How leading brands are ruling Facebook using quizzes

From the outside it’s easy to look at a big brand and just assume every single thing they post on Facebook automatically gets thousands of likes and comments. For a lot of brands this is not the case. Either they don’t have a loyal social following, or Facebook’s algorithmic changes are limiting the natural reach […]

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From the outside it’s easy to look at a big brand and just assume every single thing they post on Facebook automatically gets thousands of likes and comments. For a lot of brands this is not the case. Either they don’t have a loyal social following, or Facebook’s algorithmic changes are limiting the natural reach of their posts limiting how much of the audience actually see each update.

Big brands, just like small brands, have to work hard if they want to stand out on Facebook, and more often than not it comes down to one person (or small group) to create content that will go viral. If that person is you, then welcome, I’m glad you’re here, let’s get right down to it and look at how great brands use quizzes to rule Facebook.

1. The Red Lobster Endless Shrimp Quiz

Facebook Shares: 8836

You know the difference between getting a personal invite to a party rather than just being added to an event on Facebook? On the one hand you know someone personally wants you at an event whereas on the other there could be hundreds or thousands of others who got invited, much less appealing.

When The Red Lobster created their endless shrimp quiz “What Type of Red Lobster Endless Shrimp Are You?” it effectively turned the general Facebook invite of the endless shrimp promotion into a personal invite for everyone who took the quiz. Now I know that sounds weird, but let’s take a look (and see what the heck any of this has to do with getting shared a lot).

The quiz starts life as another Facebook – esque quiz that is meant to draw people in (which it turns out quizzes are quite good at) It’s an enticing quiz title that you can’t resist if you are a fan of The Red Lobster or Shrimp (or both), and it’s certainly worth a click.

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Where it gets interesting though is in the results of the quiz. In my example I got Garlic Shrimp Scampi. I get a description that tells me why I got that result, and it’s a doozy. I get all warm inside as the description of what kind of shrimp I am flatters me (and because I’m thinking about eating the shrimp).

More importantly though is the fact that I now have a personal reason to go to Red Lobster. When I sit down at the restaurant, I’m going to know exactly what kind of shrimp I want and I’m going to be thinking about the shrimp the next time the inevitable “What do you want to eat?” conversation happens.

So there’s two things that make this quiz share-able. First, it makes you look good, and since social networks are basically canvasses for painting an optimal picture of our lives, flattery works well. Second, it’s personal, and it gives you a real-ish connection to the brand.

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The campaign worked extremely well, nearly 200,000 people have “liked” the quiz to date, and it continues to build brand awareness for The Red Lobster even after the endless shrimp campaign ended.


2. Hostelworld Traveler Type Quiz

Facebook Shares: 3236

If you’re not sure what HostelWorld is, that’s okay (Guessing you’re over 30?) If you are looking to stay in a Hostel and need to book online, HostelWorld is the first choice for literally anywhere in the world. I know this because I was looking up a hostel in a remote part of El Salvador (like really remote), and HostelWorld totally hooked it up. (check out the picture of the spot)



HostelWorld had a similar social media conundrum to The Red Lobster, in that they have these super cool awesome spots all over the world, but any given person might not care that much about an amazing spot in the middle of nowhere in El Salvador, so what do they post on Facebook? Their answer (which worked really well) was a quiz titled “What Type of Traveller are you Actually?”

travel quiz


The quiz itself is probably the most game-like experience I’ve encountered in a travel quiz to date. Every question asks you to choose between a series of pictures, and they do a great job of making those pictures hilarious. This is vital to their quiz because travel is a very socially driven experience, and every single question of this quiz has to compete with a news feed filled with baby pictures. Hostelworld nailed it, and over 90% of people who started this quiz finished it.

travel buddy


If you thought the results would be a let-down after all those great questions, think again. The title of my result is “The YOLO Fiend” – while I both identify with that result and think it’s awesome, it’s also something worth sharing.

It’s as if I just clicked on ten pictures and am now being celebrated for my choices (you can’t see it, but the minions are jumping). This sort of over enthusiasm is what led to the HostelWorld quiz getting shared so much in the first place.



3. NPR Accent Quiz

Facebook Shares: 2302

This quiz changed my perception of NPR. As a young person in college my buddies and I used to imitate NPR anchors by talking about the most mundane topics we could think of, like how the street looked today, going on for several minutes with painful detail.

This is no longer how I treat NPR thanks to this quiz, they’ve effectively proven they can be fun.

Accent quizzes have been popular forever, but were recently re-energized by the New York Times dialect quiz that was their top post of 2013. The draw of the New York Times quiz and this NPR quiz is that they divide people into groups they identify strongly with (how much of an accent you have). One group is “in” and the other is “out” and both sides feel they need to defend their position on social media, which results in a win for NPR.

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While the subject of this quiz is awesome, we’ve gotten to the point where simply making a quiz with a catchy title won’t cut it (because there are so many quizzes). That’s why NPR backs up their catchy title with excellent questions complete with pictures of cats (mountain lions).

The point is to make your quizzes like a game, it shouldn’t feel like you have to fill out a questionnaire to get your results, each and every question should have its own interactivity and personality to it.

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Now I finished the quiz and get my results. This is where I’m supposed to share the quiz and get my friends to come take the quiz. Results pages like the one pictured below led to thousands of people sharing, so let’s try to figure out why.

First, there are very distinct levels in the quiz. This reaffirms the previous notion that the quiz would divide people into groups who can identify with their quiz result. By sharing the results, you are either identifying with Northwesterners or identifying as not a Northwesterner. People get very territorial and this spurred on the sharing.

Second, it’s humorous. Again, props to NPR for injecting fun and a bit of snarkiness into their content. I mean, I got “Level 2: Bertha” with a picture of a giant something or other as my result, that’s some solid situational humor.

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The key to nailing a Facebook quiz is not to have a massive existing audience or pay to promote the piece all over the place – rather, some well put together interaction within the quiz and a touch of flattery in the results will achieve you some excellent share-ability. I hope these tips have helped clarify the quiz creation process, all of the examples above come from Interact, you can head over there to create a quiz and get your own massive Facebook sharing.

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Josh Haynam

Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Josh is an outdoor enthusiast, is very into health/fitness, and enjoys spending time with his community in San Francisco.

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