Listicles are everywhere - top 4 findings of how they perform

Listicles went viral in 2009 and now dominate social feeds. Why? They have catchy headlines, are easy to write, and are addicting to read. But are listicles just clickbait or do they drive engagement (via social likes, shares, comment, pins)?

To see how travel focused listicles stack up against editorial content, we used Lumanu to look at a recent sampling (1500+) of travel focused content marketing and here’s what we found:

Finding #1) Listicles make up 13 of all content and slightly outperform on average

Listicles make up 35% of content we analyzed. Listicles appeared to drive more social engagement* compared to “non-listicles”, driving ~10% more engagement per publish compared to traditional articles.

Finding #2) If you have great content, write about it, don’t turn it into a listicle!

Listicles land in the “high-performing” tier more frequently, but underperform editorial content in this tier, with editorial articles driving 30% more engagement per article.

Finding #3) If you are in a bind, publish a listicle

Within the under-performing tier (articles with <50 social engagements), listicles make up a lower % when compared to all content. Listicles are a safer bet to publish over uninspiring content.

Finding #4) Strategy varies wildly by source

This is likely due to content marketing strategy and audience of the Travel/ Lifestyle sources we analyzed:

Thrillist: relied the most on Listicles, making up 67% of their content. However, editorial content drove 4% more social engagement compared to listicles.

Conde Nast Travel: listicles make up 28% of content, which probably could be even less given editorial content outperforms listicles by 50%.

Lonely planet: most success with listicles (only 27% of content) relative to editorial content, with the former outperforming by a staggering 197%.

Yahoo travel: published the least listicles (14% of their content) which drove 84% more social engagement then editorial content.

If you are interested in more information or the raw data, drop me a note and happy to share:

*social engagement defined as user likes, shares, comments, pins

And just in case you are curious here is a sampling of the top performing listicles:

The Chicago Taco Bucket List – 40 Best Tacos

The task of choosing where to grab a great taco can be a daunting one when you have so many options, so to alleviate any tortilla

The task of choosing where to grab a great taco can be a daunting one when you have so many options, so to alleviate any tortilla


Paul Johnson
Co-founder at Lumanu

Paul has a background in management consulting but found a passion for marketing & inbound sales when technology enabled the capability to react and respond to customer needs in real-time

He co-founded Lumanu with the mission to simplify the messy and unpredictable process of generating growth via organic digital content