You’ve seen the lists taking over your Facebook feed. 28 Things Only 90s Kids Remember. Top 10 Disney Princesses. 10 Reasons We Love Emma Watson. It goes on an on. So, what makes these lists so popular? Why do you keep clicking on them?
Well, I’m feeling especially meta today, so let’s make a list!
Here are the top 10 reasons people love top 10 lists:
1. There’s Plenty of Room for Controversy
Do you know what people on the Internet love more than cats? Disagreeing with each other. Everyone has an opinion about everything, and lists take advantage of that.
Don’t believe me? Try making a list of something innocuous like boy bands. I promise you’ll get at least one person demanding that *NSYNC be rated higher than Backstreet Boys. (That person might be me, just saying.)
2. So Much Nostalgia
Lists often have a way of making people feel nostalgic. Even if it’s not as far back as Top 10 Cartoons of the 80s, the feelings can be powerful. Ever notice how many lists pop up around the end of the year? They are meant to make us look back at the past year and look forward to the next one. You can learn more about the power of nostalgia on our blog about it here.
3. They Help Keep Our Small Talk Game on Point
Ok, small talk is awkward sometimes. But it’s easier if you are informed about the world around you.
It takes hardly any time at all to read through a list (more on that in the next point), and yet, it leaves us with enough information to get through some pop culture small talk. Not a fan of horror movies? No problem. Just check out a few lists of the best horror movies, and you’ll be in the loop. Bonus: no jump scares!
4. Easy to Read or Skim
Want to know about all of the cool new movies, what retro trends are coming back, and what news stories you need to be aware of? Don’t have time to read three different magazines? Top 10 lists are for you.
If you’re really crunched for time, you can just skim the header of each number and get the gist. Of course, you shouldn’t do that for the rest of this list.
5. Lists Can Help You Make Decisions
In the era of Google, we often search for reviews before we make big purchases or decisions. Safest SUVs, Most Exciting Cities to Live In, and Best Fitness Apps are just a few examples of popular searches that will turn up a lot of helpful lists.
6. They Can Evoke a Lot of Emotion
We’ve already talked about the nostalgia and outrage some people can feel as a result of reading a little list. But lists can be so much more. They can make us sad, like Harry Potter Deaths Ranked by Sadness. Or they can be funny like Top 10 Monty Python Moments. No matter what emotion the author is going for, a good list can help.
7. They Connect Us Through Shared Experiences
This is especially true for the nostalgic-type lists. It’s the online equivalent of a friend saying, “Remember that time when we…” and recalling a fun story. When we read a list and the comments about a list, we connect with others who share similar feelings and experiences.
8. They Feed Our Need for Organization
Maybe it’s just the control freaks among us, but some people crave organization in a chaotic world. And for those of us who fit that description, nothing is better than a good list. Not just a top 10 list either. We love grocery lists, to-do lists, and pro/con lists. But, those don’t make very engaging content.
9. A Mix of Fact and Opinion
You get just enough opinion to get you interested and just enough fact to keep you informed. What’s not to love?
10. Sometimes Complete with GIFs, Memes and/or Video
And the Internet loves those things. Is that enough List-ception for one day?
Do you like top 10 lists? More importantly, does your audience love them? For most brands, a good list can mean successful content. Tell us what you think! We would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.