Quizzes are the fastest growing form of content. On Interact alone, more than 3000 quizzes have been created in the last few months. Perhaps not surprisingly, the top 10% of those quizzes receive 90% of the traffic.
In an attempt to figure out what distinguishes a good quiz from a “bad” quiz (that gets very few views), we put together a huge excel file of quizzes made using Interact and ran some statistics to discover what sets the high traffic quizzes apart from the rest.
Here’s what we found:
There are five attributes of a “perfect” quiz
- A title that sticks out on social media
- A cover image “hook”
- Conversational quiz questions
- Uplifting and actionable results
- A plan for sharing
Now let’s dive in and look at how to accomplish each element.
Step 1: how to write a title that stands out in a sea of social media posts
Every single day we produce more content on Facebook than is contained in every single book published since the beginning of time. How in the world does one get noticed in that mess? Here are three ways.
- The Celebrity Comparison title: Like it or not, we all live in a world that is infatuated with celebrities. We like celebrities in part because we see a reflection of ourselves in these famous people who live lavish lives.
That’s why the celebrity comparison quiz is a natural fit, and it turns out that quizzes with the word “celebrity” in their title average a much higher view count than those without.
The graph above is compiled from a cross-section of 1400 quizzes published on a variety of sites. We didn’t discriminate on which quizzes were included, meaning that there is only a correlation between the celebrity title and more views. I can’t guarantee you that adding that one word will get you 5000 views, but it sure does help.
- The “Which (blank) are you?” title: This is the one that rekindled our most recent flare-up of internet quizzes. “Which City Should You Actually Live in?” has received over 40 million views on Buzzfeed and has been successfully replicated to the tune of millions of visits many times over.
The beauty of this title template is that it works for virtually any subject or industry, all the way from cake to baby sitters.
- The “Actually” title: “Do you actually know how to swim?” this quiz type begins life as a simple knowledge assessment, but then morphs into a challenge when you add the word actually.
The Red Cross recently ran a quiz titled “Do you actually know how to swim?” that was provocative and eye-opening. It ended up seeing thousands of views and sparked long debates on Facebook, raising awareness for the important issue of water safety.
Step 2: Add an image cover that hooks people’s attention.
If the blog post has a one sentence hook designed to keep a readers’ attention, the quiz has the cover photo. The way quizzes are displayed, the cover photo takes up 80% of the space. This is primarily because visual assets perform much better on social media, and it means your cover photo is prime real estate.
To discover what kind of cover image works best, we started with the hunch that pictures of people would get more hits than those without people. This is based on that fact that our brains are wired to look for faces.
We ran a test on 32 Buzzfeed quizzes to see what kind of an impact faces in cover photos would have.
The winner was one face, or one person, but having more people doesn’t seem to hurt too much. This makes intuitive sense, if you think about the types of posts that show up on your Facebook feed and are popular; pictures of your friends probably come to mind more than sceneries or nature photos.
One last note on the cover photo, make sure the image is relevant to the quiz. Your ultimate goal is to get people to finish your quiz and continue engaging with your content, it does no good to have a catchy photo but then let your visitors down with a quiz that has nothing to do with the picture.
Step 3: Write quiz questions that strike up a conversation
The biggest thing that sets quizzes apart from most other forms of content is the ability for content creator to speak directly with content consumer. Instead of writing an article designed to be read by hundreds or thousands of people, quizzes are written to speak directly to one person at a time. This presents an opportunity to create a connection with quiz takers so it’s easier to present offers later on.
To find out how to make the most of this opportunity, we analyzed over 10,000 quiz questions from 1,400 unique quizzes, here’s what we found.
First, speaking like a normal human makes a huge difference. It might sound stupid to say this, of course we speak like humans when we write content – we are human after all. However, what I mean is that you should speak like you would to a friend. In our normal conversations with people we know, a full 60% of what we say is about ourselves (we are all a bit narcissistic). That means we use words like “I, we and you” a lot.
To see what kind of an effect speaking like we normally do can have on quiz views, we compared quiz views to the number of instances of personal pronouns like I, we, and you.
Turns out it really does matter how “normal” our conversations are. Now this is again a correlation, I’m not saying that using personal pronouns in abundance will automatically get you a ton of views.
Second, on a less quantitative note, we discovered that the very best quizzes all take on their own voice or personality. Almost like a goofy friend or an acquaintance that has a unique form of dry humor, these quizzes really draw you in with their wit.
Step 4: Create results that are positive and lead to something more
We share things on social media that make us look good. You don’t post pictures of your failed attempt to make spaghetti; you post pictures of latte art from your favorite coffee shop. The same applies to quiz results. If you tell people they are awful, no one will share, but if you tell them they rock, you will get shared.
To test this hypothesis, we analyzed 2000 tweets that came from Interact quiz results to see how many of those tweets contained one of our list of positive trigger words.
Turns out nearly all of the tweets contain some sort of positive word. Now the risk here is lying. You never want to tell people they are great just for the sake of buttering them up. Focus on the actual positive elements of each quiz result and stay honest.
The second part of a great quiz result is to have a follow-up item. When you show people their quiz results, you have their full captive attention. You’ve just made an assessment about their life based on the answers to personal questions, and the quiz taker is all ears.
This is the perfect time to include a personalized follow up link or opportunity to get in contact. A great example of this comes from Forbes, who made a college quiz that helps prospective find the best category of college based on their personality.
In each result there is a link to check out the Forbes College Adviser that is personalized based on each quiz result. Personalization can have a huge effect on visit duration and even purchases (one study showed a 300% increase in sales), so it’s very important to offer up personalized content at the end of your quiz, be it another article, tool, or a product.
Step 5: Have a plan for sharing
If you write a good quiz, it will get shared. That means you need to be ready for sharing so that when your quiz results do show up on social feeds they look good.
There is a formula for how quiz results get shared, it goes like this. “I got (my result)(title of the quiz)” so for example “I got Chocolate – what type of cake are you?”
Make sure every quiz result title aligns well with the title of your quiz to maximize the amplification potential of social shares.
With any growing market there’s opportunity for savvy businesses to grow their company. Quizzes are that growing market right now – and you can get involved. Just be sure to follow some basic principles and be yourself and your quiz will be just fine. Get started by making one of your own and feel free to discuss successes or failure in the comments below.