The Guide to Writing Perfect, Powerful Native Advertising Headlines

In terms of content, the native ads that run on discovery platforms are sparse when it comes to text-based content. You display an image, headline and the name of your brand. That’s it.

In a glance, the viewer determines whether or not your ad is worthy of a click. And your ad is positioned in a grid amongst others.

The goal is to improve your native advertising headlines

There’s no such thing as the perfect (adjective) headline. But successful content creators and advertisers fixate on how they can perfect (verb) their native advertising headlines to make them more powerful.

But, what does more ‘powerful’ actually mean? Tough question. The answer could relate to a variety of outcomes. In digital advertising, first and foremost, it relates to CTR.

Goal number one is to get clicks. As your chops mature in digital advertising, a more financially focused goal becomes increasing the performance indicators related to conversion – most notably – leads and sales.

Brainstorm headline styles

The point of this article is to give you ideas that can, and often do, work for native advertising headlines. You won’t find anything bullet-proof here, but you will discover approaches worth trying.

Ask a question

Posing a question is one of the most time-tested ways to engage a reader.


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Create curiosity

The examples above are questions; the examples in this section are not. Yet, they both create curiosity. You’ll notice now – and throughout this article – powerful headline ideas mix and match approaches.

In a now-famous paper, The Psychology of Curiosity: A Review and Reinterpretation, researcher George Loewenstein explains that curiosity gaps produce a feeling of deprivation. This motivates readers to resolve this.


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Promise a solution to a problem

If there’s such thing as connective tissue between effective headline writing tactics, this is it. Again, it’s about playing the curiosity gap card.


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Offer tips and tricks

Check out the headline teasers on the covers of popular magazine at your grocery checkout stand. Tips and tricks dominate. Everyone wants shortcuts in their lives.


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Offer lists

Lists appeal to readers because they instantly know what they’re getting when they click. This approach to headlines capitalizes on many of the strategies we’ve covered already.


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Clear stuff up

Mistakes, misconceptions, myths and other misstatements… Who wants to go wrong? These headline approaches suggest to readers your content or product will help them stop doing things wrong. Magnetic stuff.


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Present a ‘How-to’

There is no more time-tested and proven approach to headline writing than the basic how-to. When you have a substantial benefit to offer, you can start your headline writing task by simply writing ‘How to’ and then fill in the blank that follows.


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An easy and effective derivative of the ‘how-to’ approach is to go back to your headline and nix the words ‘how to.’

    Get Rid of Dark Spots at Home

Another related approach is to keep ‘how’ and remove ‘to.’ Look at these variations on this theme:

  • How to Get Dental Insurance in California if You’re on Medicare
  • How People on Medicare Get Dental Insurance in California
  • On Medicare? Here’s How to Get Dental Insurance in California
  • Live in California? Get Dental Insurance if You’re on Medicare

Use numbers

We hit on lists, but there are more ways to use numbers and doing so helps give your headline added credibility and/or the specificity readers like.

Here’s a credibility play:

    Thousands are Switching to this New Cowboy Boot (Here’s Why)

Here’s a dose of specificity, in this case, a price:

    This $199 Golf Driver is Changing the Game

Here, a number injected in the headline increases the tease factor:

    Play This for 1 Minute and See Why Everyone is Addicted

Offer reasons

A number of the tactics we’ve looked at collide in this approach, which lists reasons.


  • 9 Reasons this Electric Toothbrush is Worth All the Hype
  • 8 Reasons Why (Literally Everyone) Should Get Bombas Socks

Add a parenthetical

I’m not going to offer an example here. You just need to scroll back up to see how often native advertisers add parenthetical phrases, often in brackets, to their headlines. I don’t know why it works, but it does.

Challenge the reader to do something

File this approach under ‘interactive content.’ Its magnetism is undeniable.


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A headline that promises to deliver more simplicity to solve a problem is effective.


  • A Simple Fix for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
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  • Multi-city International Trips Made Easy

Bring on the ‘bests’

This approach is a derivative of presenting lists, although using a number is optional.


  • This is the Best Place to Retire in All 50 States
  • Ranked: The Best HBO Shows of All-time

Talk money

People want to save time and, of course, money.


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Tell stories

It’s hard to tell a story in a headline, but if you have a good story, it’s easy to tee-it-up with your headline.


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Try our new tool

You can, and should, invest some time on the Taboola Trends to learn how different types of images perform in your business category, language, country and digital marketing platforms.

You’ll also want to tap our Title Analyzer, which predicts click through rates (CTR). And, importantly, you’ll want to approach your research and testing equipped with some time-tested knowledge about writing powerful headlines.

Try it and discover how we use our deep database to help you understand how to optimize your campaign for CTR.

I’ll show you what the results look like for sample headlines we previewed above.

You may notice some of the headlines include abbreviations or ellipses. In addition to predicting CTA, the tool encourages you to limit your headlines to 62 characters to avoid display issues.

Lessons learned

The perfect headline doesn’t exist. The power of your headline rests in its ability to earn clicks.

To increase the click-through rates of your native ads, try applying one or more of these tips and examine how they stack-up against one another in the Taboola Title Analyzer.


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