Can Quora’s New Advertising Platform Deliver Value?

 In Behavioral Analysis, Consumer Behavior, Online Advertising

The question-and-answer site Quora is making moves to position itself as a premium publisher. In April, the crowd-sourced question-and-answer site announced it had 190 million monthly unique visitors—double the user base it reported a year earlier. A quick scan through of the results from a Google news search for “Quora” shows content generated from Quora answers on Newsweek, Time, and Forbes.

Quora Offers Broad Appeal

As the site has rolled out an ad platform to generate value from this traffic, it’s tasked with figuring out how to best deliver the optimal audience for advertiser’s messaging. Jumpshot studied 288 of the top-visited articles between January and mid-August of this year and found that its most read answers don’t generally represent the site’s reputation for nuance and expertise.

Take a look at the top ten topics among the most-viewed questions.

Tagged Topic Percentage of Top Articles
Experience 32.5%
Experiences in Life 32.1%
Survey Question 31.8%
Life and Living 14.0%
People 7.0%
Advice 7.0%
Interpersonal Interaction 5.9%
Life Advice 5.4%
Human Behavior 4.8%
Politics of the United States of America 4.1%


These categories are about as broad as you can go in terms of covering the human experience. And the most popular questions that fall under these headings are about what you might suspect (e.g. Who’s the most ridiculously good-looking person you’ve ever met? Under “Experiences in Life” or What is the cutest mistake you’ve ever seen someone make? under “People.”)

The fact is that the questions with the broadest appeal tend to generate a disproportionate amount of the pageviews on the site. That poses a problem if Quora is going to respond to what marketers say is the biggest need on the site’s platform, better, more granular targeting. There’s no doubt that the rich and specific topics on Quora could offer great segmentation. A closer look, though, shows that Quora has more work to do to deliver its compelling content to the right set of interested users and demonstrate its true value to advertisers.

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