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Research: Quizzes added to media content engage digital audiences

By Katalina Deaven

Center for Media Engagement

Austin, Texas, USA


Finding ways to both educate and engage news audiences on a Web site can be a challenge — but adding quizzes can provide a fun, interactive learning experience for users while also benefitting the news organisation.

Center for Media Engagement research found that adding quizzes to news sites, which newsrooms can do using the centre’s free tool, can help users learn, make the site more enjoyable, and increase the time people spend on the site. A second study found quizzes can also increase interest in political news and make people feel more politically knowledgeable.

Quizzes increase interest in political news and make people feel more politically knowledgeable.
Quizzes increase interest in political news and make people feel more politically knowledgeable.

The research

The Center for Media Engagement examined how multiple-choice quizzes and slider quizzes affect how people learn and how they feel about different types of quizzes. Compared to presenting factual information without an interactive feature, online slider, and multiple-choice quizzes:

  • Increased the time people spent on the site.
  • Were seen as more enjoyable.
  • Helped people recall information.

Although both slider quizzes and multiple-choice quizzes had benefits, people were better able to recall and recognise information when using a slider quiz. With multiple-choice quizzes, people recognised information better than they recalled it.

A second study tested whether online quizzes about politics could spark interest in news and politics and increase people’s intentions to engage politically. Participants were shown either nonpartisan political knowledge questions, such as “What are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution called?” or questions about celebrities, such as “What is the name of Prince Harry and Kate Middleton’s second child?”

After taking the quiz, participants answered questions about their interest in politics and political news, how politically knowledgeable they felt, and their intention to participate politically both online and offline. The results showed that people who took a political quiz felt more politically knowledgeable and showed more interest in political news.

Tips for effective quizzes

The research shows that news organisations can use quizzes to meet both business and journalistic goals. They allow newsrooms to test audience knowledge and can help identify topics of interest, potential stories, and information that should be shared more broadly.

Not all quizzes are created equal, however.

While entertainment and sports-based questions might be enjoyable, they fail to inform people about important topics that may impact their lives. Taking these recommended steps can help newsrooms and audiences get the most out of quizzes:

  • Add more than one question using different quiz formats to increase engagement.
  • Present content that uses reliable public opinion estimates and factual, reputable data.
  • Be on the lookout for statistical and numerical data that can be used to create quizzes.

Free quiz tool

If you’re looking for a tool that makes quiz-building easy, the Center for Media Engagement’s quiz creator is free and offers a step-by-step guide for making interactive, embeddable quizzes. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create: Name your quiz, add questions, and personalise your answer responses.
  2. Customise: Choose your colours, display options, and messages.
  3. Publish: Add to your site using the provided code.
  4. Analyse: Apply A/B tests to identify which quizzes are most effective.

The quiz creator has just been relaunched with new features, so it’s a great time to try it out if you’re looking for a free resource.

About Katalina Deaven

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