Ali Aydar, CEO

Seattle, Washington
One of Sporcle's pub trivia events. People high-fiving at a Sporcle pub trivia event.
Building a world of quizzes

Since 2007, people across the globe have created over 1.4 million quizzes on Sporcle, a media and entertainment website and business focused on trivia. With 100 million page views per month, Sporcle’s popularity has even extended beyond digital, giving way to a pub trivia business.

Founded by Matt Ramme, Sporcle was originally a place intended to allow people to make predictions on sports events. Upon initial launch, the site didn't gain as much traction as Ramme wanted. So, Ramme kept the site’s name - a portmanteau of “sports” and "oracle,” but decided instead to create a quiz about U.S. presidents.

“If you know your presidents, you’re going to get crossword answers, you’re going to do well in Jeopardy,” Ramme explained in a 2016 Sporcle video. The quiz took off and received a big boost in traffic from an online news aggregator.

Person cheering at a Sporcle pub trivia event.
Testing ad strategies for growth

Sporcle has come a long way since its early days, bypassing the 4 billion plays mark in 2021.

The company now operates about 500 live trivia nights per week in bars and restaurants across 29 states and even owns a bar and restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan called Haymaker Public House, which has often functioned as a sort of testing ground for new quiz concepts.

The Sporcle team credits much of their ability to grow to their ads strategy, which enables them to monetize the millions of people visiting their website.

“Programmatic ads are fundamental to our strategy, we would not exist without them,” says Ali Aydar, Sporcle’s CEO since 2010. “We wouldn’t have been able to open a bar or grow our pub trivia business without the success of our programmatic ads business. Those earnings and that foundation continues to put us in a position to make consistent investments across all of our products.”

And while Sporcle now uses a freemium model on the site, continuing to offer a free, ad-supported tier is core to their user experience. “The freemium service is an add-on for super users. Most users are not super users,” explains Ali. “Most users are casual users who come on once a month or once a quarter and engage in our content. But we have to be able to monetize those drive-by users and programmatic ads give us the ability to do that.”

“Programmatic ads are fundamental to our strategy, we would not exist without them.”
Making the right partnership choice

As part of its evolution, Sporcle’s team made the decision to shift from running its own ad stack to partnering with a third party, Media Tradecraft, a Google Channel Partner, to take its ad game to the next level.

Aydar and his team were introduced to Media Tradecraft, a next-generation media services firm that specializes in bespoke digital advertising and monetization services for media companies and publishers.

After a short meeting with the Media Tradecraft team, Aydar knew he had found the right partner. “Their level of understanding about the programmatic ad space is much deeper than anybody else,” he says. “They really take the time to learn the nuance about our particular site.”

As for the future, the Sporcle team is keeping busy: they’re currently rebooting the free Sporcle mobile app to be re-released on iOS and Android and working on taking Sporcle global with language support beyond English to grow an international audience enthusiastic about trivia. In 2023, they’ll pass 5 billion quizzes.

“This is a major milestone for us that we'll be celebrating,” Aydar says.

About the Publisher

Ali Aydar is a computer scientist and entrepreneur. He is one of the pioneers of digital music, playing key roles at path breaking companies. Since 2010, he has been the Chief Executive Officer of Sporcle.
Photo of Ali Aydar