Marketing April 30, 2014 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,352 Reads share

How To Get Traffic Like A Buzzfeed Quiz

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Quizzes drive absurd amounts of traffic. In this chart of 31 Buzzfeed quizzes, the average quiz saw 1.2 million views – that’s equivalent to every person in San Jose, California taking the each of these quizzes. Traffic numbers like these put Buzzfeed in the top 100 websites in the world. So what is it about these quizzes that draw in so many people? And how do I get involved?

The first thing to do is create a Buzzfeed style quiz. There is a very specific set of rules to follow if you want to build the viral sensations that Buzzfeed has perfected, and they can be summed up in these five steps.

#1. Get your images right.

Quizzes that use images get 50% more views than those that don’t. However, not just any image works. People, and specifically faces, draw in our attention more than any other kind of image because we are wired to look for faces. You want pictures for the thumbnail of your quiz as well as the background.

Bad images are worse than no images because they look unprofessional and can degrade the perception of quality for your quiz. Follow these ten steps for choosing images, which in short form can be summed up like this.

  • Don’t use lame stock images, keep it relevant
  • Make sure the people look real
  • Beware of people looking at the camera, this can come off as fake
  • Crop images to focus on the important aspects
  • Try playing with different shapes for your images
  • Make sure your photos aren’t fuzzy when scaled to size
  • Do basic editing to clean up things like red eye if there are any issues
  • Keep the resolution reasonable so images load faster
  • You can’t fix terrible photos, start with good ones

Images can do wonders for your quiz, but make sure to follow those simple steps to yield the full benefit of using photos.

how nerdy are you

#2. Get your name right.

80% of people will use your quiz title to decide if they want to click through and take it. Naming your quiz is no small task. Here is a sure-fire method to come up with good titles every time.

  • First, write 25 possible headlines for your quiz. This might seem like overkill, but around number 22 your ideas will start to come from outside the box and creativity will flow through.
  • Second, sit down with your team and pick the top three titles.
  • Third, if possible, test the three titles against each other by creating three different pages, one with each title and sharing each page on a different social network.

To start things off, we compared Buzzfeed quiz titles to other quiz titles to discover what they have done to be so great. In general, they make their quiz titles challenging and active rather than passive.

quiz titles

#3. Get your questions right.

It’s not enough to just ask questions in a quiz format. For too long we have had a boring association with the term “quiz” because of school quizzes and lame online assessments. That’s why it’s vitally important to create quiz questions that are fun and full of snark. For example, instead of saying “always, sometimes, never” substitute in “literally all the time, I guess I do that sometimes, no just never”

Slight changes like this can help you speak to the quiz taker and personalize your quiz rather than treating them like just another visitor. Buzzfeed quizzes are excellent and injecting personality into their quizzes and it’s a big part of the reason people love them so much.

As far as how many questions to have, the ideal number is between 6 and 12. If you stay in that range, your quiz is long enough to be believable but short enough to take less than three minutes, which is within our attention span.

#4. Get your shares right.

When it comes to what is share-able, author Malcom Gladwell knows what works.

“Practical and Personal Advice is Memorable” – Malcom Gladwell

Building off of Gladwell, Buzzfeed’s managing editor determined that you must make quiz results personal and stimulating enough to be worth sharing.

“The quiz gives someone something that they can relate to well enough that they can share it with others,”

To maximize social shares on your quiz, keep the results overwhelmingly positive. We analyzed dozens of Buzzfeed quizzes and found that every result was positive and feeding the ego of the quiz taker. We always put our best foot forward on social networks, so feed into that by keeping it positive.


#5. Use the Shaq Rule.

Retired basketball player Shaquille O’neal has an unusually large social following. He created a method for how to share on social media in a way that delights fans.

  • 80% of the time share things to entertain
  • 15% of the time share things to help people learn
  • 5% of the time share things to sell your product

Quizzes should be set up in a similar format. The primary purpose is entertainment, with a smaller part being dedicated to actual learning and an even smaller part being dedicated to selling your product. The most common mistake people make here is focusing way to much on the selling portion. If you try to tell to much, people will catch on and your quiz won’t get shared.

Buzzfeed has done a lot of the hard work by perfecting the methods for creating quizzes that drive traffic. Now all you have to do is make one for yourself and follow the rules they’ve set up for building highly share-able quizzes.


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Josh Haynam

Josh Haynam

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