Online Quizzes Engage and Inform Audiences While Bringing in Revenue

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Who’s Your TV Mom” quiz ad on its grocery story partner’s website.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Who’s Your TV Mom” quiz ad on its grocery story partner’s website.

BuzzFeed and Facebook shouldn’t be the only ones having fun with quizzes; newspapers are getting in on the action now too.

In 2013, The New York Times’ “How Y’ll, Youse and You Guys Talk” quiz became the biggest interactive story in Times history in terms of traffic and total users. In March, The Washington Post’s “Can we guess your age based solely on the apps on your phone?” quiz was one of the paper’s top 10 most read articles that month. And last year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mother’s Day quiz saw 11,000 participants.

So what made these quizzes so successful? Simple: they engage audiences, and for newspapers, that means revenue.

According to Second Street Promotions Lab, the AJC partnered with a local grocery store, Kroger, last May for its “Who’s Your TV Mom?” quiz and tied it into Mother’s Day. The paper ran a homepage takeover ad for its quiz and incorporated a $250 grocery gift card to a random user.

“Email is the number one engagement tool to get an audience to engage with any contesting, quizzes or promotions.” said Jay Schultz, AJC sponsorship and product specialists. “In all quizzes we see a spike in digital engagement on the date our email promotions go out. Social is also a great engager as well and creates a steady flow of traffic over the flight of the quiz. People love to take quizzes on Facebook and hopefully share them with their friends.”

Their Facebook ad garnered 1,028 likes, 10,315 clicks and 162 comments. The quiz brought in $25,000 in revenue for the paper and built a relationship with the grocery store partner, who saw an increase in traffic to its own site and as a result, signed up to run more quizzes in the future.

Greg Barber, director of digital news projects at the Washington Post, noted that even with how fun quizzes are for readers, they can also present dense data in a relatable way to publishers.

The Post’s app quiz looked at data from Verto Analytics and the Qatar Computing Research Institute detailing “which apps and attributes correlate.” Looking at the data, the Post team wanted to test the accuracy for readers, so what better way to do that then with a quiz? This presented the broader story’s information while giving readers personalized results.

“One way we as people understand the world is to contextualize it and bring it to our own experience,” Barber said. “News organizations can look at these kinds of interactives as a way to reach audiences.”

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Published: May 11, 2016

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