Quizzes are the fastest-growing segment of content marketing, and whenever a segment is growing that means there is a greater opportunity for success as the market evolves. Although quizzes have been around for over ten years, they have not been a normal part of most content marketers’ arsenals – until recently.
More and more people are jumping on board to make quizzes, but what they are finding is that it’s difficult to make a quiz, unlike an article or video you can’t just sit down and write it (or record it).
Quizzes are much more complex, with scoring systems and correct answers, images, videos, GIFs and text all mixed in. To help navigate you through the wild world of quiz creation, I created this guide based on research done with 1500 quizzes built on Interact which have been viewed over 2 million times.
To kick things off, here are the most important parts of making a quiz.
5 Essential elements of a perfect quiz
1. The Quiz Title: 5 templates that you need to know
80% of people will make a decision as to whether or not they want to take your quiz based on its title. Without a title no one will care about your quiz and it will fall into the oblivion where non-liked social posts go to die (I hear it’s somewhere in Iceland). Here are 5 data-driven templates for writing quiz title.
1. The Celebrity Comparison title: “Which celebrity’s sunglasses should you buy?” throw the word celebrity into your quiz title and it can boost your quiz views by up to 1000%. As people who live in a celebrity-obsessed world, we are constantly subconsciously (or consciously) comparing ourselves to famous people. That’s a natural seg-way into creating a celebrity comparison quiz title.
To use the celebrity comparison title, start with a personality quiz and replace the personalities with people who have those personalities. This method can be used for products as well, by figuring out which celebrities are fans of certain products and building a quiz around that.
2. The “Actually” title: “What type of traveler are you actually?”was/is one of the top-performing quizzes in the travel genre. The quiz takes advantage of the fact that everyone craves to learn more about themselves. The actually title plays on that desire and creates an irresistible proposition.
3. The “Which (blank) are you?” title: This is the one that really kicked it all off for quizzes. “Which creature will you be in your next life?” is a quiz that has received more than 385,000 views and it exemplifies the quiz trend quite perfectly. The quiz is personality quiz modified to tell you what you will be in the next life.
4. The “How much do you really know?” title: Think about how many games have been invented to settle the score on who in your group of friends and family knows the most about random subjects? Trivial Pursuit, scrabble, Risk, and even monopoly all have an element of testing your knowledge.
Quizzes can capitalize on our inherent desire to show the world how smart we are by posing the question “How much do you really know?” Our inherent desire to appear smart will take over and we won’t be able to resist taking your quiz.
5. Who said it? title: Continuing on the topic of turning boring knowledge tests into irresistible challenges to our ego, I present the “Who said it?” quiz title.
For example, a recent quiz titled “Who said it, Isis or Hamas?” sparked tweets from the Israeli embassy and commanders of troops in the middle east. The quiz shows various quotes by one of the two groups and then asks you to identify which one said it. Knowledge buffs pitted themselves against each other and the quiz took off.
While this is a particularly strong (and sensitive) case, it does exemplify how powerful a comparison quiz can be.
2. Cover image hook
Where a blog post has a text hook, a quiz has an image hook. The cover of every quiz has an image on it that acts as the visual stimulus from to which readers are drawn when browsing through social media sites. We did some research to find out what kind of images you should use as cover photos to maximize quiz traffic, and found that photos of smiling people outperform every other kind of picture.
Ideally the picture only has one person in it, because our brains are wired to find faces, but get overwhelmed by more than one face at a time.
Check out this graph which shows the average number of quiz views for 32 Buzzfeed quizzes that have a cover photo with a person on it versus 31 quizzes with no smiling person. The average, while not overwhelmingly higher, is statistically better when your cover photo has a picture of a person on it.
3. Conversational questions
Moving on to the content of your quiz, let’s look at best practices for writing quiz questions.
We had a hunch about what kind of quiz content would perform best. Our assertion was that the most natural-sounding questions would be on the same quizzes that ended up getting the most views. Since 60% of our normal conversations revolve around ourselves, and talking about ourselves uses a lot of the words “I, you, and me” the test we ran was to see if there was a difference in quizzes that used more of those words.
The results are strongly in favor of using more of the words I, you, and me. The times when we use these words are when we talk as if we would normally, in our natural tone, using our own voice.
The best quiz questions not only speak in a personable tone, but have a little pizzazz to them. The writers who create these quizzes are confident in their writing abilities and have no problem speaking naturally.
To give an example, check out the picture of a question from a quiz by Food52 below. This particular quiz was viewed over 25,000 times, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a personable tone.
One thing you have to keep in mind when writing quiz questions is that quizzes are made primarily for entertainment. Sure. you can present targeted offers (which we will go over), but your main purpose is to create a fun and interactive experience for existing and prospective customers.
4. Uplifting and actionable results
The results of your quiz are where you get an opportunity to amplify the reach of your content. The coveted social share buttons at the bottom of each result can either make your quiz explode in popularity or go unnoticed depending on how your go about creating your results.
Additionally, quiz results can potentially lead to qualified customers continuing to interact with your brand and eventually purchasing if you play your cards right.
Part 1 of quiz results: How to write them
Writing quiz results is akin to telling people their fortunes without all the weird stuff. You are essentially making a claim about the quiz taker based on the way they answered your questions. You want to be careful here so as not to make enemies, but you also want to retain your voice as you did in the quiz questions.
Here are a few tips .
Be kind. No one wants to hear about their problems. Even if your quiz identifies someone as sub-par, don’t be rude and put them down. To show just how much of an effect positive results have on quiz shares, we analyzed 2000 tweets of quiz results from interact quizzes for several keywords including, excellent, awesome, great, good, and a few others. The goal was to see what percentage of actual tweets have a positive connotation.
A full 75% of all tweets contain positive trigger words. Social media is a bit of a popularity contest, and when a quiz tells you that you rock, that helps your popularity.
A word of warning, don’t go and just fill up your quiz results with feel-good positivity. People will know if you are just trying to butter them up. To avoid making this error, just focus on the factual positive aspects of each result and build the description around those.
This example of a quiz result from Amnesty International’s “Which famous human rights activist are you?” quiz does an excellent job of exemplifying a great quiz result. The text is factual, but also contains trigger words such as “important” and “influential.”
Remember, this quiz result comes after you told the quiz a bit about yourself, so hearing a positive story like this result makes you feel pretty special.
Part 2 of quiz results: How to keep the conversation going
The second important element of a great quiz is the follow-up. When you give someone a quiz result, you have their full attention. After all, you just assessed their life based off of the way they answered your questions and they are quite curious to know what it all means.
The best quizzes have a personalized and immediate follow-up, check out a couple of examples for how to do that.
1. Provide a personalized content recommendation
Quizzes are the perfect way to provide personalized content recommendations. In each result of your quiz, you can include a link to check out further reading or videos about the particular result and you have a captive audience to click those links.
Forbes did this with their “Which college is right for you?” quiz. The quiz results give you a region and type of college that fits your personality. Then, they included a link to check out their college adviser with the settings already dialed in to your personality – pretty cool!
To replicate this method, you can either create long-form content that goes along with each quiz result, or just link out to existing content that fits well with your quiz. Providing a personalized recommendation drastically improves on-site time and makes each quiz taker feel special.
2. Offer a unique product to each person
Another way to utilize the personalization aspect of quizzes is to provide targeted product recommendations. A study done by Baynote showed that offering personalized products can increase sales by 300%, and using a quiz it’s possible to do just that.
All you have to do is equate a set of products to different personality types and make a normal personality quiz with the products. Then give a link to purchase the product in the results.
For example, this quiz done by Hookah and Shisha titled “Which Hookah are you?” has seven different kinds of Hookah as the results and provides a link to purchase the recommended product on the site.
5. Soundbites for sharing
With so much of quiz traffic relying on social networks, it’s vital to make sure your quizzes have easily share-able snippets that render well on social media.
There is a formula for how quizzes get shared, it goes like this: “I got (my result)(title of the quiz)”
In real life that looks like this: “I got Almost there: do you actually know how to swim?” which is in fact the actual share-able snippet from a Red Cross quiz they unleashed on social media to educate people and raise awareness for their new Swim App.
To be successful in sharing, the key is to make sure your quiz title and quiz results titles match up well. The result title will be what entices the share, and the quiz title will be what attracts other people to take the quiz.
You also want to make sure each result has a nice image tat goes along with the title because that will get pulled and shared on social media as well.