Add Value with Quora’s New Ad Platform
Published: August 8, 2017
Author: Scott Trevellyan
In case you’re not familiar with Quora, it’s the world’s largest question-and-answer platform, where users ask questions and subject-matter experts and others provide thoughtful answers. Think of a forum, but with a nicer user interface and search capabilities. The range of topics is endless, but the platform serves to compartmentalize the interests of its users.
Last year, Quora launched a closed-beta program selling third-party ads for a small group of partners. A little while ago this beta closed, and Quora’s ads platform is now open for business. While Quora took its time to monetize users’ interests through paid ads (7-ish years), the company announced the launch of their self-serve platform, which is now open to the public.
Advertisers can now create text-based ads for both website conversions and app installs, which blend into the question-and-answer flow of Quora’s UI with a general lack of intrusiveness similar to native advertising. Like native, Quora’s text ads are topically aligned with the Q&A thread and similar in appearance.
In this post, we’ll show you how to get started with Quora advertising – and help you answer whether you should invest in the platform in the first place.
The Quora Ads Manager is simple to use and is very comparable in general appearance to Facebook’s Ads Manager. The account structure is also the same as Facebook and similar to Google, Bing, and Yahoo: Account, Campaign, Ad Set, and Ad.
Creating Quora ads
The Ad format is a little different from other channels:
- Your business name (Will appear as “Promoted by [company name]” as in the above example).
- Headline text: up to 65 characters.
- Body Text: up to 105 characters.
- Desired call to action (Quora offers options such as Free Trial, Sign Up, Get the App, and more).
- A display URL next to the call to action.
- The landing page URL.
Building campaigns, ad sets, and ads is very manual at this point. Each has to be created one-by-one, without a way to bulk upload or duplicate ad groups or ads. Though you can import the content and settings from an existing ad to the new ad, it is still a tedious process. (Hopefully it will improve as the channel matures.)
Complete sentences, normal sentence capitalization, and punctuation are also required for headlines and body text, which is a bit of a divergence from the what people might be used to with search ads.
For now, Quora offers only 1 conversion pixel per account. For example, if your account or company has several conversion types (email capture, Install, or subscription), you will have to choose one to track in the user interface. However, you can use third-party tracking companies to track multiple events and conversion types. We currently use Adjust with Quora for app install tracking, and it seems to work well.
After you create an account and decide upon a campaign structure/strategy, you can set up your targeting at the ad set level by Topic, Device Platform, and Location.
- Topics allow you to hone in on the interests of users, whether they are personal or professional in nature. In short, topics are to Quora what keywords are to Google. For example, let’s say you are an attorney specializing in corporate law for start-ups. You might be interested in placing your ads within the business law topic’s feed where there is an abundance of people asking about various legal topics with high intent. You’d also want to find variations of this topic (with potential impression volume) just like you would with keyword research. You can also find new related topics to the right of the feed, as you can see in this example.
- Platforms (desktop vs mobile): According to Quora, people use the channel pretty evenly across desktop and mobile, though this would be something to test with individual accounts and goals. One way to do this would be to split-test the two platforms by campaign.
- Locations (optional) is straight forward. Choose the locations you want to target: country, state, city, or zip code.
A couple of other things to consider:
- Quora recommended to our team to use multiple topics per ad set to increase potential weekly impressions. Keep in mind that you cannot currently view the performance for individual topics within an ad set; a workaround would be to build individual ad sets for large topics. Conversely, combining topics with less volume would save time from building out ads for each single-topic ad set.
- Currently, only the English version of the site is serving ads. Other language versions of the site are in the works.
Is Quora the channel for you?
It probably depends. That might seem like the mushiest answer ever, but like anything, you would have to do some research and carefully consider your goals. A good place to start would be exploring the existing topics and getting a feel for who is interacting in the Q&A feeds. Quora users are by nature information-seeking and interested in the topics where ads will serve. Naturally, the degree to which a topic lends itself to different conversion types will vary. Some topics seem more education-driven, while others are in the problem-solving stage. Our contact advised that early successes have been found in the areas of B2B services, SaaS, cloud computing, travel, food, and others related to the research stage of the buyer’s journey.
Thus far from the Quora campaigns we’ve launched, the platform seems to be a great way to expand into a new channel with relatively low risk and high efficiency as the reward. While we have seen much lower volume than traditional PPC channels, average CPCs are very low, ranging from .30 to .75 cents per click, and our campaigns do seem to be converting and picking up steam. While Quora’s ad platform is missing much of the seemingly unbounded features and sophisticated targeting of Google and Facebook, it does provide an interesting and creative way to add value for your clients or internally at your company.
Quora currently has a global audience of more than 200 million users, with more than half in the United States. That user base has more than doubled since March of last year. As this new channel continues its rapid growth, there’s a good chance that it will begin to add some of the functionality it currently lacks. Hopefully this gives you an overview of this new offering from Quora…reach out with comments if you have questions!