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Upworthy is using data to identify elements that engage readers as it moves past ‘clickbait’ and curation

Nieman Lab

You might have heard: Upworthy is shifting its focus from aggregation to original content

But did you know: Led by editorial director Amy O’Leary, Upworthy is moving away from curation in favor of original content, using data to inform its storytelling strategy. In the data it’s collected, Upworthy found that humor and a suspenseful story structure keeps users better engaged and on the page, which was then put into use with a story that packs 65 jokes into 5,000 words. As Upworthy continues to experiment with new story formats, O’Leary says: “We don’t know what that lasting format will be,” and Upworthy is only starting to try out new “intriguing and experimental formats.”

+ How we at API help publishers create data-driven content strategies

+ Upworthy’s founder Eli Pariser on its ubiquitous headline format and rapid growth: “Those headlines alone are not enough to drive a huge amount of viral traffic. If they were you would see every media company growing the way we had. The other critical part is the content you’re delivering has to be what people want to share in large numbers.” (Digiday)

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