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Advertising: Why it matters where you get your readers

We’ve advertised on lots of platforms throughout the years, particularly on Facebook and in other newsletters.

There’s a stark contrast between the two:

  • On Facebook, quantity is high—but quality is low. Although our cost per acquisition on Facebook has often been lower than newsletter partnerships, the cost per engaged reader is much higher. People coming from Facebook are less likely to be the type of people.
  • With newsletters, quality is high—but quantity is low. Newsletter partnerships don’t always net you hundreds or thousands of new readers. And, there are only a limited number of relevant newsletters to advertise in. But, when we have advertised in highly-relevant newsletters, we’ve seen an influx of readers who genuinely want to read the stuff we write.

The takeaway? It matters where you get your readers.

While it’s easy to say “Hey, a reader’s a reader,” it’s not really true.

For us, partnering with other newsletters has been a more reliable source of readers who stay subscribed and read frequently.

It makes sense, too: If we advertise in another marketing newsletter, we’re getting people who are a) interested in marketing content, and b) already read newsletters.

The odds that a person coming from Facebook will be equally as interested in reading newsletters as someone we already know reads newsletters…

Well, they just aren’t good odds.

Insight: Keep an eye out for where your readers are coming from, and ask yourself what that source says about those readers. Are they really the type of people you want reading your content?

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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