Much is being written today about the value of a large following on Twitter. Jason Calacanis wants to pay $125,000 a year to have Twitter recommend him to other users, for example. He thinks that over time accounts with massive followings will somehow be able to pull in $1 million a year or more in incremental revenue, assuming they then have millions of followers.
We have unique data to share because our TechCrunch Twitter account was made one of the suggested accounts on Twitter earlier this year. On February 11 we had 65,573 hard earned followers. By March 1 that had jumped to 158,708 followers. Today it stands at 217,187.
So in just over a month the number of Twitter followers to the TechCrunch account has nearly quadrupled. What I want to know is what kind of traffic that’s sending to TechCrunch, and what value that might have.
Our recent referral traffic from Twitter is shown in the chart below. This only includes traffic from Twitter directly, it doesn’t include third party clients or Twitter Search.
My suspicion is that most of the new followers aren’t hard core TechCrunch fanatics and wouldn’t be as valuable as the follower that we “earned” prior to being added to the suggested list. So far the data is confirming this.
Traffic from Twitter spiked in January, before we were added to the list, growing from 67,000 page views to 130,000 in that month. In February, when follow number spiked upwards, traffic actually dipped to 111,000 page views. The first 11 days in March have brought in 53,000 page views from Twitter, suggesting the month will end up around 150,000.
If the March data holds, that tells us that 65,573 hard core users brought us 130,000 January page views. Nearly quadrupling that number of followers will only bring in an extra 20,000 page views in March.
We love these new users, but they aren’t nearly as valuable to us as the ones that we fought for in the early days of Twitter. We’ll update this post later with more data as we collect it.