Live Game Show Apps Have Potential to Provide Unique Advertising Opportunities

In case you haven’t heard, HQ has been the most notable game on the app store in the past few months. HQ is a live game show app where users can play for real money, redeeming their prize by hooking up their PayPal account… if they make it to the 12th question, that is. There are 12 multiple choice questions in total, and players have to make it all the way to the end to win any money. 

However, unlike most apps, HQ is not doing any advertising right now. This is even more surprising given the game’s astounding popularity. It has over 1 million players every night when it goes live. The money being given away currently is all from investors, but the game creators have not yet initiated any revenue sources within the game.



We have a few suggestions on ways that HQ could effectively advertise:

  1. Sponsored questions: Each question is usually something completely random and out of the box. So if the question happens to be about cheese, why not have it be sponsored by Laughing Cow? Having a sponsor for every question would be excessive, but one per game within the first three questions would generate over a million impressions. Not too bad for Laughing Cow.
  2. Videos in between questions: The game is taken like a real game show, with plenty of commentary from the host in between questions. One of these in-between time slots could easily have a video advertisement. Just like with the sponsored questions, it would need to be kept minimal so that the players don’t get annoyed.
  3. Themed games: Potentially, the entire game, or all 12 questions could fall under a certain category. Say, the category is sports, and it would be sponsored by ESPN. This would be a simple way for a company to get lots of exposure time.


HQ is more than just an app, it represents a new wave of interactive streaming platforms. We have some ideas for apps that could take the HQ concept a step further as an advertising platform:

  1. Instead of users answering the questions themselves, they could be the “phone a friend” to real people playing the game show. Therefore, it would be more like a traditional TV game show, but much shorter and through mobile. But then, you add in the interactive portion by having users vote when the contestants need assistance.
  2. Instead of a game show app, it could be a live reality show app. Let’s say you put ten people in a house, and the players have influence on what happens in the house. For instance, should they host a murder mystery party, play beer pong, or have a singing contest? In this way, consumers would engage in a new reality experience because they would have a say, in real time, about what the people are doing.
  3. In the same format as HQ, there could be an app where players submit their own questions throughout the day for the round that will go on later that night. By doing this, the questions would stay relevant to what people actually care about, and they feel like they have more of a say in the game.