On the road to $1M rating:
Let me start this review with a disclaimer: I’m just evaluating Featured Users as a tool to attract Twitter followers. Their website says that advertising with them is “a great way to get more Twitter followers and support your favorite Twitter apps”. So if your main objective is to support the applications that display Featured Users banners, then you may be happy with the results. On the other hand, if you just want to get new people to follow you, then Featured Users is a downright waste of money.
Advertising in Featured Users works in the following way: you pay a fixed amount to have a small banner with your Twitter profile displayed across a network of Twitter applications and websites [You can see the list of participating websites here]. People who find your description interesting click on the banner and are directed to your Twitter page, where they can choose to start following you.
When I first heard about the Featured Users concept I thought it sounded like a good idea, and decided to give it a try. And though I’m not usually much of a compulsive buyer, that day I went for the most expensive package: I bought 11,500 impressions of my profile for $100.
Once all the impressions had been used, I logged on to Featured Users to evaluate the results. I anticipated they’d be disappointing, as my total number of followers had barely moved from the initial 400. They turned out to be even worse than I expected.
The 11,500 impressions had translated into 48 people clicking to see my Twitter page -implying a dismal click-through rate (CTR) of 0.475%. It’s not possible to know how many of those actually became followers, but even in the best-case scenario I’d have paid $100 for 48 of them, which works out at a whooping $2 per follower.
Was the low CTR due to my profile being unappealing to those who saw the banner? Yes and No. Certainly my CTR was well below average. However, according to Featured Users’ numbers, even the average user would have seen less than 100 people click on her ad. In the best-case scenario -where all those who click become followers- she’d have paid $1 for each. This seems outrageously expensive to me.
You could argue that those who click on a banner displaying a profile are more likely to be targeted followers -interested in what you have to say. But bear in mind that it’s possible to get 100 targeted followers in less than 15 minutes for free: just search Twitter for a couple of keywords related to the topics you care about. You’ll get a list of tweets containing those keywords. Browse through them and follow the first 200 users whose tweets provide genuine information -it’s very easy to spot and avoid the ones just trying to sell you something. That’s it: next time you log in you’ll find that more than 50% of them will have followed you back.
Is saving the hassle of manually following 200 people worth $100? Judge for yourself. For me, the answer is a resounding no.