Do Goodreads Ads Sell Books?


Determining the Effectiveness of Goodreads’ PPC Ad Program

Goodreads, the world’s largest community of book lovers, offers pay-per-click (PPC) ads as part of their self-serve advertising platform. They argue that they offer “advertisers integrated advertising and promotional programs to reach our highly affluent and educated audience of book readers.” While this sounds promising to authors and publishers alike, the question remains – are Goodreads ads effective?

The Case Study – Author Jennifer Bresnick

To avoid internal biases, we turned to a fantastic and fair experiment by author Jennifer Bresnick. In her study, Jennifer tests the overall Goodreads effectiveness of a PPC ad and a giveaway for her book  Dark the Night Descending. While we highly recommend you read the full study, the results are summarized here:

Self-Serve Goodreads Ad – With an ad budget of $30, Jennifer set her daily cap at $7 but later increased it to $15 to escalate her ad’s visibility. Unfortunately, the ad was only clicked on 9 times (click through rate of 0.9%) with nobody buying the book.

Book Giveaway – Jennifer ran a giveaway prior to her book’s release that received 765 entries for 5 free books with 365 people adding the book to their “to read” shelf. Jennifer says, “Getting physical books into the hands of readers is a much more powerful connection than any ad could ever be… You’d probably be better off spending your cash on physical promotional items or book copies.”

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The Conclusion

After consulting with authors who have spent hundreds on Goodreads ads, we believe that money should be spent on promotional activities that are most likely to put an author’s book (and their brand) into the hands and minds of their consumer. This is why, like Jennifer, we prefer to run Goodreads giveaways for our clients such as Dr. Annika Sörensen  whose giveaway received 900 entries. While there may be an additional cost associated with shipping each book, the positive reviews and recommendations via word-of-mouth are priceless and form the foundation of a long-term relationship .

If you’re looking for assistance with your Goodreads marketing efforts, please get in touch with us to arrange a personal consultation.

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