I’ve made no bones about the fact that marketing is something I don’t understand.  Oh, I have as much economics training as the next Associates Degree holder, but to be honest, I only know enough to know I don’t know what I’m doing.

My idea is to create a marketing journal.  I’ll track what I try and how it works.  Then I realized others might be interested in seeing what I’m doing.  Maybe they know how to do it better and will help a guy out, or maybe they’re like I am, and this will help them at least be as successful as I’ve been.

This is my first entry under this Marketing Journal tag, and I don’t know how often or regularly I’ll post these.  Most marketing campaigns have some sort of cost associated with it, and money just isn’t a thing I have.

I noticed Goodreads has started an add campaign system a while ago, so I thought I’d give it a try.

How it works:  Well, if I can figure it out, it’s pretty easy.  You start by clicking here.  It’s the summary and description of how it works in general.

target-418917_960_720Like I said, advertising usually costs money.  For this campaign, I set a limit of $50.  For anyone smarter than me:  is it completely unreasonable to think the money you invest in campaigning should at least result in the same amount earned in sales?  What’s the ration of profits earned against advertising dollars?  For me, I would consider this a gain if I simply get 50 people to add my book to their TBR lists.  I’d be ecstatic if I sold 50 copies of my book.  But I need to be told if that’s just a pipe dream.

I have a daily cap set at $5 a day.  That cap is based on my Cost Per Click.  I established my Cost Per Click originally at $0.5.  So when I started, if 10 people clicked my link, I wouldn’t get any more clicks, but I wouldn’t lose any more money from my budget.  I’m not sure how big a deal that is to be honest.  My whole campaign is built to end when the $50 I invested runs out, so weather that runs out in a day or a month, I’m not concerned either way.

This is my actual chart that tracks views for the month of September.  All the following images are from my dashboard showing my progress.

Now we come to the part I think might be of interest to those like me.  I set up my add to target women who like a group of genres.  I was very broad, basically clicking any genre my book comes anywhere near to fitting in.  The first day I had 70 views.  The second day I had 73 views.  I didn’t have anyone click my link.  I’ve mentioned before that interaction matters to me.  So I changed it up.  I shifted so the campaign only targeted men.

I’m a man.  I wrote a book I liked.  I wrote a book my best friend and brother in law might like.  But when I looked at Goodreads and Amazon, I realized that the BULK of my sales and 5-Star Reviews were, in fact, from women.  That’s why I chose women first. Watch this:  When I shifted from women to men, my views plummeted from 73 to 22.  I can say I wrote this book for whoever I want, but the fact is, women are more interested in my book than men. I shifted the campaign back to women the next day and ended with 100 views.  After four days, I had 165 views, but no clicks.  Time to switch it up.

Goodreads also has a feature that allows you to target people who rated a group of Authors.  So if I select authors I think my book is like, anyone who gave all of those authors 3 or more stars will see my add.   This is awesome.  I chose Dean Koontz, Christopher Golden, Mike Molina, James Patterson and Dan Wells.

I had 23 views.

My theory is that the list of authors I gave is very broad.  Only two come any where near each other, and even that is a stretch.  So if only a small percentage of people read that combination, it reduces my reach.  Now, this would have been fine if those 23 views also mean 23 clicks, but it didn’t.  In the interest of science, I switched it from women who liked those authors to men.  Again, I dropped to 16.  Still no clicks.

So I changed my approach.  I switched my audience to women again.  Then I went back to genres.  This time, I reduced the number of genres to those I felt BEST represented Bob.  I chose Ebooks, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, and Thriller.

october-viewsIn one day, I received 3,562 views.  I  also received 3 clicks.  Two people added me to their TBR lists.  The next day I received 3,362 views and one click.  I was very happy with the views and the clicks were improving.

The help section in Goodreads recommends if you want to increase your click through percentage (CTR) (percent of people who click your link from those who view your add) to change the add summary.  At this point, my add was an image of the cover with the following:  “Dead Like Me meets Supernatural.  A story about life from the perspective of those who watch over the dying.”  In an effort to increase that CTR, I changed it to, “Dead Like Me meets Supernatural.  A substitute teacher must collect the souls of the dying.  How does one live, when his real job is death?”

october-clicks-1Whenever you change your ad, it takes a few days for Goodreads to approve your ad.  So my ad shut down for a few days until it was approved.  When it came back up, I received 2,720 views, but no clicks.  I’m going to let this campaign run for a few more days with these settings.  If I don’t get back above 3,000 views, or I don’t get any clicks, I’ll go back to the original add and see if those numbers climb back up.

That’s where I’m at right now.  I’ve had 10,040 views and 4 clicks for a CTR of .04%.  (Goodreads says the results span from .05-.5, so if I can get to .25, I’ll call that a solid first time average).

current-add-lookI hope this helps those trying to figure out ways to reach viewers.  Of all the campaigns I’ve tried outside of conventions, this is one I feel best about because I already know I’m getting my add in front of interested readers.  That’s priceless to me.  Facebook and Twitter adds can be refined to interests, but people are finicky.  I would not call someone who likes Harry Potter  a fan of Fantasy.  The reading of one book doesn’t make you a fan of genre.  I’ve read two romance novels.  I hate romance.  I actually liked one of those books.  I read it because I wanted to learn from the structure and style.   Any genre is the same really in that regard.  BUT, to be able to target readers who like those genres or the authors those book match is awesome!  I’ll keep you all posted in how this goes.

Until then, thanks for reading,


16 thoughts on “Marketing Journal: Goodreads Campaign

    1. I’m glad it was useful. I’ll keep updating. Sometimes it’s hard though because I’m trying to understand why something is happening. But I’ll try to keep people in the loop. Thank you so much for stopping by. I look forward to reading my next chapter of Crevlock. (I started late, so I’m behind a lot…That’s good though because it gives me something to look forward to.)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for writing this, Matt. I consider it a personal favor. I remember you mentioning this to me and saying, “Please write a post about this,” and here it is. This whole process is very interesting to me. I haven’t spent as much time with Goodreads as I should. I haven’t even linked my blog to it (which is likely very foolish, but something I haven’t taken the time to figure out).

    We’ve talked about utilizing some of the features within Facebook before. How has this compared to those mechanisms? My assumption is Goodreads should be more specific to a target audience. But I also wonder about the numbers game. Again, assuming there are more users on Facebook than on Goodreads. I also know numbers don’t always equal results. It’s the whole followers versus true followers argument on Twitter we’ve talked about before.

    Regardless, thanks for sharing this with us! I really do appreciate it.


    1. I appreciate you stopping by. That post is a win, but this week with Goodreads has been a loss. What I know is I’m reaching the people I want to. I’m no longer reaching NEARLY as many people as I was (despite having the same target audience), nor am I getting any “TBR” clicks or clicks, despite increasing my click rate bid. I’m still confident THIS is better than FB, but I’m still certain I’m just using this tool wrong. I’ll keep working with it and researching to determine how to be successful. I saw Tim’s post on FB, and the fact that I only have one book out has been a mistake I can’t recover from for a long time (OH Caught..please be out soon). At this time, I’m feeling THIS is a better tool, but I still don’t know how to use it. I hope this blog inspires communication from those who have it down as well as helps those avoid the mistakes I seem determined to make.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought it was a really interesting insight to use Goodreads as a testing platform to figure out the best hook to sell the book on Amazon. That made a lot of sense to me. I honestly need to spend more time figuring this all out. I’m a little limited right now as I don’t have author accounts for those social media avenues. That is all in the works. I will strive to be as transparent as you are being with information. Thanks again for sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting, it seems like so much gamesmanship… basic fact, whatever you have to do to get visibility is good. Because no matter how they open the cover, reviews are their opinion on the book once they read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I’m most interested in people reading. Reviews are an immense help. I’ve sold some 240 books, but I only have about 20 reviews to show for it. Honestly, For me, it’s about keeping myself out there and keeping the book visible. I’ll keep trying new things until I see what has the most positive effect. It is gamesmanship, but I see this in photography as well. We can be the best authors in the world, but none of it matters if no one knows we exist.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, as long as you look cool doing it!!! 😛 Okay, on a serious note… that was what I meant by the gamesmanship. If it gets you out there, it is good. And if they buy the book, don’t ask for a refund, then consider it a 5 star!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. HA! I totally get it. I’m happiest when I see someone on a return trip (like at a second convention) and they tell me how much the liked it. I got an email not too long ago that made me feel like the king of the world. Anything that gets another reader is perfect.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is great! I didn’t even know that Goodreads offered a PPC model, but honestly, I didn’t look very hard at their services until now, so thanks for the recommendation 🙂 I have a few thoughts if you don’t mind…

    From running PPC campaigns through Taboola and Outbrain, I will say that you won’t see complete return on investment for some time. PPC ads are designed to get your content in front of people, and in my experience a 0.03%-0.06% CTR is average. Higher than 0.10% is uncommonly good, but 0.50% CTRs will likely be anomalous.

    I’m not sure how Goodreads’ system works, since it’s such a niche audience, but both Taboola and Outbrain recommend campaigns of at least 2-3 weeks. PPC campaigns often jump out to fast starts and then level off over the course of a month or so. If you can set a daily cap (say, $5) to run a single, targeted campaign for 10 days (for your $50 campaign), you’ll likely see more consistency in your data, and it will be easier to compare different datasets. (For instance, a 10-day campaign targeting women vs a 10-day campaign targeting men.)

    I think it is also much more difficult to project any immediate ROI for a PPC campaign. I don’t have the study in front of me, but most marketers toss out a stat to this effect: On average, a potential customer will visit your platform/website up to 7 times before buying anything. So those 4 clicks you’ve seen will definitely not equate 4 sales right away. Assuming that each of those 4 users was seeing your book for the first time, it may take each one multiple more visits to your profile or website before they make a buying decision.

    That’s probably discouraging, and I don’t mean for it to be! 10,000 views means that many more sets of eyes on your book than you otherwise would have had. It will take more investment to turn those views into sales, but PPC ads are designed to get your content in front of as many people as possible, and the more often they see it, the more likely they are to click, to visit your website, to engage with your content, and eventually, hopefully, to read your book.

    I might as well post this on my site at this point 😀 Hope that all makes sense. Can’t wait to see how your campaigns progress!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DUDE! (Matt’s exclamation of immense appreciation) That was AWESOME! PLEASE post that (OK, I think I’m done with all caps), but that was fantastic. I’m absolutely going to keep up this journal and keep trying different things. You’re officially my marketing mentor! You throw up that blog, and I’ll reblog it and work it into my marketing attempts and journals. I’ve already tried a few different things. I’ll have to make time to update the journal when I find time. Thank you so much for stopping by and dropping that information. I legitimately feel 10 times smarter for having read this reply.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha thank you! And you’re extremely welcome 🙂 I promise I have a post for PPC campaigns planned for late November (and one for SEO next week, since you had mentioned that recently). But seriously, you have my email. Drop me a line any time if you have questions or just want me to have a look at your data. I love looking at these numbers, and I’m already planning my own PPC campaigns for next year!!

        Liked by 1 person

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