Which Types of Reviews Are Most Effective? Let’s Discuss!

January 25, 2018 Let's Discuss 73

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I do a mixture of reviews on my blog, and I sometimes feel what types are the most effective. So, I decided to do a little analysis. WARNING: I make no claims here about my scientific skills. I tried to crunch some numbers, but I did this more as a fun exercise than a scientific query. Keep that in mind!

I looked at all the reviews I posted in 2017 and did a little comparison.

First off, let me tell you what types of reviews I compared:

  • Bite-Sized Reviews: This is where I review four or five books in one post, and each review is (relatively) short. I don’t use bullet points or anything. I just talk about my impressions of the book. (I never have a giveaway with these.)
  • “Regular” Reviews: One review per post (sometimes two, if the books are in a series). I use bullet points to show the things I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy about the book. These reviews are generally longer and more thorough than the bite-sized reviews. There are two types of these:
    • Reviews with Giveaway: These are usually for a blog tour and include a giveaway.
    • Reviews without Giveaway: Just what they sound like. Usually not tours (though occasionally there’s a tour that doesn’t have a giveaway).
  • “Special” Reviews: This is where I included something interesting, like a poem or a storyboard. I also included dual reviews in this (where I reviewed the book with someone else). I only had a few of these, but I thought it would be interesting to check them out too.

COMMENTS

I looked at comments initially. At first glance, I thought that my bite-sized reviews were actually getting more comments than any other type of review. But then I realized those results were being exaggerated by the fact that my replies were being counted too. And when I averaged out comments over the past year, I found that they were all relatively even. 

VIEWS

Then I decided to take a look at views for each type of posts. Once I got over my sadness at the small number of views that reviews get in general, I took a look at the numbers and found that the variance was a little different in terms of views than it was for comments.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

  • Reviews with giveaways get the most views and almost the same number of comments as the other types.
  • Bite-sized reviews get more views and very slightly more comments than regular reviews (so I shouldn’t feel bad about putting a book that I receive for review into a bite-sized review post!).
  • My “special” reviews tended to get more comments, but a little less views than a regular review (but there were so few of these that I don’t know that these numbers mean much).

Now, of course, the type of book makes a HUGE difference for these stats and I couldn’t figure out an easy way to crunch numbers for that.

  • I found that self-pubbed or indie books got way less views and comments when posted on their own, especially with no giveaway (and they probably brought the “regular” average down). These books are probably better off when I put them into bite-sized reviews.
  • New releases with lots of hype get more views and comments in general, with or without a giveaway. Putting these books into bite-sized reviews along with lesser known books will probably bring more attention to those lesser-known books as well, at least theoretically.
  • At first I was going to separate out my posts with “Top Ten Addiction” lists from the author, but when I did the averages, that didn’t seem to change the stats really, so I decided to ignore that factor. (I still think they’re fun, even if they don’t bump my numbers!)

One type of review I didn’t include is my Spoiler-Filled Discussions of One Dark Crown. If I had done my two charts including that one post, they would have looked like this:

 

And, actually, my Spoiler-Filled Discussion of Three Dark Crowns (which I didn’t count because it was posted in 2016) got over 100 comments (a lot of them in 2017) and over 10,000 views!! Why haven’t I done more of these? I have no idea. Obviously, I need to.

Take what you will from all of this. I thought it was an interesting exercise. The only thing I might change based on this is not worrying so much about doing full reviews instead of bite-sized reviews. It doesn’t look like people engage with them more, so I shouldn’t worry I’m giving a book the short shrift by not giving it its own post!

Have you ever looked at which types of reviews are most effective on your blog? Do you think your results would match mine? I want to know!

This has been linked up to the Book Blog Discussion Challenge!

73 Responses to “Which Types of Reviews Are Most Effective? Let’s Discuss!”

  1. Rosie Amber

    Very interesting, I can see the lure of reviewing popular books and joining blog tours or doing giveaways from publishers / authors. As long as this fits with what you enjoy reading and your timescale then it can only be good. There are also plenty of book tours to chose from.
    What do you think of the length of some blog tours?
    I must say I get bored seeing posts for the same book over and over, even if they have differing reviews.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I do think it’s nice to participate in shorter blog tours or to have something special on my tour spot (a lot of times I do author Top Ten Addictions, which I love because it’s short enough to hold people’s attention but still a fun add). I don’t do nearly as many tours as I used to, but the giveaways do bring people to the blog. I think it’s all about balance.

  2. Amy S.

    Just a thought. I almost always read your reviews, but I get them in an email. I almost never click to your actual blog because the full post appears in the email. Does this count towards your stats of views? That might affect your numbers.

  3. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog

    Super interesting. I never looked at mine but I wonder. I do find it easier to write shorter reviews for my own sanity. Every now and then I really want to write more and will do a longer review or if it is a blog tour. I am surprised the reviews with giveaways didn’t have even more views. Great post!

  4. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    Just something I’ve noticed with mini reviews on my own blog though is that many people only comment on one or two of the reviews. And I’m the same, I sometimes don’t comment on or even read all the mini reviews. So I feel like those only get more or the same number of comments because there’s more variety, therefore more chances for a person to be interested. I doubt putting popular books into a post with indie books would make much diff on the indie books for this reason :-/ And don’t even get me started on how frustrated it makes me that there’s still a stigma toward indie and self pub books.

    I can def see why giveaways would get more views but maybe not as many comments. But wow, your spoiler review has done amazing!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      That is definitely true, but I find that I DO at least glance at all the mini-reviews in a post and often one catches my eye that I wouldn’t have clicked on by itself. Just the other day, Sam @ We Live and Breathe Books posted a list of mini reviews, two of which I’d either read or planned to read. But it was actually the third book that most caught my eye because she loved it so much—I ended up downloading it from Edelweiss.

      I’m sure it doesn’t ALWAYS work that way, but I’m happy to give a little extra exposure to those books that wouldn’t have it otherwise. 🙂

  5. Tina

    I have noticed that my indie reviews are always my lowest views and hardly get comments as do my children’s picture book reviews. If a book is really hyped those do tend to my highest viewed and commented posts. I’ve never really sat down and broke down the numbers (mainly because I don’t know how lol) but it is something that I have noticed throughout the years.

    I was definitely inspired by your bite size reviews to start doing those on my blog. I’ve seen those on other blogs as well and I feel like it would be the best fit for me since I tend to forget how to write a review.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      It would be a lot harder for me to graph out the indie vs. traditionally pubbed numbers because I don’t have a way of tracking that on my blog, so my observations for that were just that: observations. Still it seemed like a pretty obvious correlation, so I don’t think I’m wrong. I like doing the bite-sized reviews because they’re much more manageable.

  6. Sam@WLABB

    I have to admit, I love a giveaway. Who doesn’t want to win stuff? But I have noticed that my Nutshell Reviews (mini-reviews) get the most views. It actually makes sense, since I feature three books on each Nutshell post. That means there is a greater chance that there is a book someone would have read or is interested in.

    Sam@WLABB recently posted: Discussion: Why I Don't Rate DNFs
    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Exactly. If one book catches the reader’s eye, they’ll click. And if there are more books in the post, they’re more likely to see one that catches their eye. I was just telling another commenter about how the other day I read one of your mini-review posts because of a book I’d heard of but ended up being interested in a totally different book because of how you talked about it (and ended up getting it from Edelweiss because of it).

  7. Jen

    We’ve never analyzed ours before, but we don’t do mini reviews. Although we’ve been talking about changing that since I want to binge read larger series and Chelsea wants to be able to read more books but is super busy with work and her daughter. So that was interesting to see your analysis of mini and full, along with the other aspects. Thank you for sharing!!

    One thing that we have noticed is that we get an amazing amount of views on old reviews when they’re included in our Top Ten Tuesday posts. Even if they’re not commented on, we’re so happy they’re getting a lot of attention. 🙂

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yes, those reviews get a crazy amount of attention. I really need to do more of them, but it’s the sort of thing that only works for certain types of books, and I feel like I have to be inspired? Still, it’s obviously worth whatever effort I put into it.

  8. Jack Messenger

    Thank you for an interesting post. Don’t worry about the number of views you receive: in comparison with mine, they are stratospheric!

    Perhaps, also, the numbers of views and comments a review receives could depend on the type of book under review. I review mainly literary/contemporary fiction, which doesn’t get the attention that some major genres receive. My reviews are generally quite long and detailed because that appeals to me. Authors seem really to appreciate a review that tries to get to grips with their writing in this way. I notice that they find plenty of snippets to quote from such reviews, which effectively make lots of small reviews. I don’t know what the answer is, apart from doing our best. As an author myself, I know that any review – long or short, even good or bad – is appreciated because they are so hard to obtain. So your blog is offering a great service.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yes, in the end doing reviews the way you want to do them is the best practice. After all, if you’re blogging for anyone else, you’re probably not going to be very happy with the experience. This was still a fun exercise, though. 🙂

  9. Ali

    This is a very interesting post. I’ve been wanting to see this type of post for awhile, but never took the time to actually break it down. Happy Reading!

  10. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    Interesting! I rarely review popular books, and all of my reviews are giant, so none of them get many views. That sucks because my reviews take forever to write. I have done some bite-size reviews for poetry collections, but nobody looked at those, either. The views probably have to do with the types of books I read. My tastes are eclectic, and I mostly read backlist books.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yeah, I think in the end, you have to just do what makes you happy—if the types of books you like to read aren’t the hyped books, you’ll get less views. There’s just no way around that. I don’t know that I’d change my reading habits to raise numbers, but it was an interesting thing to look at.

  11. Daniela Ark

    First let me say I I love all the charts! Great way to approach the topic. I love any topic that has data behind it 🙂 I think it makes sense that the bite-sized reviews get more views and comments because somehow the audience is larger because you are covering more books? Now, of course, I’m super curios about that Three Dark Crowns review! I HAVE to read it! So the views will go up one more 🙂

  12. Vanessa

    This is an interesting post. I’ve actually wondered along the same lines as to what types of reviews would garner more blog traffic. I had to think about what types of reviews are the ones that I would want to see and those are simply engaging reviews. I like facts, but I also like some pizzazz. This could be the blogger’s personality being quirky, including something visual like gifs in the review, or including something special along with the review such as a playlist or something of that nature. I don’t know that I could do shorter reviews, except for comic books or graphic novels. Thanks for posting this! It really made me think. =D

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I agree that the blogger’s personality coming through makes a review that much more enjoyable. I was a little surprised that the author Top Ten Addictions list didn’t seem to change my stats any, because those always seem really fun to me. I don’t plan to ditch them anyway—I like them!

  13. Aimee (Aimee, Always)

    Oooh, I’ve never tried to see which reviews get more views for me, but since my new blog only has 3 reviews posted so far, maybe I’ll check at the end of the year. 🙂

    I honestly thought “special” reviews would get more views, because they’re wittier and more unique, so I guess I was a bit shocked at the results, BUT THE SPOILER-Y DISCUSSION. THAT’S THE MOST SHOCKING FOR ME! I’ve never bothered doing an entire, full-length discussion (or maybe I have in the past, once or twice), because I personally avoid spoiler-y reviews… I didn’t know people would want to engage in those!

  14. Terri M.

    I’ve done two reviews now (one is coming up) where I paired similar books. The first time I did it was with two books by V.E. Schwab, one which I ended up loving and the other not so much. The review coming up will feature two fantasy books, both of which are middle grade. It was fun writing the reviews and comparing and contrasting what I liked/didn’t like about them.

    I like your idea of putting well-known books with little known ones. It would be a nice way to get some eyes on those little known books you loved.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yes, I think that’s my biggest takeaway from this. I don’t read as many indie or self-pubbed books as I used to (sadly), but the ones that I do read definitely get more attention when they’re in bite-sized reviews with more popular books. I’ve noticed that people mention them in their comments, even when they were drawn to the post by another book.

  15. Rebeccah @ The Pixie Chronicles

    I don’t review books (yet anyway), but this is quite interesting! Personally I always prefer the bite-sized reviews since I think they’re a little more engaging, especially if you haven’t read the book. I’m sad that it looks like indie-books don’t seem to do so well though 🙁 Looks like that stigma is still going strong.What a shame!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I just think that people are a lot more likely to click on a link for a book they’ve heard of in some way, shape or form. So, I think the best thing for me to do is put those lesser known books into bite-sized reviews with the more hyped books.

  16. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I’ve been thinking I would like to do more mini reviews just because writing something down about a book helps me remember it better. Looks like blog readers appreciate this kind of review too, which is extra encouraging.

  17. Brittany

    This is really interesting. Personally, when it comes to reading reviews I prefer bite-sized ones just because I don’t like knowing too much about a book before reading it, and I don’t want other people’s thoughts to influence my own about the book in anyway. However, I’m horrible at writing bite-sized reviews hence why it’s only my regular reviews up on my blog haha.

  18. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

    I have long suspected bit sized reviews to get more views… I’ve seen them extraordinarily successful on other blogs but I haven’t tried them yet. I HAVE learned to write much shorter reviews. I do LOVE that you proved the stats on this using your own reviews. I personally just love featuring a book by itself. I know I should be all about stats. I am thrilled to hear about your success with spoiler discussions! I have done a couple of these with very poor views… but maybe brand new books would work better.

    Dani @ Perspective of a Writer recently posted: Do you Revisit or Update Old posts?! // A Perfectionist’s Problem
    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I do think that the spoiler-filled reviews work a lot better for new books. I wrote one for Me Before You in 2016 and that one didn’t get all that many views (at least not in comparison to my other ones). Maybe it’s just that particular series that people love to think about that way? I guess we’ll see if I write more!

  19. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    This is really interesting to look at. I guess one of the things with reviews is it’s hard to talk about a book in the comments when often commenters haven’t read it. One of the reasons your spoiler filled discussion did so well is because sometimes we want the spoilers and to talk about books we just do. And it doesn’t surprise me reviews with giveaways and such boost comments and views because people like the extra stuff, you know? I think the key with reviews is that you need to make them stand out in some way to really get the attention. Or just be lucky enough to be the first one in there talking about a hyped book because everyone is there to talk about it then.

  20. Marie

    OH that’s such an interesting post, I love it. It makes me a bit sad how reviews always get the least views, yet they’re… for me, the heart and soul of book blogging, haha. I have noticed, without making any kind of detailed statistics, that reviews with giveaways and reviews of “hyped” books tend to have higher views, than other kind of books. I love the idea of doing special type of reviews with moodboards or such 🙂

  21. Laura

    It really is sad how few views reviews get in comparison to other types of blog posts, but I guess reviews only appeal to people who have either read the book, or are interested in reading the book.
    A while ago I transitioned from writing regular, one-book-per-post reviews to mini reviews, where I generally talk about two or three books per post (usually of the same genre). I have tended to get slightly higher views since doing that, presumably because it widens the review’s audience by discussing more than one book, but they still aren’t great. And technically I should probably stop calling them mini-reviews…they’re usually about 600 words or so, which probably isn’t that short! 🙂
    Great post! 🙂

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Iknow a lot of people skim (I do it too), which is why I use bullet points for my longer reviews. I find that, that way, people can see the main points without reading all the details if they want to and they’ll read the details for the points that catch their eye.

  22. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    This is very impressive, Nicole! So, I have never looked because… well, my new blogging goal is not caring. BUT I think I get more views and comments on mini-reviews, but I have a theory: There are more potential books for readers to care about. Like- you multiply your chances of catching someone’s attention, basically. That said, I used to post more often, so who knows how it would be if I did mini-reviews AND lots of full reviews- I assume similar, perhaps even with FEWER views for full-reviews. (I did notice that my views did NOT plummet like I thought they would when I went down to posting only 3 or 4 times a week, so there’s that.) But yeah, people will ALWAYS show up to your blog for the free stuff 😂

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      It’s funny because I almost never look at numbers anymore either, but this was more of a curiosity thing than a pure stats thing. The idea came to me because I realized I felt guilty when I put certain books into bite-sized reviews—like I’m not giving them their due or something—but then I started thinking about it and wondering if they were really getting any less attention that way. I actually mostly did this to assuage my guilt and I succeeded in that. LOL!

  23. Cristina @ Girl in the Pages

    This is fascinating! I honestly still love reading and writing reviews (although I know they’re not the most “popular” types of posts for bloggers) but I’ve never though to look at what reviews are doing better than others. I always struggle with the question of whether or not to put spoilers in a review, and it’s usually only with a highly anticipated book that I am DYING to discuss with others (and I generally put the spoilers in their own section so readers can avoid them if they want!) It’d be interesting to see if those reviews generate more views/comments!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I did my spoiler-filled discussions as completely separate posts. So, I still posted a regular review for people who just wanted to see my quick thoughts on the book, but then I did the elaborate spoiler-filled discussions to talk about my predictions, etc.

  24. Lara @ Words With Lara

    Awesome post! It’s always interesting to see how other peoples posts do (especially with pretty graphics). My favourite types of reviews are definitely “special” reviews that have something interesting to spice them up a bit…. and I love anything that includes a list. Also, wow! Those are some epic stats for the two reviews you didn’t include!! Well done!

    Lara @ Words With Lara recently posted: Why I Love Blogging (and you should too)
  25. S. J. Pajonas

    I don’t really review since I’m an author and I don’t feel it’s in my best interest to review books by other authors. BUT I do have my Book Chat posts where I talk (positively) about books I’ve been reading and listening to. In general, though, people come to my blog for personal posts or posts about Japan, and those posts get the most comments and views. For your site, I do like the Bite-sized reviews the best. I want to know in like one paragraph what you think of a book. Lol. I really wish I had more time to read long reviews!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I’ve been thinking about that a lot for my future, actually. If I’m going to pursue writing, it feels a little strange to review other people’s books. It suddenly puts things into a whole different perspective. Like, how can I write a criticism of another author—obviously my books will be far from perfect, so how can I judge other people’s books? I’m still trying to figure out how that’s going to change things around here. I love your Japan posts, by the way. And even your tweets about things in Japan.

  26. Ikram

    This is a really interesting post, I never thought about analyzing my posts that way. I tend to just do regular reviews but they are defintely the least popular among my posts. I love reading mini reviews and the “special” reviews are among some of my favorites. It also makes sense why hyped books get more views, I tend to click on those reviews because it influences my decision on whether I should read it or not.
    Great post!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I loved my “special” reviews too—they’re fun, and I don’t think I’d stop doing them based on stats. The only problem is, they’re a lot more time-consuming, so I’ll probably still do them sparingly. I had so little data on those that I don’t really trust these results in that one case.

  27. Belle

    Graphs are awesome! I always feel so intellectual analyzing them haha. Just curious, how long did it take you to tally all your stats and make the graphs?
    I’ve definitely noticed that reviews of popular books get more views and comments. People can always relate to those and you can see it in the comments when they say something like “I haven’t read this book but I want to!” or “I loved this book too!”.
    I’ve never tried doing mini reviews because I think my reviews are already pretty short haha but it’s something I’ve thought about.
    Great post, Nicole! I’m contemplating whether I should make some graphs of my own 😊.

  28. Bookworm Brandee

    This is very interesting, Nicole, and you’ve given me something to think about. I have noticed a difference in the number of views of indie published books vs traditionally published books as well as new(er) releases vs older releases. Of course, it hasn’t changed how I do things. LOL I want to read what I want to read, so… But I just might take a look at views/comments depending on my review type. Great discussion!

  29. Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

    Wow, that spoiler filled discussion tops it all! I am hardly surprised about the giveaways, but I can fully agree on the bite sized reviews 🙂 that tends to be the kind I like most myself too. And writing them is easier!

    By the way, I think I might have missed visiting your Sunday post, and I’m sorry about that – I still have 180 unreplied comments and losing my brains here >.< sorry for being a bad linker-upper this time!

    Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks recently posted: State of the ARC #6
    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      You never have to apologize to me about missing a post. I totally get it. If you disappeared forever, I’d be sad, but I don’t expect people to come back for every post. It’s just not possible once your blog gets to a certain size!

  30. Olivia Roach

    I feel like that difference between popular novel reviews and indie novel reviews without giveaways is so obvious on booktube. When I post a review on an indie novel my views go way down in comparison to others! But on my blog although it happens too, it is a bit to a lesser degree. Oh, and I really personally love reading the long reviews, especially whenever a blogger highlights the key points in bold. That means I don’t have to read the whole review, but I get to know the bite sized bits of the review. But if there was a point that interests me, I can read more details on it. It’s one of the reasons why I love reading your reviews because you do that perfectly!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Thanks for that feedback, Olivia—that’s exactly what I’ve always tried to accomplish with my longer reviews. I know that everyone isn’t going to read every word of a review, so it’s nice to be able to give the highlights and then let them read more in the parts that interest them.

  31. Cee @ Dora Reads

    I find that my reviews get roughly the same amount of views as any other type of post. (Actually, if anything, I have to promo my non-review posts *more* in order to compete.)

    It doesn’t tend to matter what I’m reviewing – after a few weeks, they even out. (Obv., older reviews have larger accumulated page-views, but then they also drop off in popularity, so… *shrugs*)

    My top post of all-time (so far) is a review of the graphic novel Luna the Vampire, Vol 1: Grumpy Space by Yasmin Sheikh, with nearly 6k views. (I don’t even know. I wasn’t even that good at reviewing at the time…?)

    My second highest is a fanfiction post that I posted in October 2017, which was about a Drarry vampire slash fic, and has over 1k views.

    I know this is totally unscientific – but I can’t help thinking that vampires are a key factor here 😉 lol.

  1. Dancing Out of January 2018 – A Dance With Books

    […] she’s learned in the last 6 months. ⌘ Nicole from Feed Your Fiction Addiction compared the different reviews she posts to see how well they do. ⌘ Mishma from Chasing Faerytales talkes about struggling to find her place in a changing […]

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