What to know about quizzes on social in 2017

April 19, 2017

Written by NewsWhip
quizzes BuzzFeed social media

How does quiz content compare against non-quiz content? We looked at BuzzFeed, the master of online quizzes, to see how quizzes perform on social media. 

“What percent hipster are you?” “Are you smarter than a 10 year old?” “Which Spice Girl are you most like?” “What country should you move to if your most feared presidential candidate actually wins?”

There’s no denying, quizzes are well-suited for the social aspect of social media. Quizzes offer an interactive experience, one that is inherently sharable because users may feel compelled to compare their quiz results with their friends. Even the questions of the quizzes can invoke strong opinions.

But does the data back up what seems like common sense? Are quizzes engaging across social media? We decided to analyze the most well-known source of quizzes, BuzzFeed. Let’s dive in.

How much engagement do quizzes drive? 

Just by looking at BuzzFeed’s top content in March 2017, the four top stories were all quizzes.

BuzzFeed Quiz 2017

We totalled up the engagement of the top 50 quizzes across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. We then did the same for the top 50 non-quiz related content in March 2017.

We used NewsWhip Analytics to parse out BuzzFeed’s top engaging quizzes by searching the site along with keywords used in its quizzes like “how many” or “we’ll tell you”. Here’s what the comparison looked like.

social media monitoring BuzzFeed Quizzes Social Media Facebook

The 50 most engaging quizzes on BuzzFeed drove just under 3 million engagements in March, an average of almost 60,000 engagements per quiz. Though non-quiz content outpaced the quizzes, the margin was relatively small when we consider we were looking at one type of content vs. the other entirety of BuzzFeed’s content. 

Some of BuzzFeed’s quizzes are more in the realm of polls, such as “How Correct Are You Food Opinions?”.
Quizzes are less nuanced and focused compared to BuzzFeed’s top engaging stories. The other top articles tend to be very specific, focused tightly on niche audiences or specific life experiences. 

We’ve seen success around this with publishers splitting out their contents into different niches. For BuzzFeed, articles like “18 Excellent Reasons To Date A Bald Man” and “33 Things From Your Childhood You’re Never Going To Eat Again” saw big engagement. 

While not every quiz has momentum to reach viral proportions on social media, the ones that do become successful seem to be wildly so, as we see with the top four on BuzzFeed in March.  

Are BuzzFeed quizzes driving more or less engagement than a year ago?

We dialed back in NewsWhip Analytics to look at March 2016. How many engagements did quizzes see on social media a year ago?

Compared to March 2017’s almost 3 million engagements on the top 50 quizzes, March 2016 only saw 1.27 million engagements on BuzzFeed’s 50 most engaging quizzes that month.

BuzzFeed Quizzes Social Media Facebook comparison

The gap between quiz content engagements and non-quiz engagements was much, much wider in March 2016 as well. Quiz content is accounting for a bigger piece of the engagement pie. Social media engagements in general have risen for BuzzFeed, if we add together both the quiz and non-quiz content this past month. This is something we’ve noted in our latest Facebook publisher rankings. 

Again, three quizzes made it into BuzzFeed’s most engaging content of the month, but they did not dominate the top spots as they have this past March in 2017.

BuzzFeed top 2016 stories
In a throwback to the days of Quizilla and MySpace, the top quizzes were around social labels — “What Percent Nerdy Are You” and similar.

What are the trends of the top quizzes?

Since it’s evident there’s been in a shift in the top engaging quizzes a year ago to now, what are the quiz trends that are getting audiences sharing them on and engaging on social? 

The top quizzes in March 2017 were tests around random skills like color vision. Other tests of vocabulary, trivia, and personality type (introvert vs. extrovert) were also popular.

[fb_pe url=”https://www.facebook.com/BuzzFeed/posts/10155808140970329″ bottom=”30″]

BuzzFeed guessing aspects about you, similar to fortune telling games of childhood – guess your age, season you were born, even your middle name. These are on very focused decision makers — rather than a set of questions, these quizzes ask you to make a cake or pretend to buy things from Amazon in order to determine the result.

Pop culture quizzes are still big, as they tune into an already passionate fan base. Some top quizzes last month were around which character from a tv show users were most similar to, other quizzes tested pop culture knowledge.

There were still a couple of percentage quizzes like in 2016. However, some of these quizzes focused on two different traits rather than one aspect like in 2016. “What Percent Bad And What Percent Boujee Are You?

Then there were the ‘quizzes’ that were really polls, asking users for their preferences on something or another, for example, “How Correct Are Your Food Opinions?” or “Is It Weird That Cher And Josh Ended Up Together In “Clueless” Or Not?”

What other sites post socially engaging quizzes?

While BuzzFeed is the most well-known creator of quizzes, there are others out there.

A quick keyword search in NewsWhip Analytics for terms around quiz bring up some interesting results.
APost, a viral content publisher, saw high engagements for its quiz content in March. Its parent company, Social Sweethearts, attributes individualized, feel-good content pared with a data-driven approach for its success.

social media monitoring APost Facebook Engagements Quizzes Quiz Viral

Looking over in Spike, we can see more info around APost’s top three quizzes of the past month and their trajectory across social media.

For other publishers, mixing a quiz into your content can yield success with your already engaged audience.

Disney, SparkNotes, National Geographic saw substantial engagements for their quiz content in March. The quizzes were related to their already existing niches — Disney for “What’s Your Disney Character DNA?”, SparkNotes for Shakespeare archetypes, and National Geographic for Viking gods.

Sites like Playbuzz and Jebbit can also drive engagement for hosting interactive quiz content. This Houston Rockets quiz on Jebbit drove over 157,000 engagements in March.

What to know about quiz content in 2017

Quizzes can be a great way to liven up your content and stir up audience participation. Here’s what we can learn from the top quizzes from BuzzFeed and around the web:

  1. Don’t be afraid to be silly or whimsical
  2. Reveal something about your users’ personalities or preferences
  3. Test their knowledge about a passionate subject
  4. Get their opinions on common polarizing subjects in everyday life, like “Would You Swipe Left Or Right On These 14 “Simpsons” Characters?” or subjects in your vertical

Quiz content isn’t going away, from what the numbers indicate. In the social sharing world, quizzes are still a way to gameify content, let your readers join in, and share their results on with friends.

Check out NewsWhip Spike to find the hottest quizzes on social media right now


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Regular updates from the NewsWhip team on the crises, trends, and stories that are resonating with the media and public around the web.