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Using Quizzes to Leverage the Motivating-Uncertainty Effect

“People will always want what is behind door number three.” Companies can use this to make the customer journey more exciting and appealing.

The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect

The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect is a psychological term for the thrill of the unknown. When people have a choice between the known and the unknown they are more likely to pick the unknown, as an experiment by Cognitive Lode showed:

Students were offered a choice between two bags of chocolates. One bag had four chocolates in it; the other bag would have an unknown amount between two and four. Even though students understood they may receive fewer chocolates in the mystery bag and definitely wouldn’t get any more, they were still 125% more likely to choose the bag with the unknown number of chocolates.


So, how can you leverage the Motivating-Uncertainty Effect in E-Commerce? With a good old Quiz!

Quizzes are incredibly high drivers of traffic. Surely, you have come across the quizzes “Which City Should You Actually Live In?”, “Which Disney Princess Are You?” or “How Nerdy Are You?”, three of the most viral quizzes of all time (no wonder BuzzFeed keeps creating quizzes).

But the value of quizzes can extend past these and once incorporated into your content strategy, you can be sure to increase engagement, enhance customer relationships, and boost conversion.

Quizzes Simply Work

  1. They get more social shares and referrals
  2. They generate higher user engagement
  3. They help you increase your search engine ranking (Google considers how you are able to engage visitors and monitors social mentions)
  4. They attract new visitors
  5. They offer a fun way to educate users about your products and guide your audience toward your solution
  6. They build trust
  7. They raise awareness for your brand
  8. They let you position your company as expert in a subject matter
  9. They keep your potential buyers engaged and open to receiving additional information
  10. They let you help confused shoppers find the right product for them and increase their purchase decision confidence


Here are some examples of businesses that use quizzes to generate more visitors and increase conversion:

Zenni Optical

Zenni Optical is an online retailer of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses. Their “You’ve Been Framed Quiz” was developed to drive more traffic and in just 6 month their quiz managed to generate over $1 million dollars in revenue with an ROI of 9.7%.

Quiz Zennioptical


Lime Ricki Swimwear

Lime Ricki created a quiz to help shoppers decide what swim suit would be best for their body, style preferences, personality and fit concerns. Shoppers could use the quiz to narrow their choices down to the perfect suit for them.

Bikini advisor


Birchbox is a New York City-based online monthly subscription service that sends its subscribers a box of four to five carefully selected samples of makeup, or other beauty related products. These products include skincare items, perfumes, organic based products and various other high-end cosmetics. Birchbox started out with 500 subscribers in 2010 and is a rapidly growing company with over a million subscribers today. They use quizzes as a sales strategy to drive traffic, generate leads, and help their shoppers discover suitable beauty products.

Make-up Brand Quiz

Quiz Birchbox - cosmetics


Face Mask Quiz

Quiz Birchbox - facemask



Bonobos is an online men’s clothing store. They have created a fun “Bonobos Chino Fit Quiz” to help shoppers find the perfect fitting chinos “in less than one minute” and to drive traffic to their website.

Quiz Bonobo


Quizzes, like no other marketing tactic, are able to increase traffic and drive conversion rates significantly. Why not add excitement and increase the chance of engagement by integrating playful content? Customers are over 80% more driven by emotion than logic when it comes to buying decisions. Giving them that rush of exhilaration with a quiz that has a mysterious variable will increase that chance of participation.

This way you can make discovering your products a fun and rewarding prospect for your company and your market.


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Wendyann Lewis has over twenty years of sales and marketing experience. She has degrees in e-business management and business technology and has worked for eight years in digital media. Wendyann is an avid tech geek with an interest in technologies to help business and consumers.