5 Reasons Why The Era of Listicles is Ending

What came first the listicle or Buzzfeed? I genuinely couldn’t tell you off the top of my head.

But Buzzfeed, among hundreds of other online publishers, hopped on the listicle bandwagon between 2011–2016. If you scroll through your Facebook timeline now, titles such as “X’ Times Jennifer Lawrence Was Literally You” are not making a massive appearance. But they used to, right?

Back in 2013 the world was celebrating the newly found content format in all sorts of way, from tagging their friends in the comments below or sharing the article with the caption “Lol. Number 13 was so me *laugh/cry emoji”.

Before I get into the near-extinction of listicles I would like to mention the following points are not from a content marketing perspective, but rather that of the reader.

I got my start in the content industry by writing listicles, and as a twenty-something millennial I loved writing them. But even I’m exhausted of the miracle formula now.

So what happened? Here’s 5 reasons why the era of listicles is ending.

1. Publishers Got Greedy

When a listicle is relatable and well-researched it’s always a fun read. But when the numeric headline is better than the content provided, readers will click out asap.

This is how most readers react to shitty listicles, and rightfully so. Publishers have gotten lazy and want the link clicks without putting in the effort. The collective amount of publishers doing this has left the listicle with a bad rep and websites with a high bounce rate.

2. Social Media Timelines Became Over-Saturated

The days of using odd numbers and a call to action to gain easy link clicks are almost over. Readers have grown weary of listicles, and it’s because both publishers and content writers know that this layout attracted readers and over-used it, and every publisher is guilty of this.

The collective amount of online publishers promoting listicles on Facebook has surely contributed to the listicles death-bed.

Listicle headlines went from click-bait central to attracting negative comments. Any good content writer knows a reader is only satisfied if the content is good. But still publishers and content writers continued to publish worthless listicles.

3. The Evolution of Video

The Snapchat story is a shining example of how social media can shape our online communication. Both Instagram and Facebook have adopted the “Story” element to their platforms, but what does this have to do with the dimming light of the listicle?

Our technology is evolving, and so is how we engage with the social media. Smartphones brands such as Huawei, Sony and HTC are making great phones cheaper, and in turn, more people than ever are making videos. Pushing out the listicle hype.

Even Buzzfeed has gone into video production and have achieved success such as the “Try-Guys” and “Worth-It” video series. Trust me, If Buzzfeed is stirring away from listicles then it’s a sign the age of listicles is coming to an end.

4. Generation Y Values Their Time on the Web

When Generation Y are not engaging with the hottest new thing on social media, they want to absorb something valuable. Generation Y, generally speaking, loves nothing more to voice their opinions.

Whether they lean left or right, vegan or gender fluid, this is first generation with access to the world wide web and damn don’t they use it to educate themselves.

From Vice shorts to Google deep diving, Generation Y know how to spend their time on the internet and listicles aren’t cool or educational.

5. The Nature of the Internet

Just like politics and fashion, trends come and go, and the internet is no exception to this. Content trends such as quizzes and listicles are on the way out.

So what’s next? I personally believe readers have begun to appreciate more concrete content pieces with story-telling elements. I’m looking forward to seeing what online publishers will be mass-producing next, but I know one thing, it won’t be listicles.