These 3 rules will double your WeChat articles’ open-rate!!!!

The average open rate of WeChat Official Accounts is only 5%.

If you are operating a subscription account, the window of opportunity for users to notice your article is only 1-2 seconds (the time the article title appears in preview in the chat page). After this short delay, your message will likely be buried under hundreds of other accounts’ update.

You can however increase your reading rate by having a killer title.

Newrank recently made an analysis of over 2,000 articles with +100,000 views and found a surprising fact: the average length of the titles are increasing year over year!

This study took the data on February 16th on the last 3 years, and compared the title length.

Here is the result:

Longer WeChat article titles

There is a clear trend of increasing number of characters in article titles.  The longest title recorded in the study is 61 characters (the most iPhone 7 screen could display are 32 characters).

This is partly due to the ever larger mobile screen size.  The title itself becomes a story telling “Tweet” that attract users to click.

Here is an example of a title with 57 characters.

《取消从业资格证!2017年两会只有半个月了,群多的都转一下!让代表们听到3000万卡车司机的呼声!争取今年取消掉!》(ID:卡车之家)

Eliminate the Career Certificate! Only two month till the two meetings (NPC &CPPCC), share if you are in a lot of WeChat groups! Let the congress representatives hear the voice from 30 million truck drivers! Let’s eliminate it this year!  (WeChat account: Truck home)

Example of a typical title with around 22 characters:

《4分钟微电影:没有一句台词,却感动了所有人!》 (ID:一读)

4-minute short film: not one word is spoke , but it moved everyone!

《邪教教主和他79个妻子,以及被洗脑的少女们》(ID:男人装)

The polygamist cult leader and his 79 wives, and those girls who have been brainwashed

《这家快递公司倒闭了?不要啊,我的快递还在路上》(ID:人民网)

This logistic company is out of business? No… my package is still on its way

These titles give readers significant context about a particular event and potential readers are likely to click and continue reading.

Question marks & exclamations marks are used a lot more in 2017!!!?

Here is an example:

【提醒】这种车千万别买了!不合法!很危险!接下来或将严查!(ID:人民日报)

[Attention] Never ever buy this type of car! Illegal! Very dangerous! Likely to be restricted in the near future! (WeChat: People’s Daily)

Exclamation marks and question marks are used in order to structure a long title into short digestible chunks.

30% decrease in +100k views articles

Interestingly the number of articles receiving +100,000 views (among the 2,000 accounts polled) has decreased from 1,190 to 727, a 38% decrease in one year!

It seems that as the WeChat Official Account market matures, the views are concentrating on a few “super Official Accounts”  with more than 1 million active followers.

Types of WeChat articles

So how should you craft your titles? According to the  Newrank analysis, here are the 4 types of titles that are likely to increase the click through rate.

  • Suspense (also called the “classic Buzzfeed hook”)

《寂静后的暴风雨,关于朝鲜的下一个爆炸性消息会是什么?》(ID:局座召忠)

A quiet moment before the storm, what will be the next explosive news from North Korea?

《别人都在聊的金正男,他为什么必须死?》(ID:李淼)

Everyone is talking about Kim Jong-nam, why must he die?

《蛋黄好还是蛋白好?答案原来是这样的……》(ID:丁香医生)

Which is better: egg yolk or egg white? Here is the answer…

《“不爱你的人,你为什么还不放手”》(ID:小北)

Why can’t you leave this person who doesn’t love you?

The bilingual speakers in our audience will appreciate the fact that Chinese headlines tend to breakdown in a 2-parts “Premise, Conclusion” structure, while Western headlines tend to flow in 1 single sentence.

  • Creating a twist

《结婚多年,原来我才是小三》(ID:咪蒙)

Married for 3 years, turns out I am the mistress

《真正聪明的人,往往很少交朋友》(ID:拾遗)

The really smart person, usually have fewer friends

《有人问|为什么他那么脏却又那么帅》(ID:gogoboi)

They ask | Why does he look so sloppy yet so handsome

《她脱了我的裤子,就为买一个包!》(ID:任真天)

She take off my pants, just to buy a bag!

Here again, most of the headlines are cut into a 2 parts “Premise, Twist” structure. The separation between the two parts is done with punctuation (, ! ?) or with a vertical separator (|), less likely to be seen in Western headlines.

  • Exaggeration

《这个吃人的美女丧尸保证分分钟让你笑成傻逼》(ID:有部电影)

This beauty cannibal zombie will make you laugh within minutes

Exaggeration is a good way to attract reads (we’re using it quite a bit ourselves), but keep in mind that you have to stay within boundaries.

Completely misleading headlines might be labeled as “false rumors” or break the terms of use of Tencent, therefore creating the risk of your article getting deleted or even of your account getting banned.

  • Useful

《如何在工作压力超大的情况下,提高生活质量?》(ID:十点读书)

How to improve the quality of your life, when you are under huge pressure from work?

《点开看看,你的血脂正常吗?这么做,有效降血脂!》(ID:健康头条)

Click to check, is your blood cholesterol normal? Here is what you can do to decrease your blood cholesterol!

《关于分数线你必须了解的信息》(ID:肖秀荣教授)

What you must know about college exam scores

The safest way to write headlines is of course to get back to the core principle: usefulness. It is very subjective for us to decide what is exciting, tempting or funny. But it is fairly objective to figure out what is useful.

For young accounts trying to get initial traction, focusing on clearly stating why your article will deliver value to users remains the easiest way to maximize open rates.

Conclusion

High click through rate is correlated with the length of the title. It doesn’t mean longer titles would guarantee a higher click through rate. The key is to give context to your followers and create a title that they can relate with. And sometimes, it is might even be okay to exaggerate a bit : )

http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MzA4Nzg1MTIzNQ==&mid=2651414281&idx=1&sn=ddd2498b8afacee06f18b0966ea9a6f4&chksm=8bced685bcb95f93f5ce14ec39c4d6b4d5fc1dfb0da13d2fb8887d7eef2c24591203202ebe54&mpshare=1&scene=5&srcid=0226IXS4JK02B4F1uvwOBwUj#rd

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