Did you know that mastering Quora Ads doesn’t have to be complex?
To show you, we’ve interviewed three Quora Ads experts to give you their opinion and viewpoint on how to be successful with Quora Ads.
From scaling to fine tuning, we hope you enjoy this deep dive.
Subscribe to BoostSauce to learn even more marketing and sales knowledge, faster…
When it comes to Quora Ads, there are only a few people we turn to for amazing advice that works across the board for different goals.
Whether you’re in SaaS, eCommerce, or lead gen, you’ll be excited to learn that the recipes these experts will share will all help you hit your goals faster.
In Order Of The Guests Below:
JD Prater is the Quora Evangelist. He’s a keynote speaker and a regular at conferences across the globe such as INBOUND, SaaStr, BrightonSEO, and SMX. Voted #4 most influential digital marketing expert, he is also the podcast host of Grow with Quora and The PPC Show. He’s an award-winning marketer with a passion for organizing data into actionable stories. In his spare time, JD is an avid cyclist, proud new father, and weekend traveler.
Nuggets Dropped x89
“Answer very specific questions and promote them to your following”
Marichka has been the Senior Performance Marketing Manager at Blinkist for over 2 years. Before her experience at Blinkist, she worked with KAYAK, Skelia, and MagneticOne. She is an expert in her field and has superb technical knowledge, especially in SMM, SEO and copywriting.
Nuggets Dropped x30
“Find which questions – broad or niche – have enough search volume”
Pallavi is a growth focused global marketing leader who loves strategy and execution in equal parts and is known for combining process with an entrepreneurial mind-set to drive results. Her approach is to build a strong marketing foundation and generate leads through targeted optimization.
Nuggets Dropped x22
“If you’re promoting your answers, brand transparency is vital”
Quora Ads Mastery With JD Prater
Johnathan: thank you so so much for being on this podcast! One super super interesting thing is that, I think before you joined the Quora team, you were a Quora Ads evangelist, is that correct?
JD: Yeah, definitely! So, I was loving Quora Ads, we got involved when I was back at the Director of Marketing at ads stage, and we got involved in their Beta.
And so being at their Beta, we found it was working really well for us! So, I ended up writing a blog post that caught their attention, we did a webinar with them, a case study with them.
Johnathan: Oh, okay!
JD: A podcast with them and eventually they were like, “Hey, do you want to come do this full time?” I was like, “Yes, I do!”
Johnathan: So, basically the first nugget that you’re going to drop is that anybody who wants a job at anywhere, just call them at xyz evangelist, and it’s going to happen eventually!
JD: Yeah, I mean you just got to like pretend! You know, fake it till you make it!
JD: That’s my nugget right there for you guys, so!
Johnathan: We’ll give you some cluck!
Johnathan: I mean write some blog posts, you never know who’s reading them. I wrote one on Facebook analytics and Facebook read it, and invited me to their office, so this happens, this happened twice now!
Matt: I need to step my game up right now!
Johnathan: We need to change some things around here! That’s crazy! Well, cool! I mean, we’re super excited to talk to you about Quora Ads!
Everything from before you get started, to during your actual campaigns are running live, and how you optimize and all that kind of stuff. So, we basically want to take everybody here as deep as possible.
Do you want to help us start off with figuring out like, before you even get started with Quora Ads, who is this platform good for and who is this not good for?
JD: Yeah, so this is going to be good for anyone that is an early adopter, right?
JD: So, we haven’t quite branched out into those majority of the advertisers yet! So, you know, the Facebook, the Google Advertisers, they’ve got the majority!
We’re really looking for those people that are early. They want to come out and test, they want to experiment, and they want to help ultimately get those first mover advantage, maybe a second mover advantage, and get that peak ROI before too many people get in!
Johnathan: Got it!
JD: So, get in while it’s good! Those are the type of people we’re looking for!
Johnathan: Is it more B2B slanted or B2C, or is it a mix of both? What do you say?
JD: Yeah, so right now, we’re almost a mix. We’re almost at 50/50! So, I think right now we’re at 60/40, and 60 is B2B!
JD: And that’s mostly because a lot of the B2B are in house teams, so they’re not going through their agency, and so they’re able to test quickly, and get that experimental budget. So, it’s kind of on them if they mess up, rather than the agency!
Johnathan: Good, stay away from us please! We do not want your business, just kidding, we do!
JD: That’s right, that’s right!
Johnathan: That’s interesting, so when you get started, basically we spoke with other people from other advertising platforms too, and some of the things that we’re seeing being connected very much, so across platforms.
Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, you know, Quora, is basically like this combo of audience, ad, or message, and then offer!
When you start from scratch with Quora, I’m assuming one of the quick, low hanging fruit, can be like your remarketing audiences for example, and target them there.
Is there anything that you think from a starting practice, that you’ve seen this type of combo of a campaign, or anything that works really well across the board?
JD: Yeah, definitely! So, 100 percent, remarketing is the easiest to start with!
Johnathan: All right!
JD: So, within Quora manager, Free, you can get started, no credit card required!
JD: Which means you can get in there, get started! Set up your pixel, very first thing! We actually launched the ad platform with the conversion pixel, just to show how much we love our performance marketers.
JD: But, once you set it up, you can set up conversion campaigns. That’s really where you can build those audiences from.
So, that will help you understand, you know, is my audience on there? So, then give it about a week, you know to kind of see. If you want a quick win, upload your email.
So, we actually have list match, very similar to other platforms.
JD: Upload them, come back about 24 to 48 hours, and we will be able to match and kind of, see that match rate. So, the quick, easy way to say, is my audience on here, using that first party data.
Johnathan: Interesting, so even before you have to doubt whether or not this is going to be worth your time to do, very very low hanging fruit, not a lot of friction to do exactly what you just said.
And then you kind of have the insight as to whether or not it’s appropriate to take the next step.
JD: Yeah, definitely! And then, you know, review your metrics, use the audiences on there. If the audiences on there, like remarketing is so, you know, that’s easy!
JD: That’s low hanging! And most of us, as performance marketers completely understand. Go for that purchase, that consideration, with that remarketing, and make sure that you’re aligning your ad copy to where they are.
And we can get into that in a second, but that’s a quick, easy, win!
Matt: I may be jumping the gun here, JD. You mentioned the list match. Similar to the other ad platforms, do you guys also have like a look a like list, that you can then create the next step of audiences?
Johnathan:Similar audiences or a look a like?
Matt: Yeah, look like similar audiences?
JD: Definitely, we sure do! So, yeah we have look a like audiences, and again, we’ve only been around for 2 years, and we’ve already got a lot of these features that some platforms just launched, so yeah!
JD: We got the conversion pixel, the remarketing, we’ve got look a like, and you can build look a likes off of your audiences.
We also have events that you can set up as well, very similar to Facebook. You can do custom events and we also have nine standard events. You can build audiences off of those.
And then make a look a like maybe off your best customers, or make a look a like based off of everyone that’s added to cart.
JD: You know, those are always the easy ones!
Johnathan: That’s actually pretty impressive because I remember LinkedIn, I feel like it was forever before they got conversion tracking in place.
So, the fact that you guys are already there with that, plus everything else that you just mentioned, is really impressive. Cool, okay!
Johnathan: So, from a Quora standpoint like, you know bread and butter in regards to what we want to create first.
Remarketing, look a like, based off the actions that are most valuable. Whether it’s an actual purchase. You know, depending on the type of business you are, or the type of advertiser you are.
What other things in regards to the potential, or have you seen work really well when it comes to new audiences? How does the targeting work on Quora?
JD: Yeah, definitely! So, the things that we just mentioned are really like, those low in the funnel, kind of easy wins.
From there, I tend to basically work up, right? ‘Cause we’re ultimately trying to scale. Trying to get those net new. So, where those lists match those audiences, you’re going to build a goal, and you can add those as exclusions, right?
JD: So, critical things that you can do.
You can do question targeting, very popular. You can get down to the very specific question, if you know that this is your question that people are going to convert on.
You can actually match your product, your service to someone that is looking for that solution, right?
JD: People are coming and looking for questions and answers to their problem.
JD: And guess what, you can align to that context. So, we absolutely love the context and the intent of our audience. So, question targeting is always a good one!
And then we have key word targeting! So, this is kind of a scaled out question targeting. So, you can take all those high performing keywords, maybe from Google, and you can drop them in, and we can do phrase match off of those. That’s what I would recommend.
JD: Maybe you’re looking for that CRM.
JD: Phrase match that. We’ll be able to put your ad across all those questions across Quora.
JD: Those are some pretty easy ones.
So, moving up, we got topic targeting! So, all of our questions are tied to a topic and what you can do is say, “Hey, this is the perfect topic for me.”
So, we just said, let’s say, CRM again, right? That’s always an easy one. You can target CRM and put your ad adjacent to that topic.
So, again context is king and that’s a really good one
Johnathan: Sure! Cool, is there anything else?
So, you have basically the question targeting, the keyword targeting, the topic targeting, we also talked about the audience targeting first. Are there any other types of targeting available right now?
JD: Yeah, we also have interest targeting! So, this is where we can play off of search and social aspects. So, everything I just mentioned is context!
JD: So, that was contextual ads!
JD: We also have behavioral ads! So, we can do interest targeting for example. We can do question retargeting! So, this is a fantastic one with our new ad unit! Called promoted answers!
So, you can actually take any answer on Quora and boost it! You can promote it! And then re target everyone who has seen that question.
JD: So, it is a built funnel basically where your people are!
JD: It’s a good one.
Johnathan: I looked at Quora before, we ran our own little campaigns, very very juvenile version of what we set up too, but then to hear that.
I know a lot of people try to also, you know game Quora, for the fact of just having a lot of answers that they hope are really really meaningful.
So, doing this but still keeping the quality in check, seems very very valuable to do.
JD: Yeah, and I mean the best part is that retargeting aspect. I know that you saw my answer and now I’m retargeting you and giving you a different offer.
JD: I’m moving you down the funnel! I’m adding my negative audiences from my emails.
JD: And from my websites, I’m only getting, It’s a win, win!
Johnathan: Yeah, so basically you’re just saying that your message would say, “Hey, I know that you saw my answer.” And then you actually hit them with the call to action.
JD: Yeah, exactly! That would be a fantastic headline!
Matt: JD, for that type of targeting, do you guys need to have a minimum audience size in order for that to be able to target?
Or if like, say there is 25 people that have seen it, can you retarget to those or it has to be a minimum number?
JD: It is a minimum number of 200.
Johnathan: Cool! Not that bad from a minimum perspective.
Matt: That’s decent.
Johnathan: So, when it comes to that type of targeting obviously you have to add in your ads as well too. I know you guys have different ad types.
What do you guys see in regard to, are there certain types of campaign targeting that has better performing ads or is it kind of like, you can use all ad types, how does that work?
JD: Yeah, so I mentioned one of them. So, promoted answers. So, that’s going to be an answer, right? I mean that one is not quite an ad, but it is an ad, right?
JD: Our other two ad units are image and text ad. And really the only difference between them is the image ad has an image.
JD: Surprise, surprise! And it’s got a little thumb nail there. That one actually performs the best as far as click through rate.
JD: I mean it’s nearly triple the amount for our text ad!
JD: So, I’m all in on the image ads. And here’s like a secret as well, or a nugget, pay attention!
JD: We will take your image ad and depending on the placement, we will turn it into a text ad for you! So you don’t even have to worry about it!
Matt: That’s pretty trippy.
Johnathan: That is a big cluck cluck right there! That is amazing. Okay, interesting.
Now, there’s obviously different inventory on Quora, right? So, if you have campaigns, do they call them ad groups within the campaigns too on Quora?
JD: We call them ad sets.
Johnathan: Ad sets, just like Facebook.
Johnathan: Do you guys basically recommend having multiple ad types, like image and text, inside those ad sets?
JD: Yes, this one is tough, right? This one is where I think we still need to experiment a lot more.
JD: So, I’ve talked to a few different advertisers. And the way I think about it is, we use a VCG auction, very similar to Facebook. It’s actually the same as Facebook. We hired the person that built it.
JD: We use that auction and so, what’s really important is when you think about click through rate. That’s really important in to lowering your cost per click.
JD: Which is important to lowering your..
And so, whenever I see a high speed TR, I’m like oh man, why would I not choose this ad unit. With that said, I’ve talked to a few different advertisers, who like to run text ads on question targeting.
JD: And they said that it basically works better there. And I said, “Okay.”
Johnathan: All right, little nugget!
JD: Good to know.
Johnathan: Yeah, and you just did, thank you! Cool.
Johnathan: In regards to what actually is made up of the ad, so you obviously have words within the text ads, you also have visuals within the image ads.
Is there any combination or like best practices that you think that is the ad is composed of? Is there anything you can tell us there?
JD: Yeah, again Quora, questions and answers. We’re seeing actually a lot of advertisers trying to match it and make it feel like it belongs.
Johnathan: Got it!
JD: So, what they’re doing is they’re asking a question for their headline.
So our ad unit headline, and you have your description, you have your CTA, and so within that headline, what they’re really trying to do is make it feel very native.
It’s like, this is the question. “Hey, do you have a problem with blah, blah, blah?”, right? Or, “Hey, are you looking for something like this?” They don’t say “Hey!”
JD: So, yeah let me get that right! They’re calling it and making it a question.
JD: And they’re actually seeing pretty good results with that. Rather than, you know, within Google’s search ad, right?
JD: You’re like stuffing it with words and it doesn’t even feel like a great text ad.
JD: When they are all the same.
JD: You actually get to be kind of creative, which is the fun part on Quora. You get to match the intent with a question.
JD: I already know that you’re looking at this. Here’s like a really good intriguing, “Do you have this problem?”
JD: Because here’s a solution! So that’s what they’re doing, so yeah it’s really good!
Johnathan: That’s super interesting because what we know on Google ads so far that we’ve seen, is like when you’re being redundant.
Meaning like, let’s say for example, that somebody types in, sell my car. And then your ad says, need to sell your car?
What we then found is that if you give an answer, as far as like how quickly they can sell their car, because the visitor that is searching for how to sell their car might not know if it’s a market place or if the advertiser buys a car directly from the visitor.
And so, it’s like the opposite. So, it’s interesting to hear that like, natively you almost make the ad look like it’s disguised within Quora, like it looks super more native.
JD: Yeah, it looks very native! So, very similar to how Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn, they all feel very native.
JD: Ours is going to feel kind of native. And then it will have a sponsored by, and it will say sponsored by “x” business.
JD: And so we do call them out. But again, make it even feel more native, it might be a great way to help capture some of those leads that you’re looking for, and drive that great business performance.
Johnathan: Yeah, so what you’re basically saying is that for the image ads, that if you put in the Quora logo in there, you’re even more native than just having the text?
Maybe not! That probably would be disapproved I’m assuming.
JD: I would assume! We have a pretty good machine learning algorithm, that catches a lot of things.
JD: So, we’re pretty strict on, so a good little nugget here, is capitalization.
JD: So, again within Google search ads, we do a lot of camel casing, right? That’s where you capitalize the first letter of each word, so a lot of times we do that. With Quora, you can’t do that.
JD: You can’t do that, it has to read instant, and it has to have punctuation.
JD: So, I’m trying to see how marketers are trying to figure that out and play with it.
JD: Because we immediately go in, we take our Google search ad, and we take our Facebook ad image. And we mash them together for this Quora, and it turns out it may not work that well.
JD: And so, you really have to kind of think creative. And really think where is the customer at right now, in their buying journey.
JD: Based on what I’m targeting, based off what I know, so it’s really good!
Johnathan: So, not only do you give marketers another platform to get more volume from, but you also help them with their grammar it sounds like.
Johnathan: Double win!
JD: Double win, that’s right!
Johnathan: Cool, now when it comes to, again what we’ve seen from a lot of platforms is that, the audience and the offer, or what other people call the call to action, are the two main components where, the ad and the messaging, while still important is more of the bridge.
Is there anything that you’ve seen perform differently?
Or any nuggets that you can share in regards to, let’s say you’re going after a colder audience. And you’re doing topic targeting or interest targeting, but you want them to sign up for a demo for example, you’re a software company.
Sometimes what we’ve seen is that, because that audience is cold, having them sign up for a demo, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Because while you may get the demo sign up, they might not ever show up to the demo.
So, is there anything that’s different in Quora? Is there something that you’ve seen, that these type of offers or call to actions work better with this type of targeting?
JD: Yeah, that’s a really good question. And here’s half the answer.
JD: Half the answer is we allow desktop only targeting and mobile only targeting. So, I would say at the ad set level. When in doubt, break them out, right?
JD: So, break out by device.
JD: So, have one ad set, the same targeting, desktop.
JD: Go duplicate it mobile. And here’s why.
Like, that demo, I bet it might have a higher conversion rate on desktop. I mean I’m just guessing, right?
JD: When you’re thinking about, when I’m at my desk, I’m probably at work. And I might be actually willing to bid a little bit more. Where as on mobile, maybe I’m going to change that offer.
JD: Maybe that offer is going to look a little bit different and not be a demo. Maybe it’s going to be like an E-book.
Maybe its, you know, kind of higher in the funnel, piece of content, that maybe I want you to down quote, or that value exchange for that email right? And so, that’s where I would focus on.
Then, as far as call to actions, we do offer quite a few. Align that, based off, where again, what intent, what device, you kind of know a lot right now. And then, ultimately align it.
What we’ve seen is read more is our most popular call to action.
JD: It’s actually our best performing.
JD: And now are those related? Probably because there’s so many more advertisers using read more. And that’s in contrast to like, learn more.
JD: Or to sign up or start now, or free trial, right? And so it’s really, I was kind of like, oh wow, read more.
JD: And so I think again, when you think about people coming to Quora. They’re reading questions and answers. And now you’re taking them off platform. So, maybe that read more does make sense.
Johnathan: Interesting! Because I would feel like we would be super aggressive as marketers and we would say buy now! Like, that’s going to work best for us or something like that too. So, that’s definitely a nugget right there.
So, once your live, you have the audiences set up, you have the segmentation by devices at the ad set level, like you mentioned. You’re starting to get data.
Is there any type of optimization routine that you’ve seen work really well, from how do we get performance to be better? Is there anything you can share on that front?
JD: Yeah, definitely. So, a lot of this is going to come down to your ad copy, and again, let’s just pretend that we’re all using image ads.
So, the average CTR for an image ad is about .5 percent, Okay?
So, about .5. What we’ve seen is some advertisers are getting like .25! What that tells me is you got to optimize! There is something out there, maybe it’s the ads, maybe it’s the headline, maybe it’s the copy, maybe it’s the targeting.
Now, for the advertisers that are getting above .5, which those are like our gold star advertisers. Way to go, guys!
So, if you’re getting above that, .8 to like that 1 percent click through rate, I mean, that one is where I would even maybe start to consider switching to like, CTM bidding.
JD: Because you know you’ve got an ad that works, you’re targeting is good, now let’s go get a lot more of them and see what happens.
JD: So, that one is a pretty good one for an optimization.
We also just launched auction insight.
What that is going to tell you is three new metrics about the auction. So, what we’re revealing now, is impression share, your absolute impression share, and then auctions lost to competition.
JD: So, I’ll give you the quick on all of those.
Impression share, I think we’re all familiar with what impression share is, for all our search marketers out there. This is the kind of auctions you were in, and you won the auction, right? And you may have missed.
The absolute impression share is you’re in the auction, and you won, but you won the top available slot.
JD: So, you were like number one at it.
And then the auctions lost to competition. This is going to tell you that you entered the auction, but you didn’t win, right?
And so, what that means is you’re probably not competitive enough. And that could be maybe again, look at your CTR, it could also be your bid, it could also be your budget. Maybe you didn’t have enough budget, therefore you lost.
JD: So, those are the things that I look at, when I’m thinking about optimization.
JD: And then, that’s within the platform. Hopefully, come on guys, that you are optimizing on the back end. Get in Google analytics!
You know, making sure that you’re understanding, as Johnathan pointed out, Hey, I’m getting demos but they’re not showing up.
And that’s really important to understand within not only am I driving maybe good traffic, and people are signing up, but you know I want that high quality traffic. That’s going to, you know, show up to demos.
Again, get those back end metrics from your sales team and really help align.
Johnathan: For sure! Yeah, look at the whole thing in a holistic way and manner as well.
Is there anything that we’re missing? Anything as far as something that we just didn’t ask you so far?
JD: Let’s see here. I think one of my favorite things that I forgot to mention earlier, run ads on your competition! Man, this one’s such a winner! I skipped right over it at the very beginning. We talked about remarketing that email list.
JD: But, you can actually run ads on your competition. And that’s a pretty good one that I think, when people are looking, you know, maybe they’re looking at project management software.
And maybe they’re looking at Trello, and then you’re able to run ads against Trello right? Because we make Trello the topic, so yeah.
Johnathan: Got it, got it! Okay, I was going to ask, do you make them a keyword? Do you make them a topic? Interests?
I don’t know there is probably a list that you have to pick from. So, you might be limited but that makes a lot of sense too.
Johnathan: Interesting! Super super smart!
JD: Yeah, so I mean pick some competition.
But also, be careful! Make sure that you’re being defensible, you know, because once you start doing that, they’re probably going to see it and start running ads against you.
So, you want to make sure you’re bidding on your own brand as well.
JD: I know that like, y’all hate it as marketers, the Google tax that we always talk about, when we’re betting on our brand keywords. But you definitely want to make sure that you’re, you know, thinking through those types of options.
Johnathan: Yeah, that’s super smart!
I never even thought about protecting your own brand, with Quora ads, and then in addition using the image ads with the Quora image inside, and you’ll get like, that ultimate click through that you’re talking about.
JD: That’s right!
Johnathan: Cool, well JD this is awesome!
We’ll probably have to pick your brain about those top golden advertisers if they want to be on the show too. Just so we can get a, you know, feel for what they think, what their best practices are too.
But you’ve given us so much ammo, so many nuggets, where we’re super super thankful!
JD: Oh, no, thank you guys for having me on! Hopefully everyone that was listening, you got some good nuggets, and you’re excited about Quora Ads!
Johnathan: We will share this with everybody, thank you so much!
Matt: Awesome, thanks, JD!
JD: Thank you!
Johnathan: All right, bye!
Quora Ad Mastery With Marichka Maluk (Maria)
Johnathan: All right, Maria, are you there?
Maria: Yes, hi!
Johnathan: Awesome, hey! So everybody listening, we have Maria from Blinkist. She’s a senior performance marketing manager, and we’re gonna talk to you about Quora ads. So excited to have you!
Maria: Thank you. Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.
Johnathan: And people don’t know, I wanna give a quick shout-out to Blinkist because I love the app and I’m a user and customer myself.
Basically, you guys give business books and self-help books like summaries in the audio version, but also in the written version, because Lord knows, I don’t like reading a ton.
I am more focused on doing, and so when I’m on the way to work or driving, I listen to the Blinkist summaries. So, thank you guys for making such a cool product.
Maria: That’s awesome to hear! Always, always welcoming good feedback on what we are doing. That’s very inspiring.
Johnathan: I didn’t convert on your Quora ad though. I think I might have converted on your Facebook ad, which is not what we’re gonna talk about, but very cool!
Maria: I think you’ll have to send some friends that way though.
Johnathan: Okay, okay, we will. We’ll find you on Quora.
Maria: To compensate.
Johnathan: So we talked a little bit about, before this, about Quora isn’t necessarily a channel for a lot of volume, but it can surely be consistent and work well for you.
So when you guys look at your Quora campaigns today, what thoughts come to your mind as far as what has worked best for you?
Maria: So we tried a lot of things already. We’ve been very early testers of the advertising platform on Quora, and a lot of things didn’t work for us.
Still, we can manage this, basically, this is now a low-scale channel that gives us much lower CPIs than a lot of high-scale channels, and therefore, we really value it.
However, it is a bit hard to maintain and a bit hard to scale just because of the way the platform is set up for now and the way the interface is built.
The team is working basically really fast on improving the functionality but it still feels quite fresh and young and lacking a lot of useful features. And that is one of the obstacles for us to making this a more prominent part of our marketing mix.
Johnathan: Sure, sure. And when you said CPI, for people who don’t know, I’m assuming that means cost per install, right? Because you are focused on the mobile app aspect?
Johnathan: Okay, cool. So tell us about the things that haven’t worked out for you other than the platform being a little too young.
Maria: So first of all, I have to say that as Blinkist is kind of a hybrid product, we are predominantly an app on both Android and iOS. We also have a web solution, and so we tried all of these approaches on Quora.
We targeted Android devices, we targeted iOS devices, and we also tried to run some web campaigns, and only iOS worked for us.
I think it’s partly because of the product that is more like– who’s more mature on iOS, but also just because of the way Android users convert and monetize basically.
We did also have issues with volumes. For instance, quality of some audiences on the web. They were just not as relevant for our product.
So when I say we tried three different basically devices, platforms, and only one worked for us, and then we just went in and tested a lot of different targetings and set up within that.
Johnathan: Interesting. Okay. So let’s narrow in on the iOS side, ’cause it sounds like that’s the device that was performing best for you.
When it came to the targeting, what kind of audiences have you found worked best for you guys? What was your target in general?
Maria: We started initially with topic targeting and question targeting, and those have been quite successful throughout the whole time of the campaign that we ran the campaign on the channel.
We started back when they didn’t still have lookalike campaigns.
And we also tried, when that was released, we were very excited because lookalikes are something that works very easily, best of everything on all the other bigger and more mature platforms.
Maria: But it seems like either lookalike set up on Quora is not as mature, or maybe the volume is not sufficient.
Because we are either not reaching volume, or it seems a bit too broad for us even if we go for the same audience definition as on the other platforms where it’s ran successfully.
And therefore, our main focus is topic.
We tried a whole bunch of different topics. And here, I would say, my tip from all this experience, not just Quora, is don’t go for just whatever is similar to your product profile because there are a lot of topics that work for us still.
And they’re, for instance, health-related or in nutrition, and not just business, books, or reading, or productivity, et cetera, et cetera.
So it sometimes goes with broader targeting. You have to test and see which of the topics have volume and provide sufficient conversion rates.
Johnathan: Got it, got it. And it’s funny you say that.
We’ve had many times where we found these ancillary, we call them ancillary audiences, where let’s say that we have a client that actually sells like a yoga subscription, well then we’ve also found, obviously, that the people who are interested in that also like nutrition.
Some of them might also like knitting, the actual making stuff or knitting socks or blankets, which is really, really interesting, and part of it was what we found from the insights on Google and Facebook, the bigger platforms.
But it also came to just trying them out and saying like, hey, this is not closely related, but we can assume that somebody would also be interested in this. So it sounds like that that’s what you guys went for and found success with these additional audiences.
Maria: Exactly. Sometimes, it’s a play between, first of all, volume because not all the topics have similar volumes on Quora, and second of all, not all of them have similar CPCs.
Sometimes, the bid for those very specific audiences that you want are much higher so you have to find a balance between those two factors.
And I think that’s sometimes one of the key reasons that those off-topic topics work.
Johnathan: Awesome, awesome. You have the questions in the topic campaign that works well for you.
Now, when it came to the topics that you guys were deciding on, we spoke a little bit about that. In regards to the question side, what has worked best for you guys there?
Maria: So questions work amazingly for us.
Johnathan: Better than topic?
Maria: They over-deliver in terms of… Sorry?
Johnathan: Better than the topic events?
Johnathan: Yeah? Ooh!
Maria: Better, but with caveat. Because they’re really low-volume.
Johnathan: Got it, got it. Makes sense.
Maria: So that campaign is something that compensates sometimes for our tests and we really try to scale by adding more questions to the whole batch but it’s very difficult to gain very significant volumes there.
However, that small targeting that we have works really well.
Johnathan: Sure, sure.
Maria: And I don’t know, I hear that a lot, and I’m not sure how to make it a much more scalable approach, so we just keep it like that and just throw in more questions when we find something relevant to expunge, and that’s it.
Johnathan: Well, and it’s really cool to hear you say that because you guys obviously focus a lot on volume. You can get CPIs that are within your economics that you like, but of course, the more you can get, the better.
For other types of companies that might not have installs or subscriptions as a goal, but maybe these conversions are worth more, volume might not be a big concern for them.
As you’re telling us this, this is super, super cool to know from your perspective what works really well because a lot of people might not, they’re just like, they want another channel, and Quora is something they haven’t ventured into yet.
Which is, of course, why we have this episode, so it’s super cool to hear you say that.
Maria: I think it’s bold for us, to be honest because we ultimately optimize on ROIs, and basically, we are a subscription app that have a leans towards annual subscription.
And so, it’s quite difficult to, the events that we strive for is quite significant and expansive, and so I understand that sometimes, it’s just valuable to go for those.
But still, if the pool of your impressions is very small, it’s difficult to optimize on that campaign.
And you get a couple of conversions and you never know if it’s a random thing or if each load is a positive trend for that campaign and if you need to scale it more and invest more into that.
So that is an issue or that’s the level of an issue for question campaign.
Johnathan: Yeah, that makes sense. Now, we talked about the targeting and the type of campaigns, is there anything from your ad copy perspective? ‘Cause mostly, it’s in regards to copy, is that correct? On Quora?
Maria: So there are these three types of ads that are available on Quora: image ads, text ads, and promoted answers.
We tested only the first, image and text ads. Normally, my recommendation is to throw in both into the ad set just because some inventory is not available to either one or the other format.
And just make sure that you participate in all the available auctions, that’s the best recommendation I can give from my campaign.
In terms of the phrasing, we definitely have much more testing experience with the text ad because they’ve been there for much, much longer.
We have tried and have seen success with ads that, I think, it’s a common practice to say that formulating a headline as a question makes the ad look more native on the Quora platform.
We have some successful ads in that format but I think the more we test now, the more we just move away from that. And even just very on-point, well-structured ads work for us and the phrasing is quite different for different topics.
Johnathan: Got it, got it.
Maria: Which I think will–
Johnathan: Okay. So you guys haven’t really ventured into the promoted answers ad type just yet?
Maria: No, I think that also requires a better profile, and also, I think good answers that are still relevant.
And because we as a company have grown so much and have increased the library a lot, some of the facts are not very relevant already. In the Best Answers, that are performing best organically for us, and so those don’t really make sense to promote.
And our social media team does not have, just now, the capacity to manage another platform to create more content so that we could test that. I’m pretty sure, I hear it’s a good format for other companies. It’s just that we haven’t really prioritized this yet.
Johnathan: My marketing mind immediately starts just thinking about like, well, how can you almost game this?
Could you, in fact, and I don’t know the answer, so let me know if I’m wrong, could you write an answer on behalf of the company or your own personal profile that’s obviously geared towards benefiting Blinkist, and then get a lot of friends and colleagues or other people that you know to up vote that answer and then promote it?
Would that be something you can technically do?
Maria: Oh, I think it’s a bit of a gray territory here.
Johnathan: But you could do it, right? I’m not saying you guys are doing it, but do you know if it’s possible?
Maria: I think I heard a lot of stories about bands and stuff. I’m not really sure what the policy is on Quora. I think in the old times of tech overflow and a lot of these questionable marketing techniques, that was very, very frowned upon.
Johnathan: I immediately–
Maria: I’m really not sure about that.
Johnathan: No, I believe you. I’m like, taking notes, I’m like, I’m gonna ask J.D., who’s also one of the guests on this episode, J.D. Prater that works at Quora, if that’s possible ’cause I know people are doing that with dark posts on Facebook ads.
So they will do an unpublished page post, they’ll get likes and comments and positively frame the ad before they go live in the ad set, so curious.
But let’s just say that we didn’t talk about that and move on. Anything else that you wanna share with us here as we wrap up, Maria? Or do you feel like we’ve covered mostly everything?
Maria: What else? I summed up a couple of tips.
Only the ones that we haven’t discussed yet are location targeting where previously, our setup is quite old so we went for country groupings, and that is not something I would recommend because CPCs differ a lot by locale.
And now, Quora allows us to upload ads into ad sets so it’s a bit easier to go a bit more granular, and I would split by location if possible.
Also, in terms of bidding, this is also a feature that has been available only a couple of months and it’s an impression share, kind of similar to what Google Ads do, have been doing this forever.
And basically, bidding was always a bit hard on Quora because you were given sometimes quite a wide range for proposed bids within the ad sets, but you really could not see where it’s coming from and how much more you need to bid and how much of the impressions you are actually bidding for.
Maria: Now, with the available impression shares, you can easily see that, so that has become more of an educated bidding process.
Johnathan: That makes sense.
Maria: I think that is kind of it. I’m not sure if you have anything.
Johnathan: No, that’s amazing! We don’t run Quora ads hardly at all, not a lot of our clients are on it, a few are, so this is why I wanna absorb as much as you have to say from you because you guys are running it.
So really, really appreciate your time, and thank you so much.
Maria: No problem! It was nice talking to you. Let me know how it goes!
Johnathan: Awesome, we will! We’ll be in touch. Thank you, Maria.
Johnathan: All right, bye.
Maria: Thank you, bye!
Quora Ad Mastery With Pallavi Sharma
Johnathan: All right, everybody, I’m super excited, this is the first time we’ve had a return guest on the show. We have Pallavi Sharma, again from AdStage, but this time we’re gonna be talking about Quora ads. How are you?
Pallavi: Good, I’m excited to be back and, you know, it’s awesome to feel like a veteran here.
Johnathan: That’s great, funny side story: you know you have something good going on when people are okay coming back because, when I was younger, I was detailing and waxing cars, and my dad said something pretty profound at that time.
He was like, “You know you’re doing good when the people call you back to have you wash and wax their car again.” Nobody ever did that, so this is good news for you.
Pallavi: I appreciate it, so hopefully we can get through this one and you won’t be like, ‘Oh, I never wanna talk to her again.’
Johnathan: Yeah, no, so far so good. Unless you’re a completely different person, we’ll see.
So, let’s talk about Quora ads. You are the last person in our segment.
You might not be the last person in the actual episode, but we talked to Quora themselves, we talked to Blinkist, and I know you guys have done some co-marketing with Quora, you have some blog posts published with Quora, you got some juicy stuff.
So I wanted to ask you your perspective, when it comes to Quora, how does that fit in to your other paid channels, and stuff like that, I’m imagining the volume’s pretty low, but let me know.
Pallavi: Yeah, so we recently did launch an integration with Quora, and we’re really excited about it.
So, for us, it’s a really important channel ’cause, obviously, there’s the Googles and the Facebooks of the world that make up the bulk of advertising, and it’s becoming more and more challenging to break through the noise on these large ad networks, and it becomes very expensive.
And so what’s so amazing about Quora is they have 300 million unique visitors coming to them every month, asking specific questions, and so if you have a solution that can fit in with the problem that somebody’s trying to solve, what better way to get in front of a potential customer.
Rather than just pushing your wearers and saying, “Hey, somebody loosely put in a keyword that I think they may kinda need”, I mean, these are people looking for actual solutions and, for that purpose, we think it’s a really important platform.
Johnathan: Yeah, and it’s got what I think is almost borderline Google Search, it has the intent, people are looking for solutions and things like that, too.
What are some building blocks for you guys that you’ve seen perform well for you when it came to Quora? Your own campaigns, for example, or maybe the interview that you had from other advertisers, too, through the AdStage platform.
Pallavi: Yeah, I mean, what’s awesome about Quora is that they offer image text and Promoted Answers, and so you can decide on what works for you and you can test some various things out.
So for the image and text, you wanna do the things that you’ve been doing on the other ad networks, and making sure your creative is relevant, and engaging, you’re sending folks to personalized landing pages, all those types of best practices.
And then you have this added benefit of the Promoted Answers, so, transparency is extremely important. What you don’t wanna do is go and answer a question and think they’re not gonna realize who you are, you wanna be very transparent as a company, you’re trying to get an answer. And so, for me, that promoted answer allows you to provide value, give your opinion, but then you can promote an answer and be transparent.
Johnathan: Okay. What type of ads right now, work best for you guys? Is it Promoted Answers?
Pallavi: You know, we are testing different ads, I think the answer is a little bit tricky, because it’s long-cycle, ’cause some of them you may see better click-through rates, and then others eventually convert, so I think that, again, it really depends on the business and we think it’s a really great platform.
So Quora says you can convert up to four times, you can see up to more, ah, let me try that again. According to Quora, you can see up to four x more conversions than other platforms, because it’s so targeted, it’s, as you mentioned, there’s intent, so I think from that perspective it’s been a platform that we’ve been really interested to test out.
That being said, we have a much longer history with some of the ad networks and so, for us, it’s still a learning process as to what exactly is gonna work the best, but we definitely are in it with them.
Johnathan: Yeah, one of the things that JD over at Quora, JD Prater, was mentioning, too, is literally, any type of their campaigns can work, I was actually impressed when I was in the Quora ad account, the way that it was set up, I felt like it was even light years ahead of LinkedIn, when they first launched, versus the bells and whistles that were available, so I was very impressed with Quora.
He was basically saying one of the things that you can see very quickly is obviously the data that comes back to you, but a lot of people who don’t take full advantage of Quora are the ones that don’t have, well what’s coming up next in the pipeline as far as testing goes?
Which kinda goes for a lot of other platforms, too, but he said it was especially important for what they were seeing on their own stats and analytics, taking advantage of every type of ad that’s out there.
Are there any type of audiences, for example, that you guys see work really well for you, is it just re-marketing, or is it the, ’cause the promoted answers are not really necessarily an audience, they’re just specific questions that you’re answering, too. What’s the mix of that in your mind?
Pallavi: Yeah, so, for us re-targeting is really a place, great way you can work with Quora. They allow you to use pixel re-targeting, and new shipping segments, right? You can segment and then decide, ‘Hey, we’re the folks that are coming to see ‘x’ product on our website, versus ‘y’ product, and then re-target and personalize that messaging.
Which is why I think, again, Quora is so great because if you’ve done advertising on other platforms, it’s not like you have to learn a new language. They have done a really good job of optimizing what all these other ad networks have been working on for many, many years and them being a newer platform, but a very, very fast-growing platform, allows this kinda bang for your buck.
Because you get all that versatility of the different ad types, and the different types of targeting that you could do but, at the same time, you get that, as we keep talking about, the intent, which is really their great differentiator, so we definitely like to look at ’em for re-targeting for that reason, and I think that’s a great way to use Quora as part of your overall ad network.
And I made mention, as part of our AdStage, our product integrates all the different ad networks, the data from all different ad networks, so advertisers can optimize their spend based on performance, and what we find folks doing, and we do this ourselves, is, hey, you may find Discovery is really great in one channel, but another channel is much better for folks that are a little deeper down in the tunnel, and that’s where I think Quora fits in really well.
Johnathan: For sure. Anything I’m not asking you, that you wanna mention?
Pallavi: Let me see.
Johnathan: Being a BoostSauce vet, as you are, too.
Pallavi: Yeah, I’m looking, I have something here about, looking at existing topics, targeting based on topic, as well as audience, that’s an area that’s interesting.
Johnathan: Mmkay. Unfold that.
Pallavi: Okay. So, one of the things that we like to do is take a look at two different aspects of targeting on Quora.
So, you can either target existing topics and so, let’s say people are looking to make a better milkshake, a banana milkshake, and you sell bananas, right? So, you can target by topics, or you could say, “Hey, I want to target “all the folks that are just interested in milkshakes”, and make that your general audience, and target that way.
So I think that kind of granularity makes it a really interesting platform to kind of play around with. And, again, I never like to say, “Hey, here’s what works for us, so you should do it, too.” I’m a big believer in testing and optimization, so you need to go out there and try it out, there’s no shortcut to that.
Johnathan: For sure. I was just thinking, could you, ’cause we’re like, ‘Well that’s what this podcast is about, ‘tell us what works for you guys’, and if everything was like, ‘Well you guys just gotta go out and test’, we’re like, ‘All right, cool, episodes done.’ Every single episode would be like that.
Pallavi: That is true.
Johnathan: But, I think, so, earlier today, actually, completely side note, I had a conversation with the Head of Growth from GrowthHackers. And one of the things, from a tempo perspective, that he was mentioning a lot more detail when you guys listen to that episode, was the framework and the priority of what they plan on testing, too,
And so it’s really, really smart and easy, ’cause a lot of people be like, ‘Oh, it would be cool to have another ad platform’, but, again, if you don’t have the time and resources to go in and make sure that it gets used to its max, a lot of times all your focus will be on Facebook or on Google.
Just have a log of what’s working for you there, and see how you can translate those things to be quicker testing-wise, on Quora, so that you can get faster traction, so you don’t just put up retarder and say, ‘Oh, that’s it, ‘that’s all the conversions that we can have.’
Based off your nugget, which I’ll give you this for, of the four x conversion line, because of the intent, right, so treat it as a very serious channel and, as long as you can have that tempo, as far as what goes in to the machine of Quora, you can come back with a lot of great conversions that we’ve seen from our clients, but also, interviewed other guests on this episode, too, so that’s awesome. Cool.
Pallavi: Yeah, I mean, I think that that’s a really great strategy, so you can upload your top performing keywords from the other platforms into Quora, and so, and to your point, you have limited time, but you wanna see what this platform can do for you, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, right? And you just, if you’re learning, put in on Quora and then go from there, and so most of your heavy lifting has already been done.
And then, from there, you can optimize and then you have one more channel where, either you’re gonna hit the, as we know, all marketers know, you gotta hit folks 11 to 17 times, these days, and so if you’re hitting them on these different platforms, and you know they’re on Quora, that’s one more feather in your cap for where they’re seeing your brand, and that’s really critical.
Johnathan: Another thing, too, though, I mean this is very meta for us, because we offer these services to our clients, but when clients see our ads in different platforms, and also with the personalization focus we have in our site now, seeing us on Quora, seeing us on LinkedIn, seeing us on Reddit, for example, has a great performance, compared, us to other agencies, because a lot of them might not even do it.
So, to your point in regards to the keywords you can upload, also take a look at your audience insights, from Google and from Facebook, because a lot of those can be things that you can pull right away, that you can target.
There’s also ancillary audiences, some people who go hunting might be interested in motorcycles, and those kinda things, too, depending of course what you sell. Or what your product or service is, too, so very, very, very cool. Sweet.
Well, I think that kinda does it for me, anything last moment things you wanna add, or, are we all good?
Pallavi: No, I think we’re good, I covered most of the things that I had pulled out from my conversations with them, and reading our blog, so I think that kind of covers it. And, I dunno if you know this, but JD used to be a marketing director over here, at AdStage, before I joined.
Johnathan: That’s surprising that you guys are still friends with him, then, over at Quora.
Pallavi: Yeah, so, we do a weekly podcast and he co-hosts it. So I actually don’t know him well, our VP of Product knows him better. So yeah, it’s like a small world here.
Johnathan: That’s so funny. Well, awesome, I hope this, I hope he approves of what you’re saying when he listens to this episode. So we’ll see. Well, perfect.
Pallavi: I hope so.
Pallavi: All right, take care.
Johnathan: We’ll make it a third time, for you to come back, you’ll be even a stronger vet, but thank you so much for your time.
Pallavi: I would love it, thanks.
Johnathan: All right, talk soon.
Pallavi: Take care.