As you may have seen, Twitter is opening up its analytics.  

How Much for a Follow?

In light of this, I wanted to get a quick idea of the cost per follow for a Promoted Account or Tweet, since that’s what Twitter is trying to drive us towards. So I did a quick comparison based on “cost per follow” for accounts that were similar to three luminaries in the Big Data Twitter world to see how much it might cost to acquire a microtargeted audience of Big Data experts:

  • @Hmason: Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist at bit.ly
  • @kdnuggets: Gregory Piatetsky, Editor of KDNuggets
  • @KirkDBorne: Kirk Borne, Professor of Astrophysics and Computational Science at George Mason University

(I’ll wait here while you go follow these three people on Twitter. All done? OK, let’s move forward.)

In putting in these three profiles, Twitter maxed out at about 215,000 profiles with similar interests. Interestingly, the cost/follow seems to top off just over US$ 15 per follow.

twitter_cost_per_follow.png

In graph form, the relationship works like this:

twitter_cost_per_follow_graph.png

Takeaways

Of course, Twitter can change their logic at any time based on market preferences, but in the short term, it looks like a few things stand out:

  1. If you need those followers STAT, bid US$ 15.01.
  2. Twitter recommends a bid of US$ 2.50 per follow, but this will only get you about 40% of your maximum reach.
  3. The big question is around efficacy. Companies should bid based on on how that Followers/Effective Reach ratio works out. If, for instance, Twitter ends up providing a 1% follower efficiency, companies should look at that US$ 1.50 per follower rate.
  4. Have a followup strategy. All the acquired followers in the world don’t make a difference if there’s no ongoing strategy to loyally follow. Social media influence is earned; getting that initial follow is just step one of nurturing your social audience. This is where you’ll want to keep using the Tweet Analytics that Twitter is providing today.

Editor's Note: Hyoun loves his data. Read more in Data-Driven Employee Engagement