“Which Spice Girl Are You?” While discovering the answer to this question may not have been on my to-do list, I had to find out. I got “Posh Spice” and proved I am just one of the many victims of BuzzFeed’s recent viral trend: quizzes.Similar to BuzzFeed’s lists, the quizzes have been shared widely across social and traditional media channels. From deciding what to eat for lunch to determining if you are ready to start a family, BuzzFeed readers answer a set of culturally driven questions to discover key insights for their life choices. The quiz entitled, “What City Should You Actually Live In?”, has received more than 20 million views. It poses a fun possibility for readers and challenges them by suggesting they are living in the wrong place. Quiz takers are then sharing results with followers and friends across social media as part of their own story.
Summer Anne Burton, Buzzfeed’s managing editorial director and the head of its quiz initiative, explained to Nieman Journalism Lab, “The quiz is kind of like the broken-down-to-its-core of what BuzzFeed is— it gives someone something that they can relate to well enough that they can share it with others. When people share things, it’s partially because of what it says about them.”
Celebrities are also taking part in this trend. Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO series “Girls,” took BuzzFeed’s “Which Girls Character Are You?” quiz and got Marnie Michaels, not the character she plays on the show, Hannah Horvath, to the surprise of her fans. The humorous and sometimes shocking reactions generated by many of these quizzes increase their sharability for a viral internet response. Dunham’s tweet about her quiz was retweeted more than 1,000 times and numerous outlets covered her results, including The Washington Post and Slate.
Not only have the quizzes dramatically increased site traffic and engagement for BuzzFeed, they are also becoming a significant revenue driver. According to Digiday, Mattel and Spotify were some of the first BuzzFeed partners to exploit the quiz popularity and more companies are jumping on the trend to initiate “cultural conversations” with consumers.
As PR and marketing professionals, we are always researching successful content marketing strategies and the increasingly pervasive BuzzFeed quiz should be top of mind for 2014. We can identify some key takeaways from this trend to consider in future content campaigns:
As we head into the weekend, here is a quiz everyone should take: "What Kind of Drink Are You Going to Need After Work Tonight?" Happy Friday!