In your experience how do chapter names affect readership?

As I continue to twist dials and pull levers in an attempt to achieve 'growth' I can't help but wonder what impact chapter names have on key stats. Like, do click-bait titles increase reader retention? Does the format of chapter titles matter, for instance Chapter 1 vs c01? What about fictions that opt not to number their chapters how does that affect things? Can we significantly improve marketing efforts by carefully adjusting our chapter titles or is the effect just negligible? Have you ever been scared away by the chapter names? Have you ever been drawn in by the chapter names? I think a lot more goes into chapter names than I originally thought, so let's have a discussion!

Re: In your experience how do chapter names affect readership?

More often than not on Royal Road, chapter titles catch more readers than just chapter numbers.

Titles for your latest chapters always appear in the Latest Updates section, and some readers also look through story content before deciding if they want to read. A catchy chapter title can always win over a couple more readers.

Here is a post that also talks about chapter titles and their utility.

Re: In your experience how do chapter names affect readership?

I don't know for others, but in my personal reading and writing experience, chapter titles are another tool writers use to give character to a novel. One of my favorite examples of this is The Lightning Thief from Rick Riordan. The first chapter title "I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher" those this very thing by intriguing the reader. It is eye catching, gives the readers a peak into the mind of the main character and how he thinks of the situation he is in, and furthermore it gives incentive to read the story. Another more practical example is the following: If you named a chapter something along the lines of "File 0001- Beginning of the deepdweling program" it will catch a readrs attention, because what the reader is reading is not only a chapter, but a "file" in the world of the story.

And it gets a whole more complicated and interesting than that. Writers can mess around in the name of adding to the story. Using the previous example, you can mess with the order of the chapters. Instead of going to "File 0002" you decide to go to file "0005" which can help build an ambience of mystery for the readers, because they aren't getting the the missing files. I you want another example, I'll use my novel as an example. I cannot say which chapters because of spoilers, but a few of mine are meant to setup something for my readers. From setting up a line that will appear in the story, to foreshadowing for later part of the story, or even set the mood subtly for my audience through expectation, I use the chapter titles to give my readers an expectation or a payoff in the chapter they are abou to read. 

Plus there's an added bonus for using chapter titles apart from what I previously mentioned. If you use titles correctly, you will cause a more permanent impact on your readers. It's more impactful to give your readers incentive even before they enter the chapter, because it will always spark curiosity. It's more impactful for readers to see a name drop in the title, specially a name that has been hinted at since the beginning of the story, because it gives readers a satisfying feeling. Heck, that last example can be even more impactful on a re-read, because a reader can notice the little details and foreshadowing involved in the chapter title, which a causes a new appreciation for your story.  

So to conclude this overly long answer, here are the points I want to highlight from what I've mentioned before: 
- Chapter titles give more character to a novel. 
- Chapter titles can be a literal form of clickbait meant to pick at the reader's curiosity. 
- Chapter titles can also help setting up a lot things, such as a specific mood, foreshadowing, callbacks, reveals, or even a subsequent line. 
- Chapter titles can impact a reader through name droping, or if you play long game for some of your readers to notice things on a re-read. 
- Chapter titles can be unique with the purpose to catch a reader's attention. 

Thank you for coming to my ted talk, and I hope this helps anyone who reads this post. 

Re: In your experience how do chapter names affect readership?

I like the numbered chapters, the higher the number the more to read, with named chapters I can't see that at first glance and unless it really picked my attention i wont check it out. As said above usually named chapters contains spoilers of what is going to happen in the chapter and if the story right now is for whatever reason in a side character that i don't care about i just skip chapters until where back to the MC.

Re: In your experience how do chapter names affect readership?

I think they are another creative part of the story. 
Imagine a music album that had:
Song 1
Song 2
Song 3
Song 4

That would be weird.
I try to make chapter names relevant but not spoilers. 
I think they could help here where chapters are listed in the updates list. But unless someone tells you they read your story because of a chapter name, there is no real way to know how effective they are. 
Still, I like them.