Push it real good: a closer look at HQ Trivia’s app notification strategy
HQ Trivia has taken the world by storm since launching in October 2017. The trivia app, which streams two 20-minute live shows per day, has topped one million unique viewers and offers prize funds of up to $40k. It’s TV for the mobile generation.
HQ’s regular time slots, lively in-app community chats, referral code, and big fat pot of prize cash have undoubtedly fuelled its insane growth by word of mouth. But I’ve been kind of fascinated by the fact that HQ relies heavily on one other tactic to reach its users every day: push notifications. As the app is only live for two twenty minute slot per day, they’re kind of a big deal:
Swipe right for good times
What I love about these notifications is that they’re short and sweet. They’re consistent. Timely. Scarce (they only send one per game). They don’t go anywhere crazy in terms of tone of voice, and they don’t try any cheap tricks by name-checking celebrities, trends or memes. They are unmistakably HQ. They’re fun. Alluring. They make you feel part of the game. They definitely don’t make you want to turn off notifications in settings. And in a world where we have dozens of notifications flashing up on our screens every day, that counts.
HQ we have a problem
Very occasionally, HQ suffers from technical failures and has to re-start its game. So what happens when something goes wrong? It’s time for quick thinking and — you guessed it — another notification. But instead of a grovelling apology, they simply do it the HQ way:
HQ has also launched bonus games in the UK and Ireland fronted by a new host. Notifications for this game usually start with the British and Irish flags, a clear sign that its the local game, and a smart character-saving tactic:
About as far as HQ goes into immersing itself into the outside world is occasionally referencing the day of the week or time of day:
I’ve definitely noticed that these UK/Ireland notifications are a little wordier and pushier. Maybe there’s a little tone of voice subtlety between how they see the US and UK/Irish audience. Or maybe they’re going a little more aggressively after that user base outside of the US. Here, for example, the grand prize is called out, something you don’t see quite as often on the main game:
We don’t know how the long the HQ wave is going to last, but it’s set a new paradigm for live apps and inspired a number of others. And they’re gonna have to work hard to get space on your home screen.