Quora Gets Into the Ad Business
In April 2016, Quora announced they’d begin testing advertising. The announcement post includes a simple ask for advertisers,
“If you are interested in advertising on Quora you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org”
It’s been a subtle rollout of the program. As of this writing in Jan 2017, there still isn’t a public landing page for the Ads beta. The announcement post and the Advertiser FAQ page are the only resources publicly available that reference the program and appear in top search results.
In November of 2016, we got curious about what it would take to launch a campaign on Quora and set up a small scale test.
Getting Approved as an Advertiser
Following the directions on the announcement post, I sent an email to email@example.com,
The autogenerated response from the Quora Ads Team,
The form you are led to takes about 5 minutes to fill out and asks basic information about your company and why you are interested in advertising.
They had immediate openings because we got this email 30 mins after submitting the form,
The email also has a 3 page attachment with details on what to do next, advertising guidelines and general advice,
Launching a Campaign
The interface is clean and easy to navigate. I have spent years of my life working with Google’s Adwords and it's quite a contrast. There are endless amounts of settings and options in Adwords because of the focus on keywords. Quora targets based on the ‘Topics’ they organize their site content by. This allows them to streamline the process and present a cleaner experience.
Our software is designed for digital marketers focusing on PPC. We decided to target the ‘Pay Per Click’ topic on Quora with 35K followers.
Here’s the flow for adjusting settings and creating ad copy.
The first step is to create a new campaign, give it a name and then choose targeting for an Ad Set,
Quora makes you write in complete sentences and is really strict on capitalization. This will be an adjustment for anyone used to operating in Adwords.
Here is an example of an ad that I tried that didn’t get approved because ‘PPC’ is viewed as over capitalization and does not meet the guidelines,
After making some adjustments, this is the copy for our first approved ad,
Minutes later we had our first sighting of the ad in the wild on a Quora thread,
Over the last few months we have seen our ad appear on relevant threads like, "What are the best paid tools for PPC?"
Working in the Quora Ad Manager Interface
I love the simplicity of the UI.
Here’s the main dashboard,
You can easily drill down into campaigns and ad sets,
Suggestions for the Quora Ads Team
If anyone from the Quora Ads team reads this, please consider
- showing the full ad copy on above view instead of having to click on each ad title to view the full ad
- adding the ability to duplicate an existing ad to adjust slightly for testing
But on a whole I really like working in the Ads Manager. Tweaking settings, daily budget and ad copy is easy and intuitive.
Performance We’ve Seen in First ~2 Months
Here’s how traffic from Quora has performed as reported in Google Analytics,
Not enough traffic yet to draw any major conclusions after two months and about $60 of spend but it’s encouraging. As always you’d hope for more volume but when targeting a niche market like PPC professionals it's not too bad. The quality of the traffic for the people that don’t bounce looks great and we did get 1 free trial sign-up. That 1 sign-up could turn into a $2,000/month customer.
So far this is our best performing ad,
Stats for this ad,
- 53 clicks
- 13,061 impressions
- $0.73 cpc
We’ll Be Continuing to Experiment With Quora Ads
From what we have seen in the first few months we are encouraged enough to continue our experiment by adding more topics into our targeting and increasing bids.
Quora doesn't give you any insights into quality score or average position. So it's tough to say if we can really grow traffic in a meaningful way by increasing bids. But, the cost is still pretty low and worth the experiment. The Quora audience is unique and many respected PPCers frequent the threads.
We are going to try to increase to 5 conversions over the next 60 days by:
- expanding to topics like 'Google Adwords' with 77k followers and
- experimenting more with ad copy
- upping bids 1.5-2x on all ads