Why your quiz is not performing – and how to fix it

If you’re reading this – you probably have an online quiz or two on your site. But there’s a good chance you’re doing your quiz wrong – all wrong.
In this post, we’ll share our nine reasons why.

Sure, quizzes are great to engage your visitors. People love to answer questions – and it’s a natural place to collect emails with lead generation.
But there’s an art to creating a quiz that converts visitors to leads. We have 30+ years of combined quiz experience – and here’s what we’ve learned.

How can I fix my quiz?

Let’s dive in – there are three main areas where quizzes go wrong:

  1. Content – what questions do you ask?
  2. Lead generation – how do you collect email addresses and other info?
  3. Styling – how well does your embedded content fit your site?

Quiz secret #1 – use shorter titles

Quiz Secret #1: Shorter titles

Quizzes are simple, right? Just ask a bunch of questions – and voila! You’re done.
Not quite. For such a simple process, there are a number of pitfalls to avoid – starting with choosing the right title.
The title of your quiz is important. Like really, really important. Just like a book, your title needs to catch the casually browsing visitor’s attention – and intrigue them enough to want to click and answer questions.

We’ve dug into the research – and here are our best tips for crafting compelling titles:

  • It’s all about ‘you’: Make your quiz personal – with using words like “you” or “your”. Quizzes that directly engage the visitor – such as “How travel-savvy are you?” and “Are you smart enough to avoid these grammar traps?” do 23% better than more impersonal alternatives like “The IQ test”.
  • Use odd numbers in your title: This sounds weird – but titles with odd numbers perform 20% better than round numbers like ‘Top 10’.
    • “7 Star Wars trivia questions you’ll never guess”
    • “9 questions to find your Backstreet Boy soulmate”
  • Challenge your readers: Adding words like ‘the most’ or ‘actually’ make a test title an almost irresistible challenge. Check out these examples:
  • Challenge your readers: Adding words like ‘the most’ or ‘actually’ make a test title an almost irresistible challenge. Check out these examples:
    • Before: “Are you a good manager?”
    • After: “Are you actually a good manager?” See the difference?
  • Eight words (or 60 characters) – we’ve read research that’s found titles with eight words get a 21% higher click through rate. Especially on smartphones, short and punch titles are easy to read, digest, and act on.

Want to see good quiz titles in action? We’ve put this list of our 143 favorite quiz titles – along with online quiz examples.

Quiz secret #2 – pick powerful images

Quiz Secret #2: Powerful images

We’ve all heard the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover”, right? But equally – it’s human nature; we ALL do it.
Quizzes are a lot like books – the right image will attract the eye as they idly scroll down your page.

Here are some tips for picking the right image for your quiz:

  • Cheesy stock photos are bad… very bad: Most stock photos out there look like, well, stock photos. You want an image that is original and catches your users’ attention.
  • Fill the frame: Choose images that are less cluttered – on small screens like smartphones, simple images with less complicated compositions stand out much better.
  • Go (creative) common: The good news is that there are a growing number of image libraries with a Creative Commons license (these are generally okay to use in your quizzes). We’re big fans of Pexels and Unsplash in particular – all free to use.
  • Pick people: Humans are naturally drawn to photos of people – instead of objects. We recommend choosing pictures with people who are looking directly at the camera.
  • Sex sells: Okay, it’s not very highbrow – but this classic advertising saying is true for a reason. Catch users’ attention by selecting pictures with attractive people.

Quiz secret #3 – keep your quiz short & sweet

Quiz Secret #3: Short quizzes

Now that you’ve got your title and image sorted – you’re ready to move on to the ‘meat’ of your quiz… the questions.

It’s easy to get caught up in writing lots and lots of great questions – we’ve had customers create quizzes with upwards of 40 or 50 questions, only to ask us why they weren’t working.

People are busy – and have increasingly short attention spans. We’re big fans of the ‘Three Minute Rule’.
Most folks will take your quiz in between other activities – like waiting for the bus, or during a commercial break.

Keep your entire experience at three minutes or less – and you won’t notice a fall-off in your quiz completions as people lose interest or are distracted by something else.

In quiz terms, that works out to about 6-10 questions per quiz – with 3-4 answer options per question.

43% more people will complete an online quiz with 6-10 questions, compared to a 20 question one.
(One caveat – if you create a quiz for more serious topics like ‘Are you really depressed?’, you can go longer. People will be far more emotionally invested in getting accurate results for health issues than say, a lighter ‘entertainment’ quiz.)

Quiz secret #4 – honor the 50/50 rule

Quiz Secret #4: The 50/50 rule

One of the most common things we see has to do at the end of a quiz – the ‘results’ section. All too often, we see an otherwise brilliant test with a perfect title, image, and questions – let down by mediocre results.
We get it – by the time you get to the end, you might be ready to move on to your next task.

But you’d be missing out. Quiz results are your last chance to engaged your quiz takers – and get them to want to share it with their friends. We recommend creating three to four result brackets:

  1. Start with the top and bottom results first. They practically write themselves – you can either congratulate the user for crushing it or be sympathetic (or gently heckling) for scoring badly.
  2. Next, create the responses for people who got some, but not all, the questions right.
    • For example, if you were creating a David Bowie test with four result types, the middle ones might look something like these:
    • Fans who got the 26%-50% bracket could get “You got ‘Hunky Dory’! Just like this early Bowie effort, you‘ve got real potential. You‘re obviously a big fan of this musical master. Check out his back catalogue then try again – you‘ll be rocking this quiz in no time!”
    • The folks who scored better and fell into the 51%-75% segment might receive “You‘re one of Bowie‘s ‘Heroes’! You know your ‘China Girl‘ – and are just a hair shy of Bowie-trivia greatness. Give it another shot.”

Our rule of thumb? Spend as much time on your test results as your questions.

Quiz secret #5 – Keep your leadforms short

Quiz Secret #5: Short lead forms

Quizzes are powerful for lead generation – but asking for your quiz takers’ emails can have a big negative impact on your quiz stats. Shorter is better. Much better.

Think of it as a party. Imagine you’re having a great conversation with someone. You guys are connecting about your mutual love of Star Wars when (boom!) – they suddenly ask you to sign up for their business consultancy newsletter. Weird, right?

Lead forms should be related to the topic of the quiz – and short. You might be tempted to ask lots of questions to your quiz lead generation form.

However, every field in your form will see a 10% drop off in completion rates – so ask the bare minimum you’ll need from each customer.

We recommend:

  • Email (of course)
  • First name
  • Last name (Only if critical – ask yourself how important is a last name to your marketing flow, really?)

Quiz secret #6 – offer discounts or start contests

Quiz Secret #6: Offer discounts

A good call to action is as important as a short lead generation form.
We often see forms that just say ‘Sign up to receive our newsletter’ – and are then asked why only a handful of people fill in their forms.

People are understandably cautious about giving out their email address – so you need to provide them a reason.

For example, you can offer something like “Receive your own custom analysis of your quiz results. Leave your name and email – along with five tips on how you can improve. ”

We’ve also seen math tutoring sites offer to email in-depth ‘how-to’ instructions about their “Are you ready for university?” quiz, or consultants offer a free 10 minute Skype consultation.

Customize this approach to suit your business, but the core value proposition will remain the same – you’re offering a valuable service in return for the user’s name and email.

Quiz secret #7 – Make your lead forms optional

Quiz Secret #7: Make forms optional

Okay – this isn’t something that will show up to your audience, but it could have a big impact on the overall effectiveness of your quiz.
Marketers often get excited and ‘gate off’ showing the quiz results behind a mandatory lead generation form.

That’s a bad idea – for several reasons:

  • Your users will have just spent three to five minutes answering your quiz, and will be eager to see their results.
  • Showing a mandatory lead generation form feels a bit like holding their quiz results hostage.
  • This leads to a bad user experience – and they certainly won’t want to share your quiz with its mandatory form with their friends.
  • And you’ll get bad data from people who just want their results (mickey@mickeymouse.com for example).

The best way to collect leads in quizzes? Keep forms optional – but give a really, really strong reason for them to complete it (see points above).

And then, once someone completes your quiz lead generation form, they’ve expressed a strong ‘buying signal’.
You’ve done the hard part – and they’re interested in your offer. Now you need to act quickly to close the deal.

Automatically send out follow up emails, based on their online quiz results – with Riddle, you can use Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, or 3,000 other tools via Zapier

Quiz secret #8 – White-label your quizzes

Quiz Secret #8: White-label your content

Beyond questions and answers, there’s one other subtle change you can make that will have a big impact on the success of your quiz.
White label your quiz. Seriously.

Navigating the internet can be scary – there are a number of dodgy websites out there.

When people visit your site to take your quiz, you have a few seconds to make them comfortable – with your site’s look and feel, as well as branding.

The goal is to make your site as reassuring as possible to engage with your quiz. That’s where your formatting comes in:

  • Take the extra time to use your quiz maker’s styling tools.
  • Most will give you the options to customize the colors and fonts to match your site.
  • White label – hide your provider’s logo and add your own.
  • CSS: Does your quiz maker give you access to the quiz CSS? Customize the buttons, borders and other quiz elements – so that your test feels a seamless, natural part of your site.

Check out how Choice Hotels used Riddle’s CSS editor for their “What kind of travel boss are you?” personality quiz. Looks beautiful, right?

Quiz secret #9 – Try different quiz types

Quiz Secret #9: Mix things up

As we’ve mentioned, quizzes are powerful – and effective. But just like so many things (sigh – like coffee), it’s possible to go overboard with quizzes.

We’ve seen a number of people create a killer quiz – and be blown away by the success. So they make another quiz. And another. And so on.

But they quickly notice that these subsequent quizzes don’t perform nearly as well – and ask us why?
– Variety is key. Quizzes are most effective when used strategically.

You want your quizzes to be ‘special’ – so that your audience looks forward to interacting, and can’t wait until the next one. Don’t worry – this doesn’t mean you’re limited to just one quiz. Instead, mix things up – any good quiz maker will feature a number of content tools, from personality tests, to ranked lists, surveys, polls, and more.

You get the added value of interactive content – while keeping your audience on their toes and looking forward to everything you create.

As an example, check out how Tate Modern uses quizzes to engage their kids and teen audiences around all things art – the style, topic, and format of each test are always different.

Your online quiz – engagement AND lead generation

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you probably know that quizzes are a content marketer’s best friend – you can easily use quizzes to engage visitors and capture their interest.

For example, did you know that each person spends an average of 2 min 47 secs with a quiz? And AdWeek pointed out – quizzes are also the most viral content around.

People love to discover new things about themselves and share them with their friends – all of which means more free traffic to your site. Most importantly, quizzes rock at lead generation – the act of answering questions turns passive participants into active engagers; after answering questions, people are psychologically prepared to opt-in to your lead form (we’ve seen up to 50% completion rates).

Is your quiz a failure (so far)?

True, quiz maker tools aren’t all that complicated – but there’s both an art and a science to writing effective quizzes.

We’ve put together some high-level metrics that will let you know if yours is good to go or needs a bit of refinement.

What’s a good quiz start percentage?

60-70% of people who land on the page with your embedded quiz should click on the first question and start.

Of course, many factors can affect this. For example, where do you have your quiz – prominently at the top or tucked way down the bottom of your page?

But as a good general indicator, if your start rate is too low – it’s a sign that you might need to improve your title and main image to attract visitors’ attention.

What’s a good quiz completion rate?

Once people answer your first quiz question, you should see at least 70% go on to finish it and see their results.

Are you including a lead generation form? If so, you’ll see lower numbers as you’ve included an extra step in your quiz.
Inserting an optional lead form before displaying results still reduces completion rates by 5–10%. Adding a mandatory lead form will drive this percentage down to 30% or lower.

How many people should share you quiz?

About 3–4% of your participants should share their quiz on social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Sharing is intensely personal – people only want to share content that makes them look good to their friends.

You’ll see virality varies a bit by the type you create.

Polls/survey generally get around a 1% share rate, while quizzes and personality tests get 4–5%.

True, that doesn’t sound like all that much. But suppose you have 1,000 people participate. That means 40–50 will share on Facebook – and your quiz will be shown to their hundreds of friends (and friends of friends).

Do you still have questions? Ask us!

There you have it – our best tips on how to create quizzes that don’t suck.

Do you have any further questions? As you can tell – we’re big time quiz geeks. Just drop us a line at hello@riddle.com or contact us via support chat – and we’ll get right back to you!

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