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When you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, you’ll often see news stories which are trying hard to get you to click.

And then there’s the stories that you can’t help but click on, just because their headline has intrigued you.

Maybe this story is one of them.

The study found that some techniques of ‘clickbaiting’ actually turned users away. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A study from Germany researchers has analysed 4000 Facebook posts from news organisations to find what sort of headlines draw in readers and which ones don’t.

The study from the University of Duisberg-Essen found that common clickbait phrases like “this will blow your mind” not only didn’t draw in readers, but had the opposite effect.

Those stories actually had fewer reactions, shares and comments compared to those without those phrases.

Asking questions in headlines also didn’t engage readers.

Certain techniques are used by media outlets to generate more reactions on Facebook.
Certain techniques are used by media outlets to generate more reactions on Facebook. (Facebook)

The researchers gathered a week’s worth of posts from ten US and UK news outlets’ Facebook pages, including sources they considered to be tabloid and those viewed as reputable.

The study gave the New York Times as a reputable example, and the Daily Mail as a tabloid source.

Curiously, headlines with unusual punctuation had up to 2.5 times more reactions, shares and comments. 

Headlines which featured longer words drew in less interaction.

There was also an odd divergence in headlines and post text.

Positive phrasing in headlines drew in more comments, but the same was true for negative phrasing in post text.

Facebook comments.
Positive and negative phrasing has a direct influence on Facebook comments. (Nick Pearson)

Political photo ops that captured the attention of punters on social media

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