MEDL Mobile

The Downfall of HQ Trivia

February 25, 2020

Man throwing money in the air

One of the most viral apps, HQ Trivia, unfortunately, shut down last Friday, February 14. The app developed by the Vine creators, Yusupoc and Colin Kroll reportedly hosted 2.38 million concurrent players and was ranked by Time as the number one app of the year. The founders first launched the iOS app in August 2017 followed by the android app a few months later. Users had the option to play the standard HQ Trivia game or participate in the HQ Trivia spin-offs which offered $1,000 or higher for winners. Their highest prize pot was $400,000 and the most money won from an individual was $50,000.

As the HQ trivia questions app became more popular, there was an increase in complaints and issues. In the beginning, the app prevented those with less than $20 from cashing out causing users to claim the app was scamming them. Some other problems consist of the app often lagging, copycats increasing the competition, and lacking the right monetization strategy to drive user engagement.

Most of HQ Trivia’s revenue came from generating money through advertising rather than in-app sales or a download fee. As they spent large amounts on cash prizes to lure new participants, their cost of acquiring new consumers grew exceedingly. However, they had trouble entertaining and maintaining the users with the inadequacy of user experience.

The key to increasing an app’s revenue is to implement mobile app monetization strategies to grow user engagement. It is helpful to have your monetization needs laid out even before launching your app. First, figure out the right model for your app by analyzing what models work best for what your app does, your competition and your target users. These are the common monetization routes apps typically take:

Pay-to-download apps

Because consumers have to pay before using the app, you have to show them the value before they purchase it.

In-app advertising 

There are multiple ad formats ranging from the classic banner ad, pre-roll video, rewarded video, and interstitial to choose from. Ads can be tailored to your target audience. For example, if you are a hotel booking app, you can place ads specific to travel-related ads.

In-app purchases

You can provide the options for users to get more lives, powerups, new filters, etc. This is also known as the freemium model.


To be effective and bring steady revenue, your app needs to continuously provide value to users.

They tried a few strategies to monetize their app. HQ Trivia included in-app purchases by allowing users to play the live game 5 days in a row. The alternative way to get more lives was to invite friends to play. The app also tried another approach. Partnerships. Brands paid to sponsor questions asked in the app. Their partnerships with Warner Brothers and Nike allowed the users to battle over bigger jackpots.

An app that people used to obsess over; a game which employees religiously played during their lunch breaks; a connection that bonded people from all over the world. It led the way for interactive experiences and showed us how important interaction design and user experience is. This quick hit with host, Scott Rogoswy, brought a lot of joy, cash, and people together. We are sad to see HQ Trivia go.

Trying to figure out a strategy for your app? Contact us today at By working with an agency that has technical expertise and resources, you can ensure up-to-date solutions to maximize your revenue. Invest a little today, to gain more in the future!


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