Goodreads Blog

Getting the Most Out of the New Native Ads on Goodreads Newsfeed

Posted by Steve on September 6, 2016
At Goodreads, we’re committed to being on the forefront of book discovery and brand advertising solutions for publishers and authors. Among our most anticipated new ad products this year has been “native” ads on our newsfeed and we’re excited to share some very powerful results from the first months of activity, along with five best practices gleaned from our initial campaigns.

What makes native ads so powerful on the Goodreads Newsfeed


To be an effective environment for native ads, newsfeeds must offer context, targeting, and, most importantly, scale. When it comes to reaching readers, the Goodreads newsfeed is the largest digital conversation dedicated to reading and books.

The newsfeed is where our millions of monthly logged-in members first arrive both on desktop and with their phone or tablet to engage with their friends and people they follow. To connect you with these passionate readers, Goodreads has the advantage of massive scale combined with our unique and proven targeting offering a powerful platform to bring native newsfeed ads to market.

Since we introduced our improved native ads in the first quarter of 2016, average click through rates (CTR) and engagement of these ads are nearly 3X higher than our typical, already-strong-performing display ads. Native ads on the Desktop have seen 2.3X higher CTR than a standard 300X250 display ad, and native ads on Mobile are 2.8X higher than a standard 320X50 placement.

Native Newsfeed Ads — Best Practices


While measuring the overall effectiveness of native newsfeed ads, we’ve also seen some clear signals on what works best to drive high engagement:

  • Using custom copy vs. default book descriptions perform better.
  • Custom copy should read like an authentic Goodreads review and include quotes.
  • Including mentions of any awards or bestselling lists status helps increase interest and engagement.
  • Avoiding “salesy” ad copy and redundant calls to action such as “add to shelf” also improve performance.

Some examples of native ads that have performed well


Crown Publishing’s smart use of quotes in the ad copy for Erik Larson’s Dead Wake drove strong engagement and intention. Seth Morris, Assistant Director, Advertising and Promotions, Crown Publishing, said, “We realized that placing a book in front of a highly targeted audience when they are focused on connecting with friends about what they are reading is the key strength of native ads on Goodreads.

We decided to experiment with native ads for the paperback edition of Dead Wake and were pleased to see that the campaign drove a significant amount of adds by Goodreads members to their “Want to Read” shelves. Even better, thanks to how all of these “Want to Read” adds were then shared in the updates feed of their friends, we generated social notifications about Dead Wake that amplified the effect of the native ad.”

Penguin Young Readers also saw great results with their native ads to promote the YA title Summerlost. Erin Toller, Associate Director Advertising & Consumer Marketing, Penguin Young Readers said, “We knew that it was important to create a native ad that felt a natural part of the updates feed. Incorporating actual reviews from Goodreads users added credibility to this title as Goodreads members really trust reviews on Goodreads–we saw excellent click-thru rates as a result! We plan on including Native Ads in future media buys on Goodreads.”

This example from iUniverse promoting The Siren illustrates the use of calling out “bestselling” status in the native copy:

These results show that including Goodreads newsfeed ads in your overall marketing mix is an effective way to reach readers and drive the best results for your book.

If you are interested in learning more about running a native ad campaign on Goodreads, please visit our advertising page to learn more and get in touch.

Next: The Successful Marketing Behind the Debut Novel Lilac Girls

You might also like: Goodreads Deals: A New Way to Promote EBooks to Millions of Goodreads Members

Goodreads Authors can subscribe to the Monthly Author Newsletter by editing their account settings.

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Jayne These examples are all about "bestselling" authors. What about everybody else?


message 2: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon Hi Kimberly! We share lots of different content here to help authors navigate the marketing tools on Goodreads. Be sure to subscribe to the Author Newsletter for additional tips and best practices for authors. We also host monthly Office Hours where you can our team specific questions--dates and times in the Author Newsletter.


message 3: by Katie (new)

Katie Kaleski So on the advertising page it says self-serve and direct. Since in the article it says get in touch with you regarding native ads, does that mean it falls under direct advertising? I'm just unsure what the term native ads means.


message 4: by Steve, Goodreads employee (new)

Steve Sarner Katie wrote: "So on the advertising page it says self-serve and direct. Since in the article it says get in touch with you regarding native ads, does that mean it falls under direct advertising? I'm just unsure ..." Thanks for your comment and question Katie! You are correct, our Native Newsfeed Ads are a direct advertising product. The term refers to the ad placement being integrated into the Goodreads Newsfeed in a “native” fashion vs. a display ad on the top or side of the page.


message 5: by Katie (new)

Katie Kaleski Steve wrote: "Katie wrote: "So on the advertising page it says self-serve and direct. Since in the article it says get in touch with you regarding native ads, does that mean it falls under direct advertising? I'..."
Awesome. Thanks so much for the clarification.


message 6: by Steve, Goodreads employee (new)

Steve Sarner Katie wrote: "Steve wrote: "Katie wrote: "So on the advertising page it says self-serve and direct. Since in the article it says get in touch with you regarding native ads, does that mean it falls under direct a..."
My pleasure - thanks for writing! :)


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