5 Ways HQ Nails Mobile Audience Engagement

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If you haven’t heard of HQ, it’s time to start paying attention. The trivia game show app attracts roughly one million players at the start of their daily mobile live stream — and they do it twice a day.

HQ is a remarkable case study because they’ve created a novel, mobile-first product, with immense organic value. Intermedia Labs Inc., HQ’s parent company, has stated they do not spend on advertising, and they even managed to get a quick television spot during the Super Bowl, for free.

Here are five things that stand out about HQ’s addictive mobile strategy — and what you can do up your own marketing game.

You know what to expect

When sign up for HQ, you know exactly what you’re getting into. It’s the same game, at the same time, every day. Offering consistency helps build user habits because your audience knows exactly when they should expect to engage with your brand. For marketers, this is similar to publishing a new blog post on set days of the week, or sending your weekly newsletter at the same time every Friday.

They take advantage of live streaming on mobile

Live streaming demands real-time engagement. When coupled with consistent timing, it can help build a community of followers that will “tune in” regularly. If you’re looking for another great example of live streaming in practice, check out how Buzzfeed is incorporating it into their strategy here.

They use push alerts wisely

HQ sends their push alerts roughly five minutes before the game starts. When you click on the alert and enter the app, you’re invited to participate in a scrolling chat feed with thousands of other users that have logged on. This is strategy is useful for several reasons:

– It builds anticipation for the event

– It encourages users to participate in the chat

– It organically increases engagement metrics by keeping users in-app for longer periods of time

Now, about that chat feature….

At the start of every game, HQ hosts will deliberately call out individual users. Birthday wishes are granted, wedding anniversaries are celebrated, and “shout-outs” are given when they’re due. The HQ team is moderating to make sure the audience feels like they’re a part of the show every step of the way. As ON24 pointed out in an earlier DMN webcast, addressing your audience can help transform live events or webinars into more engaging experiences.

Incentives keep you motivated

What’s a trivia game without a prize? HQ typically offers a $ 2,500 reward for anyone who can answer all 12 questions correctly (the money is split between winners, and repeat winners are highlighted on a leaderboard). On Sundays at 9 p.m., there’s a $ 25,000 prize. Winning is fairly difficult — a Washington Post analysis shows that most players typically don’t get past the fourth or fifth round.

HQ also raises the stakes with special promotions offering higher cash prizes. This Sunday, for example, HQ ran a $ 25,000 “one winner takes all” event. Data shows engagement is typically higher on days when more money is up for grabs.

For marketers, this is a lesson in strategic promotion. Tracking your data can help identify how to create special offers that resonate with your audience, and when to deliver deals at just the right moment.


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