The results were astounding. Out of the approximately 100 articles published over a period of 50 days, just over 20% of them had major brand names in the title.
As you can see in the graph below, the articles that had a major brand name in the title generated 60% more page views on average than articles without them.
Also, we published 6 articles with Google in the title, and on average they performed 50% better than articles without brand names in their titles.
Surprisingly, while the use of brand names appeared to have an impact on page views and readership, it had little or no impact on comments (or conversation) and what appears to be a negative impact on inbound links. The brand name articles got 3 fewer inbound links on average than their counterparts.
If you're wondering why we used such a short time frame for the study, it's because blog articles are like annuities. Over longer periods of time, articles continue to amass more and more page views, which would skew the study. The top-performing articles in all groups were spread pretty evenly across the time frame used for the study!
Thoughts, Observations and Takeaways
Timing Your Article Publication is Key -- There was definitely a "news" factor to articles with brand names in their titles, and the timeliness of the publication coincided with the conversation about the brand on the Internet and in media. (e.g. the Dominos and Pepsi articles).
Visible Brands Serve as Case Studies -- People and marketers in general love hearing what major brands are doing and how they are conducting their business. A lot of companies like to emulate and learn from big brands.
Familiarity Has an Impact on Viral Effect -- People become bigger "sneezers" (per Seth Godin's idea virus) when it comes to bigger brands because they are more familiar with them and their products.
Have you noticed any interesting trends in how your blog articles perform? Please share your thoughts in the comments!