The Truth About Most Online Quizzes

I read an article by JR Raphael in the August issue of PC World Magazine that shocked me. I instantly knew I had to write this article. I’ve always thought online quizzes were fun. You get to find out everything from how smart you are to what occupation you would enjoy most. I have even seen quizzes that report what’s best for you to wear or how good a kisser you are.

What shocks me is the predominant purpose for these quizzes, and it’s not to entertain us. Since the trend right now is engagement, we all have our guard down when it comes to giving out seemingly innocent information about ourselves online. Savvy marketers and advertisers often put together these “candy coated” quizzes for the sole purpose of obtaining intimate information about us as consumers, and they are able to do it without us knowing anything about it. As JR Raphael said in the PC World article, “Those tidbits of information are like nuggets of gold for advertisers seeking to connect with you.”

Have you ever noticed how those quizzes annoyingly ask you question after question before showing you the “results”? They are very aware that it is annoying, but their goal is to ask as many questions as possible that you’ll answer in hopes of getting to the results. Someone on the other side of that quiz has figured out how many questions they can get away with. JR Raphael describes this as “…the challenge is walking that thin line between people wanting it and people wanting it to go away.”

I remember taking a health quiz a few months ago that asked very personal medical questions. I took the quiz because it said at the end I would get a report detailing my overall health. Stupidly, I entered all kinds of personal information and at the end, it said, “Enter your email address and a health report will be emailed to you within 48 hours.” I didn’t want to enter my email address, but at that point, I was so exhausted, I just did anyway. Guess what? I never got that report that they promised. In the most extreme cases, some people will answer pages and pages of questions, only to find out that it costs money to get the results.

According to the JR Raphael, “Deciding to take an online quiz comes down to a question of trust.” Consider this: Most of these quizzes are not even accurate. They are not written by real doctors or anyone with the training or education to evaluate the quiz results (of course I’m sure there are some exceptions to this). The only quiz that I have received an accurate result was the one about being a good kisser. At least they got that one right.