I have a question for you. Would you rather take a quiz on:
A. Your favorite movie star.
B. Your favorite music.
C. Who your superhero best friend would be.
D. All of the above and anything else the Internet can throw at you.
Given the growing popularity of quizzes and their hostile takeover of my Facebook news feed, I'm willing to bet you answered "D." Quizzes are everywhere right now, and brands and news outlets alike are jumping on this trend, both hoping to drive traffic to their content. In this 60 for Social, I'll take a look at how quizzes and games are becoming a tool for brands and how they're impacting the role of the media.
Buzzfeed's Branded Quizzes
The viral quiz is nothing new, but it can't be denied that Buzzfeed has taken this time-sucker to a whole new level and proven once again they have a knack for viral content. Here are the numbers (according to Fast Company) on some of their most popular quizzes:
- Which Decade Do You Actually Belong In? More than 8 million views.
- What Kind of Dog Are You? More than 8 million views.
- What Career Should You Actually Have? More than 13 million views.
- What City Should You Actually Live In? More than 20 million views.
- Which State Do You Actually Belong In? Nearly 40 million views.
Now they've done it again with the introduction of branded quizzes. Much like Buzzfeed's other branded content, branded quizzes appear alongside all other content on the site. So far there are a reported 10 branded quizzes, mostly in the entertainment vein. They include:
In less than 2 months, Barbie's already reached more than 161,000 shares on Facebook and HBO's racked up 75,000 of its own shares, underscoring the power of quizzes as a way to grab consumer attention, even when they're not channel surfing or wandering down the toy aisle.
Multiple Choice: Buzzfeed, Slate, WSJ, or NYT?
At this stage in the game, Buzzfeed is by no means alone on the quiz front. Sure, their easy to digest, visual content (and crazy-fun topics) put quizzes back on the map (and Facebook feeds), but other news sites have caught on to this trend and jumped in. Here are just a few examples:
- When it was recently announced that the SAT would revert to a 1,600-point scale, The Wall Street Journal created a quiz that allowed readers to compare their SAT scores to their peers.
- The most visited page on The New York Times' site in 2013 was a quiz called: What does the way you speak say about where you're from?
It's not just quizzes anymore: news and content online is being gamified in innovative, creative ways. For example, Slate's Travoltify and (slightly less recent) Carlos Danger name generators put fun interactive spins on the related headlines, and gave me my two new aliases: Sebastian Magnus and Silvestre Smash.
Pop Quiz: How Can You Get Started With Quizzes?
Ready to get started? You might not be ready to partner up with Buzzfeed yet, although Buzzfeed has hinted that community members will soon be able to construct their own quizzes (stay tuned). In the meantime, there are a few tools out there to help you and your brand jump on the multiple choice band wagon.
ProProfs is an easy online quiz tool that lets you create fun, visual quizzes that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, or via email; and best part: you can try it for free.
QuizWorks offers a free online quiz maker and more advanced quiz creation offerings for a monthly fee.
Now, what to ask. Buzzfeed's quiz mastermind and Managing Editorial Director, Summer Anne Burton shared a few tips in a recent Huffington Post interview:
"There are a couple things that tend to work really well, like guessing something about the person's actual desires or attributes. "What Age Are You, Really?", "What City Should You Actually Live In?" and "What Career Should You Actually Have?" are three of our four biggest quizzes. Another thing that works really well is tapping into a fandom. People who self-identify as dog people or as "Friends" fans get really excited about "What Kind Of Dog Are You?" and "Which 'Friends' Character Are You?". I think everybody plays that game, in their heads or with their friends already. So they want to see what an objective source is going to tell them."
"Fandoms" exist for all walks of life, find your brand's "fandom" and dive in. You'll want to keep it on-point, but you can have some fun. It is a quiz after all. As a final tip, Ms. Burton also advises that you start with the answers and work your way back.
"All of the Above" proves viral content raises brand awareness, but quizzes also provide an opportunity for fun, but relevant data mining for all sorts of brands. Buzzfeed's Burton recently touched on this point when speaking on the introduction of branded quizzes: "Now that we've sold some companies on the idea of quizzes... we're now looking at how to use the things that we've learned for companies' benefit. So they can have their own shareable pieces of content that go viral and that are really associated with their brand."
This extreme quiz popularity may not be around for ever. But right now quizzes have captured our collective pop culture fancy, and they're a great way to engage your audience and connect them to your brand and content.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources:
- The Atlantic: The Gospel of Buzzfeed
- New York Times: To Spur Traffic at News Sites, Just Travoltify
- Fast Company: How Buzzfeed Made the Online Quiz Irresistable
- Mashable: Q: Why Are Quizzes Suddenly So Popular? A: Narcissism
- New York Post: Why online quizzes are taking over your Facebook feed
- Wired: Our Obsession With Online Quizzes Comes From Fear, Not Narcissism
- TechCrunch: Yep, Buzzfeed Is Doing Sponsored Quizzes, Too