This week, I started an experiment in advertising, by buying an ad on Goodreads. It’s one of those “self-serve” advertisements, something that Goodreads has in beta testing. I’m assuming that because the ads are “self-serve,” they are cheaper than “real” ads. They are also very basic, no-frills ads. I would have liked to have put up an attractive ad, perhaps with animation, but of course, that costs a lot more.
First, a disclaimer: I have a strong, general dislike of ads. I’ve never paid much attention to them, whether they were commercials on TV, radio spots, or ads in magazines. When I bring in the Sunday paper, my first step is to separate out all the ads/coupon stuff, and toss them into the recycle bin. I never even look at them.
Since our society effectively functions on advertising, I could almost be considered an enemy of the state. Without those advertisers, there probably would not BE a Sunday paper. Nevertheless, I remain ambivalent, if not downright hostile.
When I ran my own business, I learned early that buying advertising just gave money to the business creating and/or running the ad. The rudest and most belligerent salespeople were the admen, especially those in companies like Pennysaver or ValuePak.
In my experience, advertising only works when you pour thousands (and thousands) of dollars into it, over a long period of time. So, for instance, soft drink companies can saturate the world with ads. They could probably support entire countries with their advertising dollars. My little chef business? Not so much. Despite the fact that I ran ads in local magazines for up to two years (at $300 per quarter), not a single customer came through those ads. My customers came from my website and word of mouth, plus a few from the national association website.
So. Why the heck did I buy a GR ad for my book? I guess I’m ever hopeful. Actually my attitude is, “I can throw away $50 to give it a try, especially during the month of April, while there’s Titanic hype going on all over the world.”
I’ve also bought one ad on Kindleboards, to run on April 17. I’ll report on that one after the fact.
The GR ad has been running since Monday or Tuesday. It’s one of those “pay per click” ads, where I pay a set amount every time someone clicks on the ad. Goodreads sends me a daily report on how the ad is doing. Let me give you hard numbers:
So far, my ad has been viewed 4,062 times. I think this means that it has shown up that many times on people’s computer screens. There is no way to judge whether anybody actually saw the thing. If any of those people are like me, they didn’t.
In this time, there has been one (1) click on the ad. One. Don’t break the gates down, folks.
Slightly more heartening, is the statistic that 25 people have added the book to their To-Read list.
You might think I’m getting the best of everything here. I’ve only paid for one click, but have 25 prospective customers. I do like that. After all, it’s not the ad I want people to see. It’s the book.
But there’s a downside to no clicks. The ad appears more frequently the higher the number of clicks. If no one clicks on the ad, it may only appear a few times a day. This is a downward spiral to nothingness, and I’ve essentially just given Goodreads a donation. This is why I won’t throw hundreds or thousands of dollars into advertising. As I said earlier, the main beneficiary is always the ad company. In this case, that’s Goodreads.
So I’m watching how it goes. In the meantime, if you see the ad on Goodreads, please click on it, even if you have the book. You’ll be ensuring that someone else will see it, and I’d appreciate that. Oh, and let me know that you saw it. Feedback is always welcome!