Boris Pfieffer is a quiz and game creator currently working in Germany. He has been bought out by different companies multiple times.
But how does Boris’ work fit into what we talk about here at JeffBullas.com? It’s simple, and we’re going to share how you can use gaming and quiz platforms as a lead generation strategy.
Boris has always been connected to the online industry and started his first company building websites when browsers first came out. However, what got Boris into the first big quiz platform, which was called Tickle.com, was something a bit strange.
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The founders of this website were Harvard graduates who near their graduation took the Myers-Briggs tests on paper. They thought it was crazy that during the .com boom, a university like Harvard was still administering tests like these on paper.
This is when they decided to launch a high-end test-taking company, hiring psychologists and creating very sophisticated tests… that no one was interested in.
As the demand for their product was low, they were looking at closing their doors when they decided to try something different. They created a test called “What dog are you?”
This single massive hit catapulted Tickle to the 28th biggest website in the world. Although nobody knew the name Tickle, you could talk to random people and they knew what dog they were due to a test they had taken online recently.
From there on, Tickle became a massive test platform and eventually, the high-end tests (IQ tests and other personality tests) started becoming more popular as well. But the reason these tests became more popular the second time around was that the creators found a way to make them fun.
Everyone enjoys taking “silly” tests, and these tests/surveys were around long before the internet. You could pick up any old magazine and it would have a test in it.
Boris and the other founders managed to make their website really big in Europe, which was much harder than you’d think. Even though the UK was their first market, followed by Germany, there was no way to translate the test.
They had to hire local psychologists in England to help them rewrite the fun ones because there were important cultural differences even between a shared language. For example, Americans apparently like to stick their tongues on frozen lampposts. The English don’t do that. If you have questions like that in the test, someone in England will always answer differently than an American, which skews the results.
What Happened to Tickle?
After a while, Tickle was sold to Monster.com, the big job board, for over a hundred million dollars. Monster didn’t do such a great job of making Tickle grow. It was a typical case of a management team loving the idea but simply wanting to use it for lead generation. This is a pretty obvious connection. If you have people taking tests, and you know what personality they are, you can direct them to jobs that actually fit them – even surprising jobs that they would never think would fit them!
But then the management team changed, and someone new came in. This new person wasn’t from the online world, and things moved in a different direction very quickly. Tickle became less exciting and the tests weren’t all that important anymore, so they eventually just let it die. It happens often in acquisitions – someone has a bucket full of money, an acquisition is made, but they don’t have the same passion because they’re not the founders.
Boris chose to stay with Tickle through the acquisition for seven years because he found the work really interesting. Due to the rise of social networks, and because they had so much traffic already on Tickle, they knew how to sell ads and monetize traffic. So Boris and his team managed all the up-and-coming social networks, media inventory, all their traffic, and four or five billion ad impressions every month.
Eventually, Monster decided they didn’t want to continue with the project and Boris left.
The Fall of MySpace and Facebook Gaming
Boris and the rest of the previous Tickle founders started 10 different companies, one of which was a very successful online game. Boris moved from a small gaming company into a big gaming company, leading to setting up Cabana in Europe. Eventually, Cabana became one of the top mobile game publishers.
Cabana was sold for around 900 million dollars, and Boris left Cabana when there were over a thousand people.
From Boris’ perspective, it was an interesting journey starting out with MySpace games until they became obsolete, then moving to Facebook games. Once Facebook started charging their 30% tax on all revenue generated from games, Boris tried to make a unique portal that unfortunately didn’t work out.
At this point, one of the founders suggested focusing on mobile gaming.
Their first mobile game was a massive hit, which solidified their choice to transition into a mobile game company.
With their newly formed company, Riddle, they avoided putting all their eggs in one basket. They didn’t want to rely on someone else’s platform, which turned out to be a really good move because just after quizzes on Facebook became a big thing, the Cambridge Analytica scandal struck.
This was a very well-covered scandal and it involved quizzes running on Facebook, which stole people’s data and then sold it to the highest bidder without Facebook’s knowledge.
After that, no one could run quizzes on Facebook anymore. In fact, much of the interactive content on Facebook and similar platforms, like Twitter, ceased to exist. This led to a lot of broken dreams.
Lead Generation, Data Protection, and Consent
The most recent conversations happening between entrepreneurs are all about GDPR and Apple’s recent announcement – they’re not going to give access to Facebook to collect data.
From those of us on the outskirts of what’s going on, it’s obvious that everybody that has built a business around stealing people’s data without their consent is going to be in big trouble from lawmakers, and from Apple.
But as far as consumers go, how much do they really care if they’re willingly installing Tech-Talk or other tracking apps?
Would Tech-Talk be considered a data-stealing app or data collection app? Can you call it stealing if consumers are installing it and willingly know that everything they do is being tracked?
This particular app knows so much about you and it needs to know a lot about you – so that it can optimize the algorithm and make it fun for you. In the end, there’s always a trade-off to having a fun online experience if you want relevant content that appeals to you. As of right now, the paradox is that you have to give up your data so that the app knows what content to procure for you, otherwise the app ceases to “work.” You give away your data in exchange for a more personalized experience. In the process, someone learns more about you than you realize.
Boris realizes that these quizzes are great for lead generation, but consent is 100% necessary. If someone takes a quiz and wants to fill out a form to receive more information/personalized content, they have to tick a box to say it’s okay.
Consent is valuable for both parties because it allows you to get better information afterward. Obviously, if you collect data from customers with consent, it’s much more valuable than nonconsensual, potentially fake data.
In other words, you’re getting data that’s more credible.
To give a super short definition, Riddle is an interactive platform that allows you to generate leads.
They offer a content creation tool, which you can use to create 16 different types of interactive content like quizzes, personality tests, and little games. These all have the ability to add a lead form at the end before the results are shown. You can make the lead form optional or skippable.
It’s used by fairly big companies like BBC, NFL, Red Bull, lots of pro soccer teams, and even smaller bloggers and consultants. For the most part, it’s used to drive engagement.
For example, BBC children obviously wouldn’t generate leads – they couldn’t target children – so their mandate is time on site. They focus on giving the kids something to do, being educational, and using the platform for highly educational games, and supporting homeschooling.
A good example of a company using Riddle to generate leads involves a female magazine’s online site. They were asked by a car company which cars would best fit their market. The traditional way to find out is using a survey company to call your readership and ask questions. This usually leads to a lot of frustration, awkwardness, and hang-ups, giving very little helpful feedback.
Instead, they used Riddle to create a fun test to get good feedback. Although the test isn’t super direct, it does ask questions about cars and colors, which in turn gets the clients in the right headspace unconsciously. The next question asks if you won the lottery, which of these four cars would you buy? That’s the relevant one. Since you’ve built up the trust and relevance, people are less likely to feel targeted. They think about it and give an honest answer because they’re enjoying the test.
You might spend hours writing or working on your content, but your efforts are partially wasted if you can’t get a quick overview of the customer’s sentiment. There’s a way to maximize the efficacy of your work by using quizzes for feedback and lead generation.