Don’t advertise on Quora until you know 6 things

October 3, 2017

Quora has proven itself a valuable source of knowledge, not only in online marketing, but across so many different categories. Now, the platform is finally hinting at its plan for revenue, having launched Quora Ads earlier this year.

As an advertising platform, Quora is young and far from feature-rich. But the audience it attracts and the targeting available is very interesting to potential advertisers. Anytime you have a website where people spend time reading,Read more…

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Quora has proven itself a valuable source of knowledge, not only in online marketing, but across so many different categories. Now, the platform is finally hinting at its plan for revenue, having launched Quora Ads earlier this year.

As an advertising platform, Quora is young and far from feature-rich. But the audience it attracts and the targeting available is very interesting to potential advertisers. Anytime you have a website where people spend time reading, learning and thinking about relevant subject matter, advertisers want to be there. These are the traits of a highly engaged audience.

As a digital marketing agency, Clever Zebo has spent some time experimenting with the Quora advertising platform, and we wanted to share what we’ve learned so far. Here are some of the most important optimization strategies and tips we encourage Quora Ads advertisers to consider.

1.  Always split desktop vs. mobile

When you start optimizing Quora Ads, you’ll soon notice there are no device-level bid adjustments.

In cases like these, we usually recommend that you create separate campaigns for each device in order to give yourself maximum control around bids.

In some cases, desktop bids can be twice as demanding as mobile bids, depending on the audience you’re targeting.

If you don’t break up campaigns by device, you may find yourself bidding too high on mobile and paying more than you need to, or bidding too low to attract any significant volume of desktop users.

Quora provides a useful bid estimation tool, displaying a cost-per-click range and a suggested bid according to the platform’s best estimate. You can see how the desktop and mobile bids differ below.

Mobile bid estimates

 

Desktop bid estimates

2.  Granular targeting, low volume

Quora Ads allow for very granular targeting and we usually end up seeing an efficient cost per acquisition (CPA). However, when it comes time to scale our campaigns, we’ve found there is often limited volume available to grow.

Tip: Quora also has a handy reach estimation tool, which you can view on the right hand side of the screen while creating your ad set, as pictured above.

3.  Import keywords from your Google AdWords campaigns

An effective way to quickly build your list of topics for targeting on Quora is the AdWords keyword import.

We recommending using this tool to gather topic recommendations and increase the reach of your campaigns.

 

4.  Remarketing

Remarketing is a useful feature to explore in ad platform that offers it. Quora Ads allow you to install a site-wide pixel (to be placed between the between the <head></head> tag of your website), and using this pixel you can create your remarketing audience under the ‘Audiences’ tab.

Quora has some more granular options that can be leveraged for audience building, to create multiple segments:

Tip: You also have the option to exclude audiences (for example, some businesses may want to exclude those who already converted).

5.  Copy limitations

You’ll find that Quora Ads have stricter copy guidelines than other ad channels, and you may face ad disapprovals if you don’t adhere to their ad copy policy.

These are some of Quora’s ad copy restrictions to be mindful of:

  • Too much capitalization (you can’t capitalize the first letter of each word, as you would likely do in Google AdWords)
  • Incomplete sentences (you must write your ad in sentence form)
  •  ‘Misleading’ copy/claims (superlatives such as ‘#1 provider’ or ‘top firm’ are not accepted)
  • Abbreviations are not accepted (LMS must be spelled out as ‘learning management system’)

When you create ads on Quora’s platform, here’s what the ad builder looks like:

Tip: Add a relevant call-to-action (CTA) for best results.

6. App install campaign

Quora offers an ‘App Install’ objective, with conversion tracking through third-party mobile app measurement tools such as AppsFlyer, Adjust and others.

Here, you’re working with the same granular targeting options and ad copy specs as ‘Conversion’ campaigns, with the addition of a ‘Get the app’ CTA. Unlike other Quora Ads, app install campaigns don’t feature a Display URL.

If you have a mobile app to promote, this is a great sandbox to test your acquisition efforts.

Overall, we’ve been impressed with the Quora advertising platform in its infancy. The ad creation process is well thought-through, and the advertising on the site doesn’t distract from the core learning functions that have brought visitors flocking to Quora.com.

You’re likely to see advertisers getting increasingly clever with their approach in order to create relevance. For example, Wishpond phrases their ad headline below as a question, mirroring the organic site experience:

You can see TrenDemon below using the same strategy, which suggests that perhaps framing your ad as a question can improve clickthrough rates:

Quora gives advertisers the tiny but meaningful benefit of a “Promoted by” callout in advance of the ad, which announces that this is a sponsored listing, but also creates some light brand awareness. As with other ad platforms, “Free” is still a popular sell to lead with.

What do you think of Quora Ads so far? Let us know on Twitter @cleverzebo.

Looking for a marketing agency to help you test Quora Ads and find the right digital advertising strategy for your business? Talk to a marketing genius today.

 

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Should I advertise my business on Taboola or Outbrain?

September 21, 2017

Over the last ten years, native advertising platforms have steadily grown, now owning more than 50% of the digital display market. You’ve probably heard of the two largest independent native advertising platforms: Outbrain and Taboola.

The question a lot of marketers have is: can Outbrain or Taboola be an effective ad platform for my business?

Much has been written on this topic, but ultimately it’s clear that some companies have been shrewd enough toRead more…

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Over the last ten years, native advertising platforms have steadily grown, now owning more than 50% of the digital display market. You’ve probably heard of the two largest independent native advertising platforms: Outbrain and Taboola.

The question a lot of marketers have is: can Outbrain or Taboola be an effective ad platform for my business?

Much has been written on this topic, but ultimately it’s clear that some companies have been shrewd enough to extract valuable leads and sales from this relatively fresh marketing channel. This post aims to explore how to build and optimize native content campaigns effectively on Outbrain and Taboola, and to look at some key differences that distinguish the two platforms.

Where do Outbrain and Taboola Ads appear?

If you’ve seen “related articles” beneath content you’ve read on the web — often with thumbnail images and sensational-seeming headlines — this is where Outbrain and Taboola play. Sometimes you can spot the company’s footprint above this section of related content.

It looks like this:

Pricing and bid flexibility

Both Taboola and Outbrain offer native advertising placements on a cost per click (CPC) basis. Outbrain allows bidding in $0.01 increments and offers excellent visualization tools for estimating traffic volume and daily costs based on bids, targeting, and your campaign’s clickthrough rate (CTR).

Taboola allows for bidding in $0.001 increments and, once a campaign is active, allows buyers to modify those bids up and down, at a site level, as much as 50% of the baseline CPC bid. This is not an optimization feature that Outbrain offered at the time of writing and, while it may seem like a small difference, for direct response advertisers, the added flexibility around bidding and optimization can have dramatic results on cost per acquisition (CPA) outcomes.

Publisher-level bidding and optimization is a huge advantage of Taboola over Outbrain.

Quality and performance

When reviewing Outbrain and Taboola performance side by side, looking at the specific websites where your content appears, you will notice a marked difference in the brand recognition of the publishers that work with Outbrain. This isn’t to throw Taboola’s publishers under the bus, but you won’t find publishers like Reuters, CNN, Fox News, and The Washington Post working with Taboola. You will see these well-recognized brands and publications in the Outbrain network.

Still, these high-profile publishers can be a double-edged sword. If you are a brand-sensitive company relying on softer success metrics (e.g. traffic and engagement), or a company that generally prefers the name recognition and is willing to pay for it, Outbrain could be the right choice. On the other hand, if you are 100% focused on direct response advertising and return on your investment in the form of sales, Taboola could be a stronger fit for you. Their long-tail network of websites and additional bidding flexibility is often going to yield better CPAs.

It’s worth testing both platforms, but businesses with limited ad budgets should know about this key difference.

User experience

There is a more dramatic difference between Taboola and Outbrain when it comes to the usability of the dashboard. Even though Taboola often performs better for direct response and conversion-focused companies, Outbrain’s user interface is faster, more intuitive and better visually organized. It offers more data at-a-glance and provides a much easier-to-use ad builder (they call it “uploading content”) that includes import and export features, which save time and improve accuracy. There is also a convenient drag-and-drop interface for uploading new images.

Comparatively, Taboola’s user experience feels old. It is difficult to change certain targeting settings and it can be tedious to upload new ads. You cannot see certain ad creative stats and make changes to active ad creatives from the same screen. It can also be difficult to change specific targeting settings at the line item level.

The lack of CSV upload features for ad optimization is a shortcoming of both platforms. Taboola and Outbrain both require a “hunt and peck” approach for optimization. As an agency we’re excited to usher in new features that would allow buyers to manage optimization offline or via third party tools, e.g. via Excel, and import via CSV or make changes via API.

Other optimization tips and final thoughts

Perhaps the most critical part of optimizing Taboola and Outbrain campaigns is to build custom site lists. If you are spending more than $20,000 a month on either Taboola or Outbrain, you’ve probably discovered that 20% of the publishers you buy from are driving 80% of the conversions.

When you build custom site lists, you can focus more spend on sites that perform well and better optimize bids for the 20% of sites that drive the majority of your success. This leaves the non-custom site list line items open for prospecting new sites, and you can bid less on these line items as you no longer need to keep bids high enough to ensure traffic from those best-performing 20% of publishers.

Through careful examination of each publisher broadcasting your ads, and rigorous optimization by publisher, you can make your investment with Taboola or Outbrain super efficient.

Looking for an agency that specializes in content promotion platforms like Taboola and Outbrain? Learn more about Clever Zebo’s expertise with Taboola and Outbrain campaign optimization.

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How Clever Zebo boosted a clothing retailer’s sales from Facebook Ads by 530%

January 9, 2017

We’re starting this year off with a look back at one of the great successes of 2016.

We learned a lot through optimizing a young but aspiring Facebook Ads account for an eCommerce brand that sells customizable men’s clothing.

I’m proud to say that within only a month, we managed to:

  • Increase conversion volume by 530%
  • Reduce CPA by 47%
  • Boost conversion rate by 347%

*Data was pulled from a 30-day “before and after” window.

How did weRead more…

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We’re starting this year off with a look back at one of the great successes of 2016.

We learned a lot through optimizing a young but aspiring Facebook Ads account for an eCommerce brand that sells customizable men’s clothing.

I’m proud to say that within only a month, we managed to:

  • Increase conversion volume by 530%
  • Reduce CPA by 47%
  • Boost conversion rate by 347%

*Data was pulled from a 30-day “before and after” window.

How did we do it?

Our initial Facebook Analytics review showed us two things:

1)  The 55-64 age segment was the best performing, followed by 45-54.

os-age

The 55-64 segment is the best performing, with a 49% higher conversion rate than the runner-up (93% certainty). The 25-34 and 65+ greatly underperformed against top segments.

2)  Although the majority of spend was focused on the ‘Mobile News Feed’ placement, the ‘Desktop News Feed’ placement was the top performer by a substantial margin.

fb-data-1

The ‘Desktop News Feed’ placement had a 260% higher conversion rate and an $184.81 lower CPA than the ‘Mobile News Feed’ placement (statistically significant).

We optimized each campaign as informed by these observations, and then immediately:

  • Launched a Lookalike campaign
  • Launched a Remarketing campaign
  • Put in place aggressive creative and copy A/B tests
  • Updated the account to Facebook’s new universal tracking pixel and standard events
  • Tested automatic and conversion optimized bid strategies

Thirty days later, our client was fired up to see more than a fivefold increase in sales from the Facebook Ads program. No fooling: it didn’t jump from 2 orders to 10 orders. The campaigns started out with a respectable five-figure budget and were humming in the vicinity of 500 high-ticket orders by month’s end.

The upswing was accompanied by a nice conversion rate bump, and we were able to cut the cost of acquiring a customer in half.

If you’re looking to scale and optimize Facebook Ads or other paid social advertising for your business, shoot us a note: igor@cleverzebo.com.

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