A Guide to Quora Ads for B2B Marketers
Quora Ads have existed for a while now and if you haven’t tried its self-serve platform, you’ve been missing out on the opportunity to target high-intent users who are very clearly looking for answers.
The ad platform has quickly evolved including the addition of new features and targeting options. B2B marketers who have been early adopters of this platform are benefiting from a lower cost-per-click (CPC), lower cost-per-lead (CPL), as well as a higher conversion rate.
Let’s start by defining what Quora is and how it compares to other ad platforms:
What is Quora?
Founded in 2009, Quora is a question and answer website, similar to Yahoo Answers, but it is more regulated and has stricter community guidelines. Quora defines itself as “a place to gain and share knowledge”.
After gathering a sizable number of users, Quora created an advertising platform. Let’s review some of Quora’s targeting options next:
Quora Ads Targeting Options
Quora users visit the platform to ask questions, reply to questions, or learn what people are sharing about a specific topic. Since introducing Quora for Business, the platform has quickly improved its ability to target users based on 4 targeting categories that range from broad to narrow:
- Broad Targeting: As the name implies, this is the broadest type of targeting Quora offers, its objective is to get the most impressions based on the user’s location, platform, and gender.
This type of targeting is not recommended for B2B companies as there are basically no filters whatsoever.
- Behavioral Targeting: This tactic includes interest targeting, keyword history, and question history based on their behavior.
Pro Tip! Out of these 3 sub-categories, question history is the most helpful for B2B advertisers, as you can target users based on questions they viewed (and when). For example: anyone who saw the What is Marketing Automation question in the past 30 days.
- Contextual Targeting: This targeting category allows you to target users based on the content they are interacting with on Quora. This is probably the most useful category for B2B advertisers because it includes topic targeting, keyword targeting, and question targeting.
If you are running a Google Ads account, you can select your top keywords and bring them to Quora Ads, so anyone looking for such terms can be eligible to see your ad.
My favorite targeting option for B2B advertisers is question targeting, it allows marketers to select specific questions related to their product or service, while only targeting users who are reading answers to related questions.
- Audience Targeting: Quora is currently allowing users to remarket website visitors, upload email lists (List Match Audience) and set up lookalike audiences.
One of the most common statements I hear is “My audience is not present on Quora,” a free way to confirm if that’s actually the case is to add the Quora Ads Pixel on all of the pages on your website. This will allow you to see if the audience who visits your website can also be found on Quora.
Pro Tip! If your website audience is actually on Quora, you can layer additional targeting options on top of your audience to make it more specific and tailor your messaging better.
Quora Ads Secondary Targeting Options
Quora Ads also offers a few additional settings to limit your audience further:
- Location Targeting: You can be as broad as targeting by country or narrow as targeting by zip codes
- Device and Browser: Quora allows you to target computers and/or mobile devices, while it also gives you the ability to select specific browsers
- Exclusions: You can exclude irrelevant questions or exclude audiences (website visitors, specific email addresses, and so on)
Pro Tip! If you are familiar with Google Ads, imagine you are making an exclusion to your search term report
- Email: This allows you to target users who receive Quora’s newsletter
The 4 Quora Ads Placement Options
Quora Ads mainly appear in four different places: Question Pages, Topic Feeds, User Feeds, and Quora’s email digest. Examples and more details below:
- Question Page
This type of page is where a single question is highlighted and one or multiple answers are showcased. Your ad can appear either between the question and the first answer or between the different answers.
Only text ads are eligible to show on question pages, therefore if you are running image ads, they won’t appear in this section of Quora.
- Topic feed
When you search for a topic on Quora, you will end up landing on a topic feed page. Your ad will be inserted between the different questions related to the topic.
- User Feeds
The Quora user feed, similar to what we are used to in Facebook or LinkedIn, it’s where you get your personalized results based on the account or topics you decide to follow.
- Email Targeting
If you decide to enable email targeting, your ads can appear on the Quora digest email also known as the Quora digest newsletter.
Users who have opt-in into the Quora newsletter and that fit your targeting criteria will be eligible to see your ad.
The 4 Types of Quora Ads Formats
Quora currently offers 4 different ads formats which will be explained below:
- Text Ads
This is the oldest ad type on the Quora platform. It is composed by a short headline (65 characters) and a description (105 characters)
Pro Tip! Quora recommends phrasing the headline as a question so it blends better with the structure of Quora’s pages and results.
- Image Ads
Quora expanded its advertising products to include Image Ads in May 2018. Previously, Quora Ads were exclusively text ads.
Although Image Ads have some pros and cons, data and time will tell the real story. For example, one of the big advantages of text ads is its inconspicuous nature; they were able to easily blend in with the answers on the page. In other words, text ads don’t necessarily scream, “I am an ad.” Below are examples of a text ad and an image ad:
With the Image Ads launch, Quora stated that when you create an Image Ad the system will also create a text ad and the platform will automatically optimize for the ad format that will perform the best.
- Promoted Answer
Promoted answers on Quora are similar to boosting a post on Facebook Ads. It allows you to boost or maximize the distribution of an existing answer on Quora.
The answer can be written by anyone but it needs to have at least 250 characters and meet Quora’s content guidelines.
Pro Tip! If a user wrote a great review about your services or products, it is a no brainer to promote or boost the answer.
- Lead Gen Forms
Lead gen forms are technically not an ad format but they can be thought of as an additional feature you can add to your ads.
These forms allow you to collect the information of a user without leaving the Quora Ads platform. This information can be downloaded from Quora or shared directly with your existing CRM solution.
Pro Tip! B2B websites are known for generally being slow, therefore using lead gen forms can help boost your conversion rate by capturing the user information on Quora, and once that’s done, you can send the user to your website.
Quora’s Advertising Terms
Quora is very strict with its advertising terms. Your ad needs to be clear, well-formatted, and free from grammatical, capitalization, formatting, punctuation errors and unsubstantiated competitive claims.
You might be thinking all platforms have similar advertising terms, but I’ve found Quora will truly test your grammar and punctuation like no other. One common error that will disapprove your ads is unnecessary capitalization, as JD Prater described in this article. This is a departure from other ad platforms, like Google Ads and Microsoft Ads, where search advertisers are used to capitalizing each word in an ad.
There are some specific guidelines for image ads as well. They cannot contain the following:
- Be more than 20 percent text or memes
- Before-and-after images
- Sexually suggestive, tobacco, alcohol, or sensational images
- GIF or other types of animation
Note: You can find Quora’s advertising guidelines here.
Quora Ads’ Weaknesses
In my opinion, the biggest weakness of the platform is its inability to scale and the lack of basic but powerful settings, like segmentation by topic, interest, and devices.
There’s no schedule setting on the platform nor bid modifiers, which could easily improve account performance and health.
Another weakness is the lack of average position or quality score. This makes it challenging to determine why an ad group might be underperforming.
However, Quora is relatively new and has been rolling out new features frequently so these settings could be coming down the line.
While Quora cannot be your only marketing channel, it can be a powerful and high-intent addition to your existing marketing mix. It is a platform that is constantly launching new features and we are looking forward to seeing what they come out with next.
Has your organization tried Quora Ads and have you seen success? I would love to read about your experience via the comments below or connect with me on Twitter to continue the conversation.