Last month, we announced a number of exciting initiatives that we’re working on at the start of this year, including our upcoming MediaWiki upgrade (there will be a staff blog on that this week) and continued work on Interactive Maps. The other big one we mentioned was an expansion of our Trivia Quiz feature, which has been on select communities since 2019 but that we’ve done a lot of experimenting with over the last year to find out how and where people want to take quizzes on Fandom.
Fortunately, we’ve learned a lot and are ready to roll it out across more of the site based on successful experimentation. In this blog, we’re going to walk you through a lot of the specifics behind it, including: how quizzes have become an increasingly important and popular way to consume content online, prior community feedback and user experience research we’ve done around quizzes, the results from our experimentation in 2021, what the Trivia Quiz feature looks like today, and what we’re planning for the future of the feature as we start to expand it this week.
There will be a lot of info in this blog, but don’t worry, we won’t quiz you on it! (I’ll show myself out.) So, let’s dive in.
Quizzes are a growing content type online
It should come as no surprise that quizzes have proven popular online. Some of them are personality-driven. You can’t log onto social media without running into a link from BuzzFeed for their popular personality quizzes. I myself have the BuzzFeed app on my phone solely to take quizzes. In fact, quizzes on BuzzFeed ended up becoming so popular that they decided they no longer needed a paid staff to work on them, as the BuzzFeed community was creating so many quizzes themselves.
Other sites are more on the fact-based side of quizzes. The New York Times, for instance, has trivia quizzes based on real-world news. You can test your knowledge of recent news that came out, and find out stories you may have missed simply through questions with topics you’ve only just heard about. You even see news outlets using their Instagram stories to set up quizzes, because it’s a highly engaging type of content.
The fact that quizzes are so engaging is why more websites are turning to them. Research shows that audiences are more likely to engage with dynamic, interactive content like a quiz than they are with static content (meaning, content that is largely unchanging). We also know that as Google and other search engines prioritize displaying content from websites like Fandom directly in their search results to keep people engaged on their own platform, dynamic content that can’t be scraped by search engines are essential to keeping people coming back directly to your website rather than relying on Google.
By adding Trivia Quizzes on Fandom, we’re providing another tool and opportunity for people to come directly to Fandom and ensuring that fans are engaging with your wiki content rather than finding the answers to their questions directly on Google. Market research about quizzes shows that people end up learning more when content is interactive. That makes them a natural fit for Fandom, which is all about providing facts directly to fans about their favorite franchises. Quizzes are another way to provide them with that information, to keep them engaged on the site, and to keep them coming back to your wiki for more information and more quizzes to test their knowledge.
People want to take quizzes on Fandom
In 2021, our Consumer Insights team conducted a user research survey about content types like quizzes and polls. What they found was that quizzes, particularly trivia quizzes, are of interest to editors and non-editors alike.
Our research found that:
- 51% of wiki editors are very or somewhat interested in quizzes on Fandom
- 54% of registered visitors are very or somewhat interested in quizzes on Fandom
- 60% of unregistered visitors are very or somewhat interested in quizzes on Fandom
Of course, the deeper someone’s relationship with Fandom, the more likely they are to want to create quizzes as well. 52% of wiki editors and admins indicated they would be interested in creating quizzes, another 31% said they are happy to take quizzes without creating them, and only 17% said that quizzes just aren't of interest to them.
We also took a look at interest in quizzes by a wiki’s genre. Astoundingly, 73.% of gaming users said they were interested in taking quizzes and 69.5% said they were interested in creating quizzes. In anime, 44.4% of users said they were interested in taking quizzes and 40% were interested in creating them, with TV, Movies, and Books showing similar results.
Previous direct feedback from wiki editors and admins has also indicated an interest in quizzes. Way back in 2018, before we prioritized the creation of the Unified Community Platform (UCP) in order to finally upgrade our out-of-date instance of MediaWiki, we asked members of the Community Council what new content types they would be interested in seeing on Fandom, and Trivia Quizzes as one of them. That’s why, in 2019, we began work on a Trivia Quiz feature that has remained on select communities ever since. We didn’t expand it at the time, for reasons I’ll get into shortly, but since then numerous communities have asked if they would be able to have that feature turned on as well.
But all the market data and user research in the world can’t compare to finally putting a feature out into the wild and seeing what happens, so let’s dive into how we started experimenting with quizzes in 2021!
Experimentation in 2021 proved quizzes worked
Before I share some of the data from 2021, though, I wanted to turn to what I said about how we didn’t initially expand quizzes to more communities after building the feature in 2019. That feature was built as a type of post in Discussions, which generally receives a small fraction of the views that wiki content gets. That’s always been an issue with Discussions, where there’s links to it on the wiki but it’s mostly tucked away and doesn’t really feel like it’s part of the wiki. So after initially putting Trivia Quizzes onto about 30 communities, it was clear that the same limitations that hold back Discussions discoverability would also exist for Trivia Quizzes. As a result, we decided to pause rolling out the feature further until after UCP was done and we could make a genuine effort to get more people to discover and take quizzes on Fandom.
We decided to pick that back up early last year. We initially experimented by placing quiz entry points in places like the right rail, or in some sort of display units at the top or bottom of the page. Basically, anywhere that was outside of the page content itself. We tested numerous variations of those placements. The result was another flop. Barely anyone engaged with it. The number of people who would take a quiz was a fraction of 1%.
What became very clear to us was that the placement of the quiz needed to change. If it was in the right rail or at the top of the page, or really anywhere that didn’t feel like it was a natural part of the page’s content, users would view it like it was an advertisement. And it’s no surprise to anyone that people tend to tune ads out, so Trivia Quizzes stood no chance of being successful unless they were a native part of the page’s content.
So after ruling out all other places, we decided to focus experiments in the second half of 2021 on placing contextual quiz entry points into article content, meaning the quiz content would always align with the content of the page. For example, a quiz on the Loki page on the Marvel CInematic Universe Wiki should be about Loki the character or the show. If there’s no quiz related directly to the specific topic of the page, it should still be related to the page. For example, it would still make sense to have a starships quiz on the Millennium Falcon page on Wookieepedia.
By pivoting to in-content placements, we knew we’d be able to test not just the theory that quizzes would be more successful if they were relevant to the page, but also the theory that people don’t want to have their experience interrupted by having to go somewhere else on the site to perform an action. That’s part of the reason why it’s hard to get people over to Discussions too, because we’re essentially saying “hey I know you came here to look at this page, but can you go over to this completely different page to do something else?” If we want users to perform a certain action, we have to meet them where they are.
So when we ran these experiments, we learned a few important things:
- It worked! With a goal of 4% of users engaging with a quiz, we saw that mobile usage was just shy of that and desktop usage was 6%. 4% may seem small, but extrapolate that out based on the total number of users. We have 315 million monthly users, so if 4% of them were to take a quiz, that’s over 12 million people taking additional actions and spending more time on your wiki and interacting more with wiki content.
- Users who took a quiz spent on average about 50 seconds on it. That’s 50 seconds that they could’ve spent on another site, rather than on your wikis.
- Quizzes have a 68% completion rate, meaning that’s the percentage of people who took a quiz and got all the way to the end of it. That’s a good sign.
- 50% of people who completed a quiz took another quiz immediately after the first. That’s a very good sign! That means that half the people who took a quiz not only enjoyed the experience, but wanted to keep that experience going and spend more time on Fandom.
- The more design we applied to the quiz placement, the less people used it. That’s because the more designed versions of the placement would end up looking like it wasn’t part of the content, therefore going back to what I said about users tending to ignore advertisements. So it became important as we decided to expand Trivia Quizzes now to make sure it felt like a natural part of the page.
Between market data, our user research, prior community feedback, and 2021 experimentation results, it became very clear that quizzes have a natural place on Fandom and that 2022 was the right time to begin expanding them across the site. Which we’re starting this week! And one piece of trivia (no pun intended) that you might not know is that Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Fandom and Wikipedia (so like, THE wiki person), is also working on a non-Fandom quiz product that we’re going to be able to share with you in the near future. A few wiki editors have already seen a demo from him, and he’s gotten good feedback from the Fandom community.
How quizzes look on Fandom today
Now that we’re starting to expand quizzes, users who visit Fandom can expect to start seeing them appearing on top communities across the site with relevant, page-targeted quizzes, like the Loki example on the right. That’s a mobile mock, but in general the placements are consistent across mobile and desktop so that’s still a good representation of where the quiz will appear on the page. Since users can click into it directly from the page that they’re on, they don’t have to leave the page or otherwise be interrupted in their visit to Fandom by having to go somewhere else.
Beyond this new placement being turned on, if you’ve used the Trivia Quiz feature between 2019 and now, you should be well familiar with the experience. Nothing much has changed about how you can take a quiz, we’ve just finally found an entry point that all of our current data and research suggests will start to drive more engagement to the feature and keep people on your wikis longer. That’s what the expansion now aims to prove.
The biggest difference between how the experience was in 2019 and how it is now is how the quizzes are being created. We are using an internal tool that staff, Wiki Representatives, and Wiki Specialists have access to. There’s a catalog of pre-written questions that the staff and wiki team members creating a quiz can easily pull from, rather than writing them from scratch. Which they can certainly still do as well! This is just a way of making the quizzes more efficiently, while still maintaining the accuracy of the questions and the answers. For now, only quizzes created by Fandom staff or wiki team members will be what’s targeted to visitors, but that will change as we continue to develop the product.
Future updates to Trivia Quizzes
Expansion of Trivia Quizzes is a huge milestone in what’s now been a years-long development process, but what we have now is still just the start of what’s to come. We have a ton of ideas for what we can do with Trivia Quizzes next, including how to make quiz-taking an even bigger part of the overall Fandom experience. But one of the biggest things we want to assure you of today is that having staff and wiki team-only quizzes is temporary, and that we will be working on making sure that if someone wants to create a quiz, it can eventually be targeted to visitors with that in-content placement as long as there’s a mechanism to ensure the quiz is of good quality and that it’s accurate. Once we’re ready to build the contribution mechanism, we’re going to partner with key communities and admins to have them involved in figuring out the best way of going about it.
In our user research from last year, 64% of respondents indicated that a mix of Fandom-created quizzes and community-created quizzes would be the ideal way of having quizzes be created. We agree. We want to be able to turn this over to you, and have it be a user-generated content type sooner rather than later. Sticking with staff and wiki team-created quizzes for now ensured that we could get the feature out to the most amount of people, making sure that our goals are being met, and that people really are using the feature. The last thing we would want to do is create a feature, expect you to have to make the content for us, and at the end of the day learn that it didn’t actually work. This approach, for now, is the best of both worlds to start with.
As we expand who contributes, it will also give us the opportunity to start adding in additional difficulty levels. The current question catalog we have now isn’t really meant to be expert level, but more for general audiences, as our data has shown that the harder a quiz is, the less likely someone is to complete it. So starting with more general audiences gives us the opportunity to start getting people into the quiz ecosystem before upping the difficulty level later, as they seek to really put their knowledge to the test.
We want to hear from you!
Ultimately, this feature is meant to benefit and grow the community. It’s intended to be a new type of content that you’ll be able to create, and even start to attract new types of content creators who might not be as interested in wiki editing but could be interested in building a quiz. It’s intended to be an interactive content type that keeps people engaged on your wiki as the internet changes, particularly as search engines try to keep people on their own platforms. And it’s intended to compliment existing wiki content by quizzing people on the info that wiki pages are already providing.
So, we want to hear from you. As you start to see quizzes expand across the site, share your feedback with us! You can message us at Special:Contact or directly contact your Wiki Representative or a staff member with your thoughts. Of particular interest to us would be to hear your idea on future updates we can make to the feature.
And as a special event, we are going to be holding a Discord AMA all about quizzes this Friday, February 25th at 8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT. The star of the show will be Aaron Smith, a Senior Product Manager here at Fandom. Aaron is the product manager responsible for the Trivia Quiz feature and has been leading the charge on it for almost a year now. He’s been a great person to work with, has been incredibly eager to make sure we get this right, and would love to hear from you—both in terms of what questions you have for him about feedback as well as anything else you want to ask. After all, it is an Ask Me Anything event.
Also joining him will be Elsa from the Community team. Elsa is the Community Manager currently working with Aaron as what we call a “Community Product Partner,” which means she’s the one in the room representing the needs of the community in the feature’s development and any feedback we receive. She’s also coordinating with the Wiki Representatives and Wiki Specialists who are currently building the quizzes. This ensures that there’s always a community voice in meetings and other conversations as we consider how to expand the feature and what to do next with it, so she’ll be paying close attention to the usage data that comes out of the expansion as well as your feedback.
So, as you can see, I wasn’t kidding way back at the beginning of this blog about how it would be a lot of information! I wanted to make sure you had all of the key information that we have about Trivia Quizzes now that you’re going to start seeing it more. That way, I can provide you with as many answers to your questions as possible before you even have to ask them.
But if there’s any questions you still have that weren’t covered by this blog, leave a message in the comments! I’d be more than happy to answer them for you.
I'm a huge fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel.
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