Writer Wednesday: Facebook vs. Goodreads Ads Experiment Part II


Two Wednesdays ago, I wrote a blog post where I shared my limited experience with running ads on Facebook and Goodreads, Writer Wednesday:  Goodreads vs Facebook Ads – an Experiment, and got a lot of great comments!

My ad has now been running for over three weeks on Facebook and two and a half on Goodreads, and still, hands-down, Goodreads has been the better option. I still haven’t garnered a single click on my Facebook ads. And only 1231 views since Jan 3! I’ve now spent $4.10 on Goodreads and my ad has had over 63,000 views, and 41 clicks!

I also wanted to share some of the helpful tips left in the comments, including a clarification from a Goodreads representative.

Peter Salomon shared a great tip, which I’ve now seen for myself – add a great review blurb!

He said that when he got a great succinct quote from a reputable reviewer, he changed his ad and the clicks and adds skyrocketed. I went ahead and changed mine, and yep, it out performs my book blurb ad by more than half, in both clicks and adds.


To be fair, I changed my Facebook campaign to have this quote too, and still zip… The consensus from the comments in my first post seemed to be that we’ve now been trained over the last several years to ignore those ads because they’re now non-relevant to our daily lives. This is a shame, because I remember in the early days that this wasn’t the case. Oh, well.

Within Goodreads, author targeted vs. genre targeted

This is interesting. My views are abysmal for author targeted (probably because I’m only paying .10/click) BUT when it does get seen, it outperforms the new ad with the quote by almost double! I need to add an author-targeted one with a quote and see what that double whammy produces! And maybe bump up my cost per click a tad for just that ad.

So, Goodreads is the place to advertise

Based on my limited experience, and from the comments the post garnered. Makes sense, given that it’s a place for readers to congregate and learn about books, so they do NOT mind seeing relevant book ads. One commenter pointed out that this could all change if Goodreads begins showing non-book ads and we again, like on Facebook, become trained to ignore that side of the page.

Clarification on who sees the GR ad

Margo from Goodreads stopped by several days later and left a very helpful comment clarifying who sees the ad. She says:

When you target genres or authors you are targeting users who have those genres/authors on their shelves. So if one of our users has one of your genres or authors on their shelf they will see your ad throughout the site. However it is a good idea to only target authors OR genres otherwise your user has to have both on their shelf and it becomes too limiting.

She also left this link to a Best Practices document! Thanks Margo!

Thanks for everyone who commented. Did I leave out anything? Have you started your ad on GR because of my earlier post, and has it done anything for you?


18 Replies to “Writer Wednesday: Facebook vs. Goodreads Ads Experiment Part II”

  1. Thanks for posting this follow-up blog post, Angela! Quoting a review is a great idea and I can see how it would be enticing. I love reading articles like this – there is so much to learn. 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this info. I’ve been doing research on Google ads and Goodreads both. Trying to make up my mind about trying them. I’ll share my info with you when I do.
    Write on,
    Teresa R.

    1. I would highly recommend GR over Google, only because your target audience is there, BUT since it won’t cost you to do Google either, that might be a good comparison to do! Keep me posted 🙂 and good luck!

  3. Angie, I decided to experiment with pricing just to see what would happen after reading your post and seeing how you were experimenting. Clicks skyrocketed as I incrementally adjusted the cost per click upwards on Goodreads, I stopped at 0.75 a click since I was approaching my budget but I was gratified to see how the higher price did, indeed, produce a higher return. I then incrementally adjusted downwards to see what would happen and the numbers adjusted accordingly. I’m not sure what would happen higher than 0.75 but I’m sure the numbers would go up. All in all, I’m quite satisfied with the Goodreads ad (even approaching 5 months post-publication release date) for such a low cost. I think it also helps to have a Goodreads rating number over 4 (approaching 100 ratings and still above 4) so that when people do look up HENRY FRANKS they see such positive numbers. All in all, I feel as though Goodreads is a great place for authors and readers. I’m just nervous they’ll tweak their ads to follow the Facebook monetizing process turning their ads into spam.

    1. Thanks Pete for your update too!! This is really interesting, as I just thought it’d affect only amount of views, but it makes sense, the more it’s seen, the more chance someone will like it and click. Based on your comment, I went in and upped my ads with my quote a little bit …

  4. Awesome tips, Angela. I’m certainly going to give this a try when I’m ready. Also, I love Goodreads and use it as a reader myself, so I’ve seen the effects of the ads and I can say I look at the ads on GR far more than those on FB. I know the ads on GR will be for books, for one (which I’m already interested in), and that I may be interested in the particular books in the ads because of what I have on my shelf. So all of this makes sense to me.

  5. I love hearing more about these ads. Still not surprised GR outperforms FB.

    I did have a question about one thing you said, though. You said, “My views are abysmal for author targeted . . . BUT when it does get seen, *it* outperforms the new ad with the quote by almost double!”

    So are you saying you didn’t update your ad on the author-targeted ads with the review? And that the old, quote-less, author-targeted ad still performs better than the new, quoted, genre-targeted ad?

    1. Thanks for stopping by Jordan!

      Yep, the one that is author-targeted, but without the review, has a click-through-rate of 14% compared to the genre ad w/quote, which is 9%. I just added today (after this post) an author-targeted w/quote ad, so we’ll see how that does….

        1. What I love about GR, is that you don’t have to limit yourself with one ad, I’ve got 4 of these running under the same campaign, so I’m not spending separate money on each. If one does well and another doesn’t, it’s okay. Oddly, yesterday, the one without the quote did really well and outperformed the one with quote, but that’s the only day that’s ever happened.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.