The Rise of Interactive Quizzes

Interactive quizzes involving muppets, home places and House of Cards characters have suddenly become some of the most popular content formats on the web. We look at the share figures. 

Which Muppet Are You?Speaking at the news:rewired conference in London this morning, BuzzFeed’s Editorial Director Jack Shepherd said that the site now treat the quiz as a legitimate story format. Their recent ‘What State Do You Actually Belong In?‘ quiz has just become their most-shared post ever, a week after it was first published.

Meanwhile, The New York Times’ most popular piece of content in 2013 was also an interactive quiz (which was designed by a then intern), which attempted to parse readers’ US state of origin through a number of entertaining steps (it seems as though identity quizzes have the most resonance on social media).

With this in mind, it looks as though we’re likely to see a lot more interactive quizzes being shared on Facebook and Twitter timelines in the near future. As a recent article on BuzzFeed quizzes from Nieman Journalism Lab noted, “once BuzzFeed find a format that works, expect to see a lot of them.”

But how popular are they?

Last month saw an major increase in the number of quizzes among our monthly list of biggest social stories, and BuzzFeed were way ahead of the pack. To show how big quizzes are becoming for BuzzFeed, here are their most shared stories (on Facebook) for January 2014. It makes the appeal of interactive quizzes pretty conclusive. The top four of these quizzes were among the 10 most-shared pieces of content on the web in January, according to our monthly social publishers data.

Which Career

As noted in the Nieman article, this isn’t strictly journalism. But quizzes have been a staple of certain magazines for years. They provide high user engagement rates, a curiosity factor, and a perfectly shareable piece of content at the end.

And there’s another golden appeal to quizzes. Much like Upworthy’s undated, provocatively headlined videos, these quizzes are perfect evergreen content. It doesn’t matter if you find out what kind of dog you are on the day that quiz goes live, or two months later – it’s still going to have the same appeal to readers.

For instance, ‘Which Muppet Are You‘ racked up 825,000 Facebook interactions between January 14 and 31. As of today, February 20, it’s 1,018,538. And there’s no reason why that figure won’t continue to grow.

Now to wait for ‘What Piece of Shareable Content Are You?’

If you’re interested in using social sharing to find quizzes and other content that are about to trend, check out Spike. It’s a platform we built that tracks content on Facebook and Twitter, in real time. It’s used  by over 50% of the world’s biggest social news sites, and there’s a free trial for new users. 

Liam Corcoran

Liam Corcoran is Head of Communications at NewsWhip. His analysis and opinions on news, publishing and social media are regularly featured by the likes of AdWeek, BBC, Business Insider, Digiday, Huffington Post, Mashable and Wall St Journal. Email Liam via

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