To listicle or not to listicle

Article-Listicle Experiment Results Are In!

A pile of question marks.
By Edward Thomas using Canva.

Back in late May, I conducted a small, very unscientific experiment to determine which format is more popular: the article or the listicle.

I wrote two versions of the same content to see which one does better.

My original plan was to publish the experiment results after a few weeks, but real life got in the way.

So, without any further ado, here are the results of my experiment.

  1. The Listicle Version had 22% more views and 18% more reads than the Article Version.
  2. The read ratios of the two versions were virtually identical.
  3. The Article Version had 30% more fans than the Listicle Version.

What do these numbers mean?

Not much, probably, mainly because my reader numbers are so puny. But judging by the vast number of listicles being published all around the web, it is perhaps not a very good idea to ignore this popular format.

Love ’em or hate ’em, it looks like listicles are here to stay.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on how they felt about the age-old question of “to listicle or not to listicle.”

“Successful writers definitely write a lot of listicles. “ — Mona Lazar

“I love lists! — Jan Sebastian

“I wrote a few listicles and didn’t see much difference.” — Cynthia C Farley

“I have a love-hate relationship with listicles (as in hate writing them like to read them)” — George Anderson

“I think any kind of writing is ok, but then again, I love all kinds of food, books, music and experiences.” — Kim Baker

“I have written longforms with numbers in the titles but they were not necessarily listicleish but more listicle sounding.” — Yana Bostongirl

“Personally, I would click on the listicle title over the first one.” — Kristie Leong M.D.

“I am curious to learn the results of your experiment.” — B.R. Shenoy

“I have wondered about this very same topic.” — Leonard Tillerman

“I’m not much of a listicle writer, chiefly because I came to Medium to write prose and not an ongoing blog. — David Perlmutter

“I like to number [listicles] and I use them on articles I research to keep the details organized.” — Pam Winter

“I like writing listicles, but they usually don’t get enough reading time.” — Nicole Hilbig

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Chicago native, resident of Japan since 1969. Japanese>English translator, copywriter, editor. Teaches English at a Japanese University.

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Edward Thomas

Chicago native, resident of Japan since 1969. Japanese>English translator, copywriter, editor. Teaches English at a Japanese University.