Riddle, the startup turning quizzes into “powerful lead generation tools”

By Sam Brake Guia May 17, 2019

The phrase “a penny for your thoughts” comes from a time when the British penny was worth a significant amount, and the implication is that you’re willing to pay money to know what someone is thinking. While a penny might now be worth less than the material it is made with, our thoughts and our opinions are just as valuable as ever.

Online quizzes have become a major tool for businesses to connect with their users. According to Power Digital Marketing, quizzes can drive as much as 3x more clicks from cold traffic than a blog post.

Startups are now using the power of quizzes, either to reach potential customers or to help businesses navigate this new digital terrain. Riddle, is a startup that describes itself as “the web’s best quiz maker,” with clients such as the BBC, Reuters, and the Chicago Bulls. Its service lets marketers create 14 types of quizzes to collect email addresses and automatically send out personalized offers based on each user’s quiz results.

To get a better understanding of the company and this industry as a whole, we spoke with Boris Pfeiffer, CEO and founder of Riddle.

1) Why was Riddle created and what is its mission?

You could say that the idea for Riddle was born way back in 2004, when Mike and I worked at Tickle.com – a pioneering quiz site that was the 26th largest website in the U.S. Tickle achieved this growth by being completely editorially-driven – their team of writers created a huge selection of quizzes and personality tests.

Being on the ground floor of Tickle’s meteoric rise meant we learned so much about the hows and whys quizzes work, especially delivering engagement and leads for our brand partners.

Tickle was just the start of our journey; it was sold to Monster.com for over $100 million – to help Monster use quizzes to power their users’ career searches. We both continued to work at Monster, running the Tickle’s operations in Europe as well as the Monster ad sales team.

Fast forward to 2014, and we saw that Buzzfeed was growing very large – around very similar quizzes and other content we used to create with Tickle.

Mike and I got together again with some of our old team from Tickle – to put all our expertise into designing easy to create quiz tools, so that every website could become their own Buzzfeed.

Rather than creating another consumer destination site and go head to head with the likes of Playbuzz or Buzzfeed, we went in a different direction. Our team designed an intuitive set of white labeled and highly customizable quiz tools – allowing both bloggers and publishers to create and embed quizzes in any website.

From past experience, we knew that quizzes work really well to engage users, get new traffic through social sharing, increase time on site, and (most of all) are powerful lead generation tools.

Our mission (and passion) is to continue to offer the best possible tools to create and embed quiz content on any site – so anyone from big brands to small bloggers benefit can engage their audience, qualify potential customers, and grow their business.

2) What was the primary motivator to solve this problem, for example, did it arise from personal experience or something you recognized others having issues with?

Besides the above, working with top brands with Tickle on quiz-related campaigns, we learned firsthand just how well quizzes perform when it comes to generating leads, engagement, and social shares. Quizzes offer opt-in rates of up to 40% (20X the average lead generation placement), dwell times of up to three minutes a quiz, and are some of the most viral content around.

Looking at the market, we couldn’t find any tools available that deliver these capabilities for our own needs. We’re big quiz geeks, so we built Riddle.com – so anyone can build their own high-performing, highly customizable quizzes for any business, from small blogger to larger publisher.

3) Sometimes entrepreneurs like to use analogies when describing an idea that is novel or innovative, is there an analogy you use or one that comes to mind when describing Riddle?

Enable the power of Buzzfeed for every website

4) Are there competitors operating in this space and how do you differentiate yourself from them?

There are quite a few out there by now – quizzes are becoming increasingly recognized as powerful lead generation and audience engagement tools.

Many companies who started around the same time we did are moving more into storytelling (like apester.com, playbuzz.com). We’ve seen others like qzzr.com move into the super high-priced enterprise space – with prices of $10K per month for their tools.

Apart from the amount of different interactive formats, another key difference is that we believe in not limiting the number of leads you can collect or the number of quizzes you can build in any of our plans.

We have very detailed comparisons between Riddle and the main competition here.

5) Where do you see Riddle in 3 years?

We will continue to improve our tools to offer a complete set of best of breed tools for surveys, polls, quizzes and personality tests. Our vision is to be a one-stop provider for your entire quiz marketing needs, including automated email sequences based on quiz answers and tools to build segmented audiences. We will continue to add big brand names to our portfolio and become the gold standard for quizzes, polls, surveys and more.

6) What is the most bizarre/ interesting quiz a client has created?

I wish I could answer this, but as we take privacy and GDPR very seriously, we don’t monitor our customers’ quiz content so we have zero access to what our customers are creating.

7) In the recent Cambridge Analytical scandal, it was discovered that data was harvested using a Facebook quiz. Since this scandal have you seen a decline in quiz participation among users and how does Riddle assure users that their data is safe?

We have not seen a decline in quiz participation. As a fully EU-based company, Riddle is GDPR compliant – we will never access our quiz creators’ or quiz takers’ data. We are not in the business of data aggregation or selling data. Unlike some other quiz makers, we never track any end user taking a quiz or place any kind of re-marketing pixel in a quiz.

Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company