Analyzing Crypto Headlines

According to research conducted Kalev Leetary and the GDELT project, most news articles have a negative tonality. Is it the same with blockchain news? To find out, we analyzed 223,000 headlines that appeared in the leading blockchain media between 2013 and 2019.

Here's a list of the media we studied:

Cointelegraph, CoinDesk, The Daily Hodl, Blockonomi, news.bitcoin, 99Bitcoins, TNW, Portal do Bitcoin, Bitcoinist, AMBCrypto, Crypto Briefing, NewsBTC, Coingape, CryptoSlate, Invest In Blockchain, Ethereum World News, Coindoo, UseTheBitcoin, CryptoPotato, CoinCentral, Siam Blockchain, Coin Hero, Coinspeaker, BeInCrypto, CCN, Cointurk, CryptoGlobe, BTC Wires, BTC Manager.

We used two criteria to select the websites for study:

  • References in news aggregators and other media;
  • At least 100 thousand monthly users, according to SimilarWeb data.

Insights

1. Bitcoin dominates not only the crypto market, but also news headlines. For the past 7 years or more, the first cryptocurrency has remained the leader by the number of mentions in the media.

2. The average headline length has been growing longer each year. This might be a logical measure to combat clickbait and to make headlines more informative.

3. Most crypto news contains a positive, trusting sentiment.

4) Starting from 2017, crypto news sentiment has stabilized (as opposed to the strong mood fluctuations of the preceding period). As any emerging industry, cryptocurrencies gave rise to exaggerated expectations – and inevitable disappointment. With time, as the media wrote more and more, the new industry became more familiar and the illusions surrounding crypto finally began to dissipate.

Mean polarity scores
Mean polarity scores

Most frequently used words

Between 2013 and 2019, the following words were used more frequently in headlines:

TOP-20

Bitcoin leads by a large margin, with over 80 thousand headline mentions in 7 years. The top-20 is closed by Binance. 

Positions from 21 to 40

Here's how the top 10 looked across the years:


In 2017, the world analysis disappeared from the rankings and the word exchange first entered the list. Bitcoin has headed the top 10 every single year. This is unlikely to change in the next few years – especially considering that a mention of a popular brand in a headline increases the number of views by up to 38%, according to our 2019 study.

How the number of news articles and headline length changed

More and more crypto news articles are published every year – not surprising, considering the high growth rate in the industry. The interesting part is that the average and maximum headline length is growing, too.

One of the reasons why the media prefers longer headlines could be to help the reader choose by making titles more informative. We should point out that search engines combat clickbait by penalizing pages with a high bounce rate. And one of the ways to prevent visitors from bouncing is to use clear and informative titles that deceive or confuse the reader.

Sentiment analysis

Mean polarity scores

Headline sentiment fluctuations have become less pronounced since 2017, with most of the news positive in their tonality. An exception is the rapid price drop in the second half of 2019, when  Bitcoin's exchange rate fell from its year-high of $13000 to $7000.

Headline sentiment analysis

Most crypto news titles feature a positive and trusting tonality. The share of negativity and fear – so common in the global news – is quite low. 

Change of sentiments with year (2013-2019)

Trust and positivity were the two fastest-growing sentiments: starting from 2017, the graph goes up sharply. This is probably due to the Bitcoin price dynamics: it grew from $1000 to $17000, stirring the market into action.

Frequently paired words: occurrences and correlations 

We've also counted the number of occurrences of two words X and Y in the same headline. The more frequent a pairing, the thicker the line.

The diagram shows the most popular word pairings

Read more of our research and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter, where we share case studies on marketing and expert articles about fintech, IT, and blockchain. 

This study was inspired by an experiment by Kaggle called A Million News Headlines: we used the same algorithms to analyse crypto news sentiment. 

You can download our dataset of 223 000 crypto news headlines from our shared Google drive.


Our researchers