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Does advertising on Goodreads work? My first step into their self-serve ad system shows promise. I know there’s interest in the writing community about advertising on Goodreads, so I thought I’d share the results of my first (ten bucks!) campaign.

I advertised two middle grade books in my Shirley Link series. The campaign started 12-6-2012.

While I’m somewhat pleased with the overall views, I can’t measure the actual sales since Amazon and BN.com are black boxes. I plan on making my own landing page for sales so I can measure conversion next time! Sigh. I knew that, but I didn’t account for it. No soup for me!

I targeted one ad using genres and authors as filters. I used no targeting for the other ad. The ctr was higher for the targeted ad (.01 vs. .02).

daily cap $2.00
total credit purchased $10.00 transactions
total views 116,129
total clicks 20
ctr for all time 0.02%
cpc for all time $0.50

The ten bucks started to go quickly, but after a couple of days it dropped to a trickle. I probably wouldn’t have spent the whole ten bucks if I hadn’t redone the creative on one book, including copy. I also adjusted the link for the ad and made it point to my Goodreads page, and not to my books’ Amazon pages. That simple move seems to have pushed it over the top and my ten bucks quickly got spent. Another benefit of linking to Goodreads page is that I saw a spike in my books being added to Goodreads shelves. It implies that the Goodreads community likes to stay on the site. It also implies (though I have no proof) that Goodreads gives preferential treatment to ads that link to their book pages, and not someone else’s.

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[blockquote author_name=”” width=”50%” float=”left”]My goals for next campaign:

Get a full half percent ctr (you read that right! .5, not .05!)

Track my custom sales page![/blockquote]

[blockquote author_name=”” width=”50%” float=”left”]Lessons learned:

Make a product/landing page that you can track!

Target the ad, but not too strictly. Limiting it to a few genres and several authors is a good place to start.

Adjust the ad when the views drop. Change the copy and graphic, if possible.

For first-timers/dabblers advertising on Goodreads: If you don’t have a landing page of your own where you can sell the book directly, then point the ad to your Goodreads page, NOT an online retailer. Since it’s probably really attractive to link to the online retailers (just to see what happens) I’d wait to do it on your second campaign. That way you can spot your own ad’s performance and adjust around the most important part…the conversion![/blockquote]

Read Part 2 of this series

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