Finding effective ways to target mobile users with relevant ads continues to be a critical challenge for advertisers. While no one has cracked the code yet, Qriously, which bills itself as an “opinion startup,” is approaching the problem with a modern twist on surveys.
The startup sends in-app questions to smartphone users, and based on their answers, delivers an ad to them. Founded in 2010, Qriously has partnerships with ad exchanges like Nexage and MoPub, allowing it to reach approximately 300 million people on their mobile devices. The company is based in New York City and London, and has raised $5.1 million to date. Its investors include Spark Capital and Accel Partners.
The company has worked with brands like Microsoft, Fidelity Investments, Samsung and Unilever, and has served more than 200 million questions to date.
For a campaign around the Lexus CT Hybrid, for example, the media agency ZenithOptimedia used Qriously to send 25,000 consumers who were in the market for a new car a question that appeared on a number of apps: What will your next car be? The choices were “hybrid,” “petrol” and “diesel.” Those who chose hybrid saw a banner ad for the car on their phone. The campaign led to a 31.7% relative lift and 7.27% increase in intent to test drive the Lexus CT, claimed Qriously.
The key to getting people to provide answers is to pose questions that pique their interest, explained Joe Zahtila, GM of North America and Commercial EVP for Qriously. “Only consumers interested in the question topic will answer and that's by design,” Zahtila said. “There are volumes of research designed to uncover why consumers answer questions and it mainly boils down to people like to give their opinion when they have one. Seeing how your opinions compare with others' as well as seeing ads relevant to your expressed interests is a bonus.”
Allowing people to choose ads that are more likely to interest them is an effective strategy, agrees Michael Lentz, principal and co-founder of ad agency Vert Mobile. “When advertising is helping to monetize content and users choose to watch a particular ad in exchange for the content they’re interested in, I think that’s smart since they’re going to be a little more attuned to the ad instead of forcing a pre-roll ad on them,” he said.
Vert Mobile also works with Qriously, and tapped the startup to help it deliver travel-related questions and ads for a client. While Lentz said he was unable to discuss campaign details, he noted that the client is launching another campaign through Qriously, and other clients are exploring the company’s question-based ads as well.
Ads based on declared intent are gaining traction, Lentz noted. “Advertising is certainly not going away but it will get more targeted based on declared intent,” Lentz predicted. “And with the war on cookies, I believe individuals would be more comfortable telling us what they’re interested in, such as by answering questions or choosing ads, instead of us taking information without them knowing about it.”