Why Quizzes are working to attract browsers to websites

The idea of a quiz may seem like a superficial thing. A bit of frivolity to pass the time perhaps. But in the competitive landscape of web and digital, they have come to represent a powerful type of online engagement that has gone beyond the idea of using social media to merely entertain. In fact, this kind of tactic is one of the main reasons why the powerful new media, Buzzfeed, Huff Post and similar new more special interest sites (like Stylist) have massively grown their web traffic, often achieving parity with the more traditional ‘legacy’ press.

So when articles such as, ’10 ways to improve your work/life balance’ or ‘take our test on how much you know about this weeks’ news’ regularly appear on our social media feeds, they represent a newer way of presenting topical content. Instead of swiping past them on your feed, stop and try one. You might find that you are hooked into taking up the challenge of a few teasing questions. In any case, anyone wanting to create interest in their information, especially attracting potential customers in a ‘soft’ way, should know that they appear so often for one reason. They really work. In several ways:

  • They drive traffic to your site, or a landing page.
  • They have an SEO benefit because the most often used searches on engines are questions, which of course quizzes are full of.
  • They encourage the user to interact and volunteer data.

Mankind’s thirst for knowledge

There is nothing most of us like better than to learn things. Almost as natural is the impulse of humankind to want to respond to a challenge. Thus, the industry of advertisement, since the dawn of modern marketing, has exploited these instincts. Classic advertisement examples remind us of this. Which of us older than 35 can forget the gauntlet thrown down by the question; ‘can you eat three shredded wheat?’ From the daily test of sporting knowledge thrown at us via television bookmaker adverts back to the more subtle device of the old fashioned newspaper front page crossword, puzzles and quizzes have all worked to encourage consumers to take up the gauntlet by testing their mettle.

When we transplant these techniques to social media, it becomes a marriage made in heaven. We are lured in by the challenge of a quick question, posed to draw us in to a piece of content that we can complete and benchmark against our friends or some kind of standard. By grabbing a few milliseconds of our attention, this has been proven to work amid a mass of competing memes, new articles and videos.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Decanter and Majestic, the wine publishers and retailers respectively are noted for their regular use of quizzes focussing on wine regions. In one good example, the user is asked to ‘identify these 5 wine regions, our hardest quiz ever’ (note the challenge) via a facebook post with a picture. Click and you are offered five map pictures, each with a fairly simple multiple choice set of answers. In this case as soon as you click you are told, via a responsive pop-up, if you are right or wrong, and an extra piece of informative text appears about the wine region featured.

At the end, the participant’s score is ranked and all are offered a discount voucher to download, encouraging the volunteering of data.

This kind of quiz ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to analysing what makes a successful campaign,

  • It uses graphics heavily.
  • It is quick and simple (in fact in this case, with the answers being very easy, perhaps too much so).
  • It encourages interaction.
  • It incentives the volunteering of data.

For those promoting more professional or ‘informational’ content, though, the simplicity and rapidity of the above example may not instantly appear appropriate. Of course it should always be that the brand or product values are not cheapened by a promotion. But there are plenty of examples of high worth sites profiting from this approach. The independent ‘I’, one of the most successful online conversions of print media has utilised a large amount of quiz content to drive traffic. One of its most successful quizzes is the item, ’25 Questions that TV’s Eggheads couldn’t answer.’ This item breaks a few of these conventions by being both lengthy and also difficult.

Having established that quizzes are a very useful weapon in the armoury of online content, let’s explore how they can be created. The bad news is that it is not recommended, given the standard of tests out there at moment, to simply put a ‘flat’ list of questions on a plain web page, with a link to the answer. Browsers’ expectations are much higher than that.

The good news is that there are many free or low cost tools that allow you to create a wide variety of quizzes, tests or challenges in a fairly templated manner. The two or three simplest are:

Typeform could be described as the market leader. To use it, you will need to set up an account, and subscribe for a small monthly fee. The benefit of this is the sheer flexibility of the platform, allowing you to create interactive, multiple choice journeys, with a variety of question types. With it you get a data compliant collection form and simple reporting.

Utilise the landing page

When you have created your quiz, you’ll most likely get a URL that you can embed on your web page. This allows you to have the interactive content on a special landing page. What works well here is putting some ‘selling’ content on the page, while not distracting from the quiz. In the quiz itself there should be an entirely clutter free environment. When finished you can take the user back to the page again.

It is always good to feature pictures and explain the answers so you don’t appear to be frustrating your participant.

When posted on social media, well targeted posts can achieve really high click through rates, often as high as 30% or 40%. Another measure of how interesting you have made your questions is the completion rate, the number of people who get through to the end. If you get significantly over 50% on a 5 or 6 question quiz, that is a decent rate. You know you have an interested set of prospects at the very least.

With the options to pitch your quiz endless, and you in control of how you present it, it is time to make asking questions of your customers and prospects part of your communications.

Written by John Fenna

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