Twitter Header Test

Does Changing Your Twitter Header To An Ad Increase Website Traffic [Case Study]

August 15, 2014
Josh Light

In 2010, I spent 4 months living in Ghana doing microfinance.  Part of my job involved visiting extremely poor markets, and finding businesses that would benefit from ultra low interest loans.  It was really gratifying because it gave me the opportunity to help less privileged individuals get the financing they need to break out of the poverty cycle.


A client that I helped.

Ghanian markets are extremely interesting.  Instead of having everything indoors, shopkeepers display all of their merchandise outside of their store.  This makes shopping really easy because you can aimlessly wander through markets and find everything you need without walking into a building.  One quick glance at a shop is all you need to figure out if they have what you want.  Here is a video I made of what a market looks like:


U.S. brick and mortar stores, on the other hand, keep all of their inventory on the inside of the building and advertise a few key products through display windows or signs.  Imagine how ridiculous it would be if a brick and mortar store had virtually no advertisements on the outside explaining what they do.  Do you think it they would get more customers than the competing store who showcases their products on the exterior of their building?  Probably not.

This is how I feel about businesses that don’t utilize their Twitter header.  They’re missing a huge opportunity to explain to people who visit their profile what they do.  It’s like boarding up your shop windows.  It’s not smart.


The big question on everyone’s mind is how much of an impact does using your Twitter header as an advertisement really have?

Over the last month I’ve set out to try to answer this question.

The Twitter Header Test

Hypothesis: Changing your Twitter header into an ad will increase the amount of views your website gets from Twitter traffic.

To test this hypothesis, I created this landing page and included a link to it on two different Twitter profiles in their bios (redbirdqueue, and JoshuaJLight).  I then carefully tracked how many new followers I received for each of these accounts, and how many hits the landing page received.  Check out the results below.

Week 1

During this testing period both Twitter accounts had a picture for their Twitter header that contained zero information about the landing page.

Here is graph illustrating the number of new followers each account received versus page views for each day:

new twitter followers versus page views
I ran regression on new followers versus page views and found that each additional follower resulted is a ~.05 increase in page views.   So 1 out of 20 new followers resulted in a page view (approximately).

Week 2

This is what I changed the Twitter headers to for each account during this testing period:

twitter header test

Notice how the new header is obviously an advertisement.

Here is a graph illustrating the number of new followers each account received versus page views for each day:

new twitter followers versus page views

When I ran a regression on Week 2’s data I found that each additional follower resulted in a ~.07 increase in page views.  So 1 out of 14 new followers resulted in a page view (approximately).

Comparing The Data

This is a bar graph of both weeks combined:

twitter followers versus page views

Does Changing Your Twitter Header Drive Page Views?

The results of this test indicate that changing your Twitter header to an advertisement will drive more page views.


Don’t board up your shop windows.  Treat your shop like a Ghanaian, and advertise what you do or use the space to help define what your company stands for.

This test isn’t statistically significant due to insufficient observations.  It would also be helpful to analyze other variables that may be impacting page views (like tweets).  This test also assumes that every new follower looks at the Twitter profile.

Would be curious if anyone has seen any results from customizing their Twitter header.  Please comment below.  Thanks.

P.S. If you need help customizing your Twitter header than check out this article.  It has a PowerPoint template that makes this process painless.

(Photo Credit: Flickr via Glen Edelson)