20 most effective Facebook headlines and the reason they are effective, here are some tips on how to write effective headlines on your own.

Who knows, maybe during next research, yours will turn out to be the most effective one?

Word of mouth

It has been proven that people have more tendencies to believe in a brand or company when somebody whom they trust recommends it to them.

It doesn’t have to be their close friend or a family member (if you want to cover a wider audience), but also some person of influence.

Try to find somebody who is well known amongst your target group and who believes in what you are providing.

If they agree to collaborate, your headline could be about them recommending your brand, which was proven to get more people to read your articles or take look at what you are offering, and then actually buy it.

Unbeatable facts

Demonstrate integrity when you write your headlines.

Make sure that your customers or consumers at the end get what you promised them in the headline and you will gain their respect.

Eventually, it will become more about the content, than the actual headline, and any headline you write will be effective.

Keep it simple

You are absolutely in love with what you are offering and you could talk and write about it endlessly. There’s just one problem – people wouldn’t read about it endlessly.

You will barely impress anyone by writing every value the reader will get by clicking on your post because barely anyone would read it.

The simpler – the better. Keep it short and clear so everyone can understand it and connect with it.

Indicate solutions

People enjoy various things on the Internet, but they enjoy them, even more, when they know it’s good for them for any reason.

The good tip is to include something that implies a solution or anything that will help the reader somehow.

A good old trick is to use ‘How to’, but anything similar would do the work.

Name the problem

Don’t be afraid to mention the problem or its consequences.

It has been proven that fear is one of the strongest emotions a human can feel, that can move anyone to take action.

Even if that means reading the article, checking out the offer, or ordering something.

Talk to your readers

Ask questions directly in the headline.

The best way to engage the audience is to ask them a question in the start and get them thinking right away.

You can either ask yes/no questions (but provide the answer right in the next sentence) or an open question (and then indicate the solution that’s in the text).

Both will do well with your customers.


People by nature are curious beings who want to know everything, and if possible, immediately!

All you have to do is let them know that there is something that they don’t know yet, but can really easily find out – just by clicking on your headline.

The trick is to tell them that there’s something, but don’t reveal it immediately.

Make sure you get their imagination going, and what’s more important, their desire to learn something new and feel like they’ve achieved something new!


Many would say that there are different approaches to getting peoples’ attention and that there is no rule.

There’s some truth in that – every person is different and personalized approach would be the best.

Unfortunately, we usually don’t have the luxury to do so; therefore we conduct similar researches, look at Facebook statistics, and strive to find patterns.

Thankfully, no matter how different we all are – we all have the same needs, and when it comes to them, we act similarly.

Therefore, it is quite easy to define the approach and make sure to engage your audience in the most effective way.

Make sure you check all the above-mentioned headlines, and especially the reason they are effective.

If you know the reason behind it, if you know “why” they are effective, you can come up with a countless number of headlines that will do the job perfectly.

In your further work, you can rely on the concrete steps and tips when it comes to writing the headlines, and ensure that you catch the attention of your readers.

Good luck, and we are looking forward to one of your headlines becoming the next top effective one!

This Is What Works in Facebook Headlines: The 20 Most Effective Phrases

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