Five things content marketers need to know about online quizzes

Posted by: CMA

Interactive online quizzes are all over the web at the moment, with the most high profile ones attracting millions of page views. Do they also represent an opportunity for brands and content marketing agencies?

If you have a Facebook or Twitter account you can’t have helped but notice that over the last six months social media has been completely overwhelmed by quizzes.

Barely a day seems to go by without BuzzFeed, UsVsTh3m or a similar site asking you which 90s pop album are you? Or where should you really live? Occasionally the quizzes get a little macabre - How will you die? and at other times they are rather surreal - but they are always addictive. Several of BuzzFeed’s quizzes have been played by over 40 million users while UsVsTh3m, the experimental site from Mirror Group Newspapers, became the fastest growing British editorial content site ever on the back of games like How Northern Are you?

In some ways the current quizzes are the heirs to the ones that have always been featured in teen magazines, and sometimes, national newspapers. They ask the user a series of questions, in this instance offered in a very simple mobile-friendly interface, and then give an answer that tells the person something about themselves.

The stratospheric number of views that quizzes have generated hasn’t escaped the notice of brands. Both BuzzFeed and UsVsTh3m have been slow to integrate brands into their quizzes, but it is unlikely to remain that way for much longer.

What then are the opportunities in this sphere for content marketing companies? Can quizzes work for brands? Here are five reasons why brands need to take the new breed of quizzes seriously.

  1. They are addictive and offer huge traffic - Starting with the obvious, the quizzes are completely addictive. There are also no signs that the social media consuming public is tiring of them. BuzzFeed is averaging at least a couple a day and has incorporated the quiz template into its content management system. This means that anyone, from reporters through to management, can come up with an idea and execute on it without having to worry the tech team.
    There may come a point where Facebook changes its algorithm, which makes the quizzes less easy to share, or the number of quizzes based on fun topics - from Star Wars to 90s TV shows starts to dry up. For the foreseeable future though quizzes are likely to stay as a key part of the online media landscape.

  2. They can garner useful data - No one, outside of BuzzFeed and The Mirror Group, really knows what plans the media companies have for the data they generate. And, yes much of it may be of limited use, but by constantly asking questions BuzzFeed is able to find out a huge amount about its audience. That data could prove invaluable should the company use it as part of its advertising pitch or sell it to other organisations or brands.
    Quizzes then can provide content marketing agencies and marketers with a simple way to find out more about their readers or customers. Savvy marketers could use quizzes as more reader-friendly way of producing a survey. Alternatively brands could use quizzes to find out exactly how their customers are using their products.

  3. They can be educational - Can quizzes be used to break news stories and educate readers? The jury is out on the former, but there are good examples of quizzes that have enlightened readers about news and current affairs. In particular UsVsTh3m has developed quizzes that ask questions about key international issues like this one. There is clearly an opportunity for charities to use quizzes to educate online communities about key issues.

  4. They can help consumers make buying decisions - So far very few media companies or brands have created quizzes that help customers make buying decisions. This is, however, a massive opportunity for brands. Think, for example, about the possibilities for travel brands. They could offer quizzes that help the reader choose an exciting new place to go on holiday. Or pet brands could offer quizzes that could help users choose the right type of animal to fit their lifestyle. The potential for electronics brands helping people buy gadgets and mobiles is clearly huge too.

  5. They play to content marketers’ strengths - Anyone can create a quiz. To craft one though that engages users, yet delivers important data and is centred around a brand requires the type of skills that only content marketing agencies have. Online interactive quizzes really do represent a great opportunity for content marketers, and it will be interesting to see how brands and agencies create their own as the months go by.

Posted by: CMA

Posted in CMA blog
4thMar 2014

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