Paper and pens, 50% off! Backpacks, GOGO! These sales dominate the ad sphere in August. Parents, and even kids, have come to anticipate the back-to-school savings. In addition to school supplies and clothes, companies also push dorm essentials such as bedspreads, memory boards, and functional storage; everything you need to get ready for your own space.
This year retail giant Target created a new way to help young adults find stylish dorm equipment. Their tool is an online social quiz which they named “Made for U College Styler.” The quiz incorporates information from your personal social media accounts as well as responses to the quiz itself. (Allowing the quiz to access your social profiles helps the quiz determine your interests, according to an Ad Age article by Courtney Fishman.)
All of the questions and social searching are meant to find out what you like, what is important to you, and to decipher some of your personal habits. Are you a morning or night person? Messy or tidy? Once completed, the quiz spits out a personality type, my results below, and refers you to products that will fit the needs of that personality category. You can even share the quiz with your roommate to see if you are a good match for one another.
The styler was definitely worth the time, and I even liked their recommendations, but I also realize that I just gave target free information about myself. And every millennial that completes the quiz is doing the same. The quiz is more than just a fashion styler – it is a data trove!
Quizzes have always been around, but with a digital presence they are not only an interactive way to advertise your brand and products, but also a way to collect information on your target market.
The ability to easily share a quiz and its results make them an “endless traffic loop”, as Kate Kaye from Advertising Age puts it. Companies that put out editorial quizzes like BuzzFeed have been in the spotlight over the past year due to such consumer data collection opportunities.
In an NPR discussion between Scott Simon and Kaye, Kaye reported that BuzzFeed isn’t collecting data from their quizzes, they are only tracking quiz completion, but she predicts that will soon change. BuzzFeed “know[s] what they’re going to do. They wouldn’t have those questions written the way they are if they weren’t eventually going to compile that information and use it to inform where their ads should go and who should see their ads.”
In 2014 BuzzFeed released a sponsored Game of Thrones (GoT) quiz that determined how you would die if you were a character in the fantasy TV show. It received over a million hits from GoT fans. Stacey Smith explored this phenomenon in her article “Quizzes are free data mining tools for brands.” In that article she spoke with media professor Aram Sinnreich of Rutgers University. He revealed that the quizzes are not only letting sponsors and content creators know the popularity of the content, but also other psychographic things about us (if they are tracking the metrics). This is turn can be given to marketers or kept for company use.
From a marketing perspective, this means the possibility of better-informed campaign strategy, media placement, etc. Although Sinnreich predicted the quiz fad would end, it has been over a year since the article I mentioned was published and I still regularly see quiz results on my Facebook feed. I think the quiz game is still on and we can only anticipate that quizzes, like the Target Made for U College Styler, will be used to help companies better understand their customers.
For those interested in learning more about quizzes, and possibly trying to create one as a part of your campaign’s tactics. Here are some things to keep in mind.
The key to a successful quiz.
- Be entertaining. No one likes a boring quiz that is irrelevant to pop culture.
- Have visual appeal. There is a reason pictures accompany most of BuzzFeed’s quizzes, and Target’s quiz answer options were spelled out in imagery instead of words. It is graphics that make answering questions more stimulating to the sensoria.
- Appeal to self-discovery. Most of the quizzes I complete have to do with me wanting to find out something about myself or about my beliefs. For example, a quiz I recently completed told me which presidential running candidate best fit my beliefs.
If I create a quiz, will it be worth my while? (Think in terms of what you want as a result of your quiz and overall marketing campaign.)
- Brand Awareness? Digital quizzes that go viral are shared and receive high levels of online traffic.
- Interactive and memorable advertisement? You are getting someone to spend time interacting with your brand, and depending on the length of the quiz, this interaction could be longer than a 30-second TV ad. Due to the nature of quizzes, it also assured to you as the advertiser, that the quiz taker was paying attention to your content. Something newspapers, television, and radio ads can’t always guarantee.
- Consumer data collection? As discussed above, quizzes are/can be a data trove. You can find out a lot about the person taking the quiz if you ask the right questions.
Do you think quizzes are a worthwhile marketing tactic? How often do you click on quizzes shared throughout social media?