Instead of positioning itself as a publisher, Playbuzz positioned itself as a platform, providing users with the technology to build and embed their own polls, lists, and quizzes for free.
In just one year of operation, Playbuzz has built a platform that has a 94 percent item completion rate from its audience, and it challenged and surpassed the social sharing traffic of BuzzFeed and Huffington Post.
What can you learn from this viral content machine? We produced a viral content case study analyzing what contributed to the success of Playbuzz.
1. Leverage the Confirmation Bias
In our study on content sharing and identify building, we found the third most important motivation for sharing on social media was "to share something that is a reflection of who I am," which was most important to 20 percent of users. Through quizzes, polls, trivia, and lists, Playbuzz leverages content that has the potential to create a confirmation bias.
2. Optimize your content for the world's largest social media platform
Playbuzz earned more Facebook shares and comments than any other online publisher in NewsWhip's most recent engagement report.
Since Facebook is the largest social media platform--driving 81.9 percent of PlayBuzz sharing--it's important you optimize your content strategy for this social network. Quizzes can be easily included as menu options in Pages, and this content format displays easily within the Facebook newsfeed.
3. Include knowledge-based verbs in your headlines
Everyone knows the importance of a headline, but most people are just beginning to explore which keywords drive the most traffic. In our study analyzing social platform sharing behaviors, we found that knowledge-based verbs (action words like know, think, prove, and understand) tend to earn more shares than others. We also found that positive adjectives like greatest, happiest, cutest, and hilarious were more frequent than negative adjectives. Playbuzz uses this to their advantage with its "Playful Content," which covers a spectrum of topics ranging from lighthearted to academic.
4. Create content that entertains or educates--or both.
Another takeaway from our study on content sharing and personal identity was that 69 percent of users want to share content that entertains or educates their social circles in order to project the persona of being a good friend. Playbuzz's platform excels here by facilitating users in creating interactive content around any topic they like, thus building a library of content highly likely to be entertaining or interesting for their contacts and extended networks.
Brands can put this insight to use by thinking beyond messages of "Buy! Buy! Buy!" when creating content; think telling, not selling. Look for angles in your products and services that can be explored through entertaining stories, challenging quizzes, or another format that taps into audiences' imaginations and critical thinking.
5. Build in a feeling of anticip -
Audiences love looking forward to what will happen next. Anticipation is one of the most highly reported feelings in viral content, and the interactive nature of Playbuzz's content plays perfectly to that emotion. With each question asked, users build anticipation for learning the answers and their outcome at the end--essentially gamifying the educational nature of the content. Gamification and delaying gratification are great tactics for increasing anticipation in content.
6. You are the most interesting topic.
In their review of the most shared quizzes of 2014, Playbuzz highlighted 10 seemingly disparate but incredibly popular pieces of content on their platform. The topics included geography, pop music, psychology, and the zombie apocalypse, proving that no single subject captures the most attention--with one exception: you.
The words "you" and "your" appear in every single subject line, underscoring audiences' interest in learning and broadcasting information about themselves. Capitalize on this interest by encouraging users to think about how they personally relate to your content.
Want more insights on the PlayBuzz strategy? Download our viral marketing whitepaper here.