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Why Top 10 Lists Work

We’ve all seen them, whether it be seemingly meaningless content on the bottom of a page, lists plastered on Facebook walls or even on a site dedicated to them (buzzfeed.com), list-based posts work.  The debate over the legitimacy and/or value of these lists in comparison to more normalized articles will continue into perpetuity but the reality is that the content itself is either good or it’s not.  A writer can produce a short poor quality article just as easily as a decent sized list but if you’re looking to produce click-thrus not much compares with the latter. Here are a few more reasons why list-based posts work online:

  1. Aggressive Adjectives – Although not limited to list-based posts most lists have headlines that include aggressive adjectives that create an immediate sense of urgency such as “XX mind-blowing facts”, “XX foods you need to eat now”, “XX medicines you need to stop taking immediately!”
  2. Ease of Read – Most readers are turned off by complex, long-winded paragraphs, this isn’t a novel, it’s an article.  Lists are easily understood and digested
  3. Condensed Facts – Similar to ease of read lists based posts are almost like the cliff notes of a larger article.  There’s no need to scan a 4 page article for all the facts, they’re numbered and broken down for the user already
  4. Predictability – It’s fairly difficult to mess up a list based post title and you’d have to do so on an epic proportion for the user not to know exactly what they’re going to be reading about when they click on your link
  5. Speed of Information – As mentioned earlier, many of these list based posts serve as a cliff notes version of a larger article.  Users can quickly scan and be updated with the most important facts surrounding the situation/issue at hand
  6. Shareability – Whether it’s of the joking/entertainment nature or an informational article, list posts lend themselves to being quickly read and quickly shared.  Additionally they’re magnets for opinions/responses, anything from complete disdain to total agreement it will usually result in comments and sharing.
  7. Range of Use – List based posts span the spectrum of content from pure entertainment (“XX worst movies of the year!”) all the way to factual education (“XX top things to do when someone has a stroke”).

Jarred Scumaci
Senior Accounts Director

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