BuzzFeed has moved beyond its signature lists to chart new territory as the ultimate provider of Internet quizzes. The social news and entertainment website has been hosting quizzes since 2008 according to Fast Company, but in the past few months, its quizzes have been garnering millions of views.
A major factor in BuzzFeed’s success has been rooted in its quiz-takers habit of sharing the results on social media sites like Facebook, according to Reuters.
Part of the increasing appeal is also due to how BuzzFeed has been designing the quizzes visually. No longer are BuzzFeed quizzes reminiscent of school exams. Instead, quiz-takers select images, or they click on text so colorfully designed it transcends the written word to land in pictorial territory.
Of course, the topics themselves have to interest Internet users, and BuzzFeed has provided a vast array to ensure that.
The quiz questions themselves prove interesting, ranging from “Pick a Beyonce,” which appeared on the “Which Character From Shakespeare Are You?” quiz, to “What’s your dream home?,” which is featured on “Which Classic Author Is Your Soulmate?”
Most quiz results also include a short paragraph describing what a user’s result means, which can be flattering, spot-on or weirdly inaccurate in the quiz-taker’s opinion.
Jordan Shapiro, a contributor for Forbes, wrote about why personality quizzes go viral, looking at their history. “Essentially, entertainment quizzes are diluted novelty versions of the psychological personality tests that gained popularity in the 1920s,” Shapiro wrote.
He later observes, after noting the incredible popularity of quizzes, “Apparently, we enjoy being categorized.”
Senior Emily Walsh said she is obsessed with taking BuzzFeed quizzes.
“I love BuzzFeed quizzes. It’s become my new Facebook,” Walsh said. “I’m constantly taking them.” Walsh also said she likes that a quiz-taker can’t cheat.
“I think they’re fun. It’s a good stress reliever. And the descriptions at the end are always pretty accurate,” Walsh said.
Not everyone is addicted, however.
“They’re a great time waster for procrastination,” junior Richard Olson said. Olson doesn’t often take the quizzes, because he said the results are often inaccurate for him.
“I wasn’t happy with the results,” Olson said. “I do want to know how they actually make the quizzes though.”
However popular the BuzzFeed quizzes are now, the nature of them may change in the near future. In an interview with Kate Kaye, a reporter from Advertising Age, NPR discussed how an online format in which people select their varying interests, likes and dreams make it ideal for marketing strategists.
As of March 1, Kaye said BuzzFeed is only tracking the final results of its quizzes, but that it will eventually compile more information to decide where its ads should go and which users should see them.
Regardless of the marketing potential, BuzzFeed’s quiz formula seems set to be an enduring fad.