After strengthening its ad revenue arm, Quora shifts gears to focus on subscription revenue from Poe

Poe is Quora's gateway to selected AI bots, allowing people to ask questions, get instant answers, and have back-and-forth conversations with several AI-powered bots

Akansha Srivastava
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Vinay Pandey

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New Delhi: Founded in 2009, Quora now has 100 million users from India out of its 400 million global users, up from 50 million in 2022. After strengthening its ad revenue business, the company now aims to build Poe (Platform for Open Exploration) and drive subscription revenue from it.

Living the same philosophy as Quora—answering people’s queries—Poe is Quora's gateway to selected AI bots, allowing people to ask questions, get instant answers, and have back-and-forth conversations with several AI-powered bots.

Launched in early 2023, Poe's growth in usage is evident. 

“Poe is one of our biggest focus areas, both in India and globally. It now has as many users in one year as Quora took six years to grow,” commented Vinay Pandey, Chief Revenue Officer, Quora.

Poe hosts all the major bots, like ChatGPT, GPT-4, Google PaLM, Llama 2 from Meta, Claude, and more. One can use these bots for free to some extent, with premium versions available by subscription. A person can buy up to four subscriptions for Rs 1,669 per month.

“While other companies have single apps, Poe offers a single interface for all the latest AI models. People are creating different types of bots on Poe. For example, there is a bot where you just put the YouTube link, and it will summarise the video in a paragraph for you,” said Pandey.

Earlier in January, Quora secured $75 million from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) to grow Poe. According to various news reports, the question-and-answer website is using these funds to pay millions of AI bot creators on Poe.

Creator monetisation programme on Poe

As part of its creator monetisation strategy, Poe pays bot creators to engage users with their bots. 

There are two main ways creators can earn: they can set a price per message sent to their bots and/or earn per subscription their bots help drive. Creators can control when to show paywalls by customising message limits on each bot. 

They can set a bot’s price per message, earning that amount each time a user messages their bot. Across all types of bots on Poe, Quora has already spent tens of millions of dollars this year on creator payments, and that amount will continue to grow as Poe’s usage increases.

Pandey said that Poe doesn’t need active marketing. Along with Quora’s 400 million user base, word of mouth is the second most powerful tool Quora relies on to promote Poe.

Ad revenue continues to be the bread and butter for Quora

While Quora's new focus is on Poe to drive subscription revenue, ad revenue through Quora remains the company’s bread and butter. 

Quora earns through direct ad placements, content and performance marketing by brands on the platform. 

Quora’s ad revenue is directly proportionate to the visitors and views on the platform, which will only grow through quality answers. 

"Advertising revenue is correlated to the traffic that we get on Quora, and right now, it's growing. Good-quality answers are definitely the biggest drivers of traffic on Quora," said Pandey.

Creator monetisation on Quora

To encourage users to add more quality answers, Quora launched a creator monetisation plan. Creators with over 100,000 views on their content receive a share of the revenue generated by ads placed within their content. 

Two years ago, Quora also introduced Quora+, allowing content creators to put their work behind a paywall. Another way creators can earn on Quora is through Spaces, specific interest communities. People pay for subscriptions to these communities, and Quora shares a portion of the revenue with the creators on Spaces.

Stringent brand safety measures

Pandey then highlighted that one of the reasons brands choose to advertise on the platform is because of its stringent brand safety policies. 

“Advertisers don't have to worry about their content being placed next to any kind of harmful content. We have very transparent user policy guidelines. Additionally, we have partnerships with independent verification companies like DoubleVerify and IAS,” commented Pandey.

In times of fake news and misinformation, Quora employs AI and human moderators to maintain the platform’s authenticity and credibility. 

While Quora has strict policies around copyright, Pandey cautioned that users must have filters and exercise judgment regarding the authenticity of the content they consume online.

Audience profile on Quora

Along with brand safety, brands can target an educated, affluent, and quality audience in an AI-driven, hyper-personalised way on Quora, added Pandey.

Pandey informed that more than 40% of Quora’s audience consists of people pursuing undergraduate studies and that the gender ratio leans slightly towards males.

“Even the income of Quora users is higher than that of the general population in India. With the proliferation of the internet, user behaviour has also become more similar throughout the country,” said Pandey.

Gateway to full-funnel strategy for brands

The real value proposition for brands lies in people seeking answers on Quora, particularly when consumers are in the consideration stage of buying a brand. 

"We do get a lot of brand advertising, but our real value is in the middle and lower funnels, where most of the performance marketing happens," commented Pandey.

"That said, this doesn't undermine the brand-building opportunities on Quora, which is top-of-the-funnel. With our highest-ever traffic and evergreen content, brands can implement a full-funnel strategy on Quora," asserted Pandey.

According to Pandey, the key to effective content marketing for brands on Quora is to be authentic and add value to consumers' lives. Millions of people use Quora every day, making it an ideal platform for businesses looking to increase awareness and deepen relationships with their audience. 

Businesses can create active communities on Quora through business profiles, which are ideal for writing as a brand. 

Unlike user profiles, business profiles allow companies to post answers under their company name, benefiting those using promoted answers for Quora ads. Multiple users can be added as admins, enabling businesses to manage content teams under one profile.

Without shedding much light on Quora's traffic growth in India, Pandey did hint at the reason for the platform’s rise. 

He said, “Quora’s content is mostly evergreen. People answer questions, and their answers tend to accumulate over time.

Eventually, it becomes a big library of content and knowledge. As more and more people search online, they inevitably come to Quora, and traffic continues to increase with overall internet usage.”

Commenting on the importance of the Indian market, Pandey said, “India is one of Quora’s highest traffic markets and adds equally well to our overall revenue. Indian users tend to be much more college-educated with high incomes. They tend to adopt technology much faster and have access to all of the trends. Therefore, India is definitely a market that continues to be important, and we have paid good attention here.”

content brand building Performance Marketing brand safety Quora Creators Poe Chat GPT