Online quizzes have taken the Internet by storm in recent months. Curious which Grease character you are? Zimbio has a quiz for that. Looking for ways to spend $100? BuzzFeed has a quiz that could help.
As useful and fun as these quizzes might be to the respondents that answer them, there’s another group that’s extremely interested in the answers given by quiz-hungry Web surfers: Marketers.
BuzzFeed and Zimbio say they don’t collect quiz answers for ad purposes, but some other companies do. Increasingly, advertising companies are using quizzes as a tool to collect detailed information about the people that interact with them. That information is then sold to advertisers, advertising agencies, and other advertising technology companies to help them target and tailor online ads.
Take this quiz published by Wikia.com, for example, which is powered by UK-based online ad company VisualDNA. The quiz promises to tell you about your personality based on your answers to around 20 multiple choice questions. Some of those questions include “Do you own a car?”, “Do you have children?”, and “What is your age?”, the answers to which would probably prove valuable to an automotive advertiser, for example.
Other quizzes powered by VisualDNA, such as this one on travel site Explorra.com, ask questions such as “What do you like doing on holiday?”, “What’s your kind of hotel?”, and “What’s your budget?” That information might be of interest to an advertiser selling budget ski holidays.
According to VisualDNA, the company has now built profiles on more than 300 million users using its psychometric quizzes.
Behavioral tracking isn’t new in the world of online advertising, of course. Almost all online ad companies now track user behavior across the Web to help them target their ads more successfully. But the difference with VisualDNA’s approach is it enables specific data volunteered by users themselves, as opposed to making assumptions based on users’ behaviors.
“We collect information about demographics, intent, interests, and personality. These can predict what people might be interested in buying or hearing about,” said Jacob Wright, head of strategy at VisualDNA.
That information is then tied to cookies that are dropped on users’ Web browsers, which are in turn used to identify where users travel across the web. The cookie data is licensed to advertisers, agencies, and advertising technology companies looking to target those users based on the information they volunteered.
According to Mr. Wright, the quizzes VisualDNA produces and powers aren’t simply lists of purchase intent questions; they’re primarily designed to provide value to users.
“With our quizzes we provide tools that help people understand themselves. In general people find it positive and valuable which is why the quizzes often go viral online,” he said
Going beyond marketing, VisualDNA said it’s even using data from quizzes to help predict how likely consumers are to repay credit lines. “We’ve created tests that can accurately predict loan repayments. Some people might not have credit histories, but they do have personalities,” Mr. Wright explained.
But not all online quizzes collect data in the manor VisualDNA’s do. BuzzFeed, for example, says none of the answers to its popular quizzes and questionnaires are collected and tied to cookies for ad targeting purposes.
“BuzzFeed does not drop cookies about whether a user got London vs Paris in a quiz result, or whether they said they prefer espresso over latte in a quiz answer. Third-party trackers are also not tied into what people answer in a quiz,” a BuzzFeed spokesperson said.
BuzzFeed said it collects some data in aggregate form to help it understand what percentage of users finish quizzes and understand how that relates to social sharing. It does not “look at or care about the individual’s responses to quizzes,” the spokesperson added.
Likewise, popular quiz site Zimbio says it doesn’t collect data about users’ quiz answers either.
“We don’t use any of the specific results or answers to target ads or to do anything else commercial,” said Tony Mamone, CEO of Zimbio’s parent company, Livingly Media.
Zimbio does gather and keep some aggregate data, however, in order to help inform the creation of its quizzes. For example, if users consistently get a question wrong, it might be swapped out for an easier one instead.”
“For us this is this data is purely editorial. It’s not an ad play or a targeting data play,” Mr Mamone concluded.
By Jack Marshal - read the original article at CMO Today here
Whether you plan on creating your own product or promoting one as an affiliate, you have to have a deep understanding of the audience you are trying to sell to. If you don’t have an understanding, your promotions will be a lot less effective than they would be otherwise. Surveying your audience is one of the best ways to improve your marketing efforts, make more money, and help people at the same time!
There are a variety of different ways you can survey your audience. Most logically, you can set up an actual survey! SurveyMonkey.com is very commonly used. You set up your own survey to ask your audience questions about what they are going through, and what would help them. Ask them what they are passionate about and why.
You want to get as deeply into their minds as possible — you want to find out where their pain is so you can market to emotions and offer them the solutions they are desperate for. This works best if you already have a steady stream of traffic coming into your website. Alternatively, you can set up a Pay Per Click campaign that entices people to take your survey after they click through to your site.
Of course, you have to consider that people are very busy these days. You can thank people for their time in a variety of ways. For example, giving them a free gift upon completion.
After you have a large enough pool of people you have surveyed, you can examine the date and make changes to your marketing from there. This works well for creating a product because you’ll be able to match the product with everything your survey revealed and more!
You can also do less formal surveys through market research. For instance, you can browse through niche forums where people in your niche regularly hang out. Take notes on what drives them. Examine what language they use to talk to one another and as they talk about their hobby, passion, or problem. Go deeply into their minds by examining topics that frequently come up (you can usually sort forums by threads that are most read or most replied to).
While this is not a “survey” per se, it’s still a good option for getting to the heart of the people in your niche if you don’t have the desire or time to set up a formal survey right now. Researching on forums is an awesome way to improve your affiliate sales or sales of your own product because it can give you a wealth of ideas and insight into the people of your niche in a way that you would not be able to get otherwise.
It’s very important that you start to survey your audience as soon as possible, because it can give you some insights you would never have gotten otherwise.
image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36894712@N04/3540043003/