We’ve Cracked the Code of the Most Popular Quizzes – Here’s What We Discovered

Hanne   77

Updated on December 22, 2019

What makes a quiz go viral?

Do they all have some magical formula we need to know about?

We decided to check it out and analyzed 145 quizzes with more than 100K social shares.

Here’s what we discovered...


1. Use these Magic Words to Provoke Action

“T’es pas cap!”

That’s one of the most useful phrases to learn in French.

It translates to: “You’re not able to…”

Say this to a guy and you’ll get him to do just about anything!

You’re not able to:

  • Climb up that pole and take down the flag.
  • Run around the football field naked during cheerleader practice.
  • Do 100 push-ups while singing a Frank Sinatra song.
  • ...​

Don’t ask me why this statement is mostly followed by a really stupid challenge…

My point is, nobody likes to admit they are not capable of doing something and you can use this brain hack in your quiz.

36% of quizzes used this trick to get you to take the quiz and prove them wrong.​

Key Takeaway

Instead of simply using the quiz subject as the title that gets shared on social media, add the following trigger words to provoke action.

“Only a true XYZ can ______”

Example: Only a true Pokémaster can score 15/20 on this Pokémon quiz (134K Shares)

Your Brain’s Reaction: I’m a Pokémaster, so of course I’m capable of doing better than that!

“Every XYZ should know ______”

Example: Can you answer 14 questions Every Southerner Should know? (288K Shares)

Your Brain’s Reaction: I’m a Southerner, I’m sure I’m able to answer those questions. Alternatively: I’m not a Southerner but I’ll prove you I can answer those questions anyway!

“Only a [very low %] can ______, how about you?”

Example: Only 3% Of Americans Can Pass This American History Test (331K Shares)

Your Brain’s Reaction: I’ll prove you I’m better than 97% of Americans.

“If you can_____, you’re XYZ”

Example: If You Can Solve These Brain Puzzles Your IQ Is In The Top 1% (188K Shares)

Your Brain’s Reaction: Of course I’m capable of solving those puzzles!

“I got XYZ, can you beat me?”

Example: I got Spelling Champ! Can you correctly spell the top 20 misspelled words? (156K Shares)

Your Brain’s Reaction: If you’re capable of getting that result, so am I!

2. You’re Kidding Me... Me too!

You know that magical moment when you’re at a networking event, you’re randomly talking to strangers and still in chit-chat mode you ask.

“Where’re you from?”


“What? Really? Me too! What town?”


“You must be kidding me… me too!”

All the sudden, you’re best friends. Connected by geography.

You’re now both part of an ingroup, a group to which you psychologically identify as being a member.

This group can be based on race, culture, gender, age or religion. Ingroups can also be formed based on more trivial things such as your favorite football team, your favorite food or even the color of your t-shirt.

When someone identifies with a group, they are passionate about it and share it with the world (“Go Lakers”).

Making use of an ingroup in your quiz title has two huge advantages:

  • Higher organic social shares: the first one to take the quiz wants to share it and his social circle is made up of at least a few people in that same ingroup who would love to do the same.
  • More efficient Facebook ads: Facebook ads are perfect for targeting precise ingroups. You can choose demographics, geographical data or interests. If someone is passionate about the Lakers, they most certainly like their Facebook page and you’ll be able to target only those people through your ads which will dramatically increase the chances of your quiz being answered and shared again.

30% of the top quizzes are calling out a specific ingroup.

Key Takeaway

If your content is for everybody, it’s for nobody. - Joe Pullizi

Be as specific as possible. Know the ingroup that would be most willing to take the quiz and call them out in your title and social media messages.

  • Quiz: Only 1 In 50 Catholics Can Ace This Religious Test. Can You? (1M 729K Shares)
  • Quiz: Can You Answer 16 Questions Every Dirty Dancing Fan Should Know? (700K Shares)
  • This Food Test Will Determine If You're Actually From Pennsylvania (257K Shares)
  • Quiz: Only An Italian American Will Pass This Word Association Test (222K Shares)
  • Only A True "Friends" Fan Can Get More Than 15/20 In This Quiz (187K Shares)

While these big “quiz” websites like Buzzfeed and Playbuzz go after the biggest ingroups to maximize shares, you probably shouldn’t go as large for your quiz.

As a smart marketer, I’m sure you understand this ingroup should be in line with your website’s target audience, right?

While “Catholics” or “Friends Fans” might be a passionate ingroup, if you’re not offering anything specific to them you might end up with a popular quiz that doesn’t bring in any results. No leads - No Sales

To apply this on your own quiz, start with your target audience and try to go one layer deeper.


  • Women ⇒ Moms
  • Dog owners ⇒ Bulldog owners
  • Crochet fans ⇒ Amigurumi fans
  • Everybody who likes traveling ⇒ Travel bloggers
  • Instagrammers ⇒ Instagram Fashion Gurus...

3. Self Talk, Sex and Cocaine

We spend 60% of our communications talking about our own experiences and lives. On social media this number rises to an impressive 80%.

You might think this is out of selfishness or lack of empathy but actually it’s because our brain is wired to find this pleasurable.

Talking about oneself triggers the same brain-response as sex, cocaine or good food.

The funny thing is our brain reacts positively even if nobody is listening...

That’s why quizzes that reveal something about ourselves are by far the most shared quizzes on the web.

24.8% of top quizzes help us discover something about ourselves, but add the ingroup quizzes (which also reveal something about our personality) and you’ll get an impressive 55%.

Key Takeaway

Make sure to make the quiz and the share badge about them!

“Which XYZ are you?” ⇒ Which "Stranger Things" Character Are You Actually (279K Shares)

“What does XYZ say about you?” ⇒ What Does The Way You See Color Say About You? (989K Shares)

“What type of XYZ are you?” ⇒ I got ‘Incredible Wife’. What type of wife are you really? (237K Shares)

Going Viral VS. Getting Results

What’s the number one goal of your quiz?

For the big quiz websites like Buzzfeed and Playbuzz, getting traffic is their one and only goal. It doesn’t really matter if that traffic is qualified. They just needs tons of traffic to get tons of pageviews and clicks to up their advertising revenue.

My guess is, your goal is different!

You’re looking for a more specific audience that would buy your product or service. You want to build your mailing list and create a relationship with your audience. You’re not just after quantity. You need quality.

Does that mean you should ignore the above?

No! Most definitely not!

These websites have hundreds of thousands of quizzes but they do not all go viral… Some of them get little or no traction.

So analyzing what did make those quizzes go viral will without a doubt help your quiz get more traction!

Looking for the best tool to create a quiz on your website? Check out Thrive Quiz Builder.​

What do you think? Can you think of a quiz idea based on the suggestions above? Let me know in the comments below.

Free E-course: How to Use Quizzes to Boost Conversions

We now have a full Thrive University course to teach you the ins and outs on how to use quizzes to build your email list, get more social shares and boost sales.

Check it out... it's free!

by Hanne  February 22, 2017


Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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Leave a Comment

  • As always Hanne – amazing amount of valuable insight presented in a way that is pleasing to eye and mind. Thank you!

  • Wow this post is packed full of high quality content. Very useful. I’ll be referring back to this post as I make my quizes. Thanks for taking the time to do the research and collecting this valuable data.

  • Great article, Hanne. Thank you. I’m planning to create my first quiz soon. Your article will be very handy for that.

    My plan is to do the quiz, give the results, and then offer a free download that gives more information about the topic (the lead gen component). Do you think I should do that (quiz > results > free download), or will it be better to ask for the email before showing results?

    • Hi John,

      My personal opinion about this is that I prefer getting a little nugget (the result) and then have the possibility to opt-in.
      While this might give you a little less subscribers compared to the opt-in gate, the people who do subscribe do it because they are really interested in what you have to offer, not just to see the result 🙂

  • Hi Hanne,

    Some beautiful insights! Thanks for that. Now more from a practical level: if you have a highly engaging Quiz Title based on your guidelines, how will that help exactly in more social sharing. What I mean is:
    [A] Just the engaging title on the splash page or
    [B] should this title also be on the results page or
    [C] on the social share badge or
    [D] all of the above.

    It would be great if you could update this post with an image of answer A, B, C or D showing us how this would look like, so that we can learn and emulate this for our own website quizzes!

    By the way: I bet that you are not able to answer this question 😉

    • Hi Harry,

      Let’s see if I’m up for the challenge 😉

      Here’s how I would go about this:

      Use the title on the Splash page and in the social share message for the results page so that when people share the badge (that will lead to the splash page when someone clicks on it) the engaging title is right there.
      I would reinforce it even more if possible by sharing the exact result of the quiz taker and asking his friends if they can beat his score (if this is applicable for your quiz).
      I’m working on a Thrive University course all about the topic, so I’ll make sure to add it in there 🙂

  • Great article on how to leverage the in-built power of quizzes.

    Only 1% of small business consultants who read this will ever use the information…are you one of them? 🙂


    • By the way, here is a question which you hopefully will answer in the course: I read in the blogposts on ThriveThemes that you had great succes with sharing the quizzes on Facebook. Hopefully you can showcase this, so that we can learn how the quiz is best made shareable on Facebook. Thanks in advance!

  • Great article Hanne

    I plan on using the quiz builder as a survey in my email sequence

    BTW,I really live in Bruges-Belgium as in your example


  • Hanne, Are you guys going to have some training or case studies of how to use the Quiz Builder?

    I’d love to have you do a case study from start to finish. Kinda like your website reviews showing what they should do.


    • Hi Tommy,

      I’m working on a Thrive University course all about quizzes.
      I’m guessing you’ll find everything you’re looking for in that one!

      We’re also working on writing up some case studies we’ve been doing with quizzes so keep an eye on the blog for those!

  • Unfortunately, I don’t live in Bruges-Belgium, but there is a good amount of sterling information there. It should stimulate me into taking advantage of it and sorting out a quiz of my own.
    Thanks very much Hanne!

  • Nice, Hanne!!

    You emphasized the psychology and some simple but really high-leverage aspects of the quizzes. I am a Thrive Member and I installed the Quiz builder, so this makes me curious to get in and start applying the results of your study with the software itself!!!


  • Great information Hanne! Thanks for putting this together. A lot of these particular ideas were swimming around in my head, but I couldn’t find a way to articulate them. 😉

    • Hi Maryellen,

      Yeah some of these things became really obvious when I started sifting through all those quiz titles 🙂 Glad this helps you!

  • Thanks Hanne. I can’t wait to test this for us and our clients. I want to create a quiz for a Stand-Up Desk. I was thinking of using:

    Office Workers: 6 short fired questions that will determine your actual office age…..

    Only 3% of Australians pass this test – do you?

    Anyone’s thoughts?

    • Yeah the “determine your age” angle is really popular right now 🙂

      Like this one: Build A Salad And We’ll Guess Your Age And Dream Job

      I would choose between the “test” angle or the “age” angle.

      So maybe: “We’ll Guess Your Age Based On Your Office Habits”

      Or “Only 3% of Australians Can Pass This Healthy Office Habits test – Can You?”

  • This is awesome! Loved it. I found myself laughing because I’ve taken a lot of these quizzes. They sucked me right in. Now it’s my turn to unleash a quiz on my audience. Where do you come up with each question? At the end of the quiz do you offer a freebie in exchange for an email? How does that work?

    • Hi Michelle,
      What you offer on the results page will depend on the goal of your quiz. If you’re looking to generate leads, yes I would suggest having an opt-in offer that is targeted depending on the results of the quiz.

      The questions you’re asking will vary depending on the type of quiz and the results you’re after.

      Keep an eye open for our Thrive University Course, I go into detail in all of this 🙂

  • Really outstanding information. Very practical. As always, you guys aced it and provided us with some truly valuable marketing information.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Great article Hanne, just wondering if it is best to create a single page with only the quiz published on it when posting as an advert to facebook? Or can the Quiz Builder work as a standalone and be shared directly to facebook? I now understand how to optimize the quiz but just a bit confused on the process of sharing the quiz for maximal results. Thanks

    • Hi,

      Thrive Quiz Builder does not embed quizzes on Facebook (because you’re trying to get people back to your website).
      To promote the quiz on Facebook, I would add the quiz to a new page on my website (probably a landing page, so that there are no other distractions on the page) and then drive traffic to that specific page.

      At the end, when people share their results, the splash page is also automatically what will be shared so that the traffic goes immediately to the start of the quiz.

  • Ha! That’s fabulous, thanks, Hanne!

    (As a Thrive Member I’ve yet to install the quiz builder, but perhaps I’ll end up being one of the 3% who actually use it!)

    How would you recommend integrating this with email collection & list-building? Does the plugin integrate with Thrive Leads for example? (Or just point me to the training I missed in your excellent Thrive University)

    • Hi Robert,

      I Installed the plugin already and made 5 quizzes… Can you beat my score? 😉

      The plugin has a list building component that’s integrated already. This will allow you to see your opt-in stats from your quiz directly in the quiz dashboard.
      The API connection is the same as for all Thrive Themes Plugins, so if you have Thrive Leads installed and you’ve connected your email provider with API you’ll just be able to choose it from the drop down menu.

  • Hi Hanne,
    The answers that people are giving for my quiz “which cruise and cruise line would be right for you” are really interesting and give lots of input to write new blog posts and also to advertise cruise offers to clients/readers etc. Do you think it is appropriate to share results like “38% of 500 respondents think that a cruise should be all an all inclusive vacation”. Is that an ok thing to do with results, to use them in that way?

  • Fantastically helpful insights, Hanne, and perfectly timed, as I’m just in the act of creating quizzes for two of my clients. Thanks! And best wishes from Scotland, by the way. 🙂

  • Nothing trivial about the favourite football team ingroup … anybody else with the stoicism needed to follow Bristol City FC earns my respect!

  • Great insights Hanne. Just realised through your post the importance of badges ! I am from Belgium … is it correct to say we are both part of an ingroup. 😉

  • Hi Hanne,

    I think you are amazing in your way of explaining and giving tips on how to get things done.
    It really helps!
    I have this idea for a quiz:
    “Only 3% of all Dutch Moms has all of these lifestyle entrepreneur traits!
    Do you?”

    Or this:
    “Only 3% of all Dutch Moms succeeds for this Lifestyle Entrepeneur Test” Do you?

    Any thoughts?

    • Hi Esther,

      I think both titles are good, I have a slight preference for the first one because of the word “traits” which makes it very much about the quiz taker.

  • Awesome stuff Hanne!

    I sell life insurance so I thought I couldn’t participate in anything fun like this, but you gave me some good ideas. How about:

    • Quiz: Are You Healthy Enough to Buy Life Insurance?
    • Test Your Health: Less Than 5% of Americans Pass THIS Life Insurance Test
    • Only 3% of Americans Can Pass this Life Insurance IQ Test
    • Test Your Life Insurance IQ: 9 out of 10 Americans Fail Miserably
    • I got “Insurance Nerd”! Can you correctly answer the top 10 life insurance blunders?

    • Oooo those are pretty cool 😀
      I would definitely test different titles to see what works best! I like the first and the last one most.

  • Hanne, I like the quiz builder but it seriously lacks one feature – building calculators which are equally or sometimes more useful on sites like nutrition site. Any plans to include this feature? This will attract more buyers. Thanks.

    • Hi Roger,

      No we have no plan to add a calculator to Thrive Quiz Builder. But could you please show me an example of what you’re looking for?

  • Hi Hanne, for nutrition website, looking for BMI calculator and Calorie calculator. I am not using urls to avoid spam filter. You can Google and find many similar calculators. Outgrow.co has that option of calculators in addition to quizzes. Something to look into.

    • Hi Roger, thanks for your answer. We’ll look into it 🙂 But like I said, I don’t think calculators will be a part of Thrive Quiz Builder.

  • Hi Hanne, I left reply above and hope it didn’t end up as a spam comment. Please check and reply. Thanks.

  • OKAY!!! I have been wanting to install Thrive Themes on my site and saw your article on Facebook about the quizzes! I read the article and all the comments and I am sooo impressed. My goal is to download Thrives Themes this week! I have never made a quiz and I am excited to experiment! Hanne – this article was so well written and I am very impressed with your replies to the comments. I have an online quilt store and will come up with some quiz ideas this week! Can’t wait to test it all out! My dream would be viral. Thanks for explaining features that make something viral as that clearly are elements that will make the quiz successful. Thanks again!

    • Hi Deanna,
      I’m glad you found us 🙂
      Please let us know what ideas you came up with! I’m sure there are plenty for your quilt business.
      My mind is already going crazy 😉

  • Any word on when the question type that allows open ended questions to be answered by a typed user answer will be implemented?

  • Thank you for the great information that you have presented Hanne. I’ve just installed Thrives Quiz on WordPress and I am eager to start working on my first quiz. My website site is related to getting around theme parks, specifically Disney World at present, for guests that are older or disabled. I have so many blogging ideas to write about but establishing a quiz has now become center stage for me. Thanks again for the motivation and the push in the right direction!!

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