Comparing Feedburner With AWeber is like comparing apples and oranges because Feedburner is for RSS and AWeber is a for email subscription management but often I see majority of bloggers use Feedburner for email subscription management as well and so this comparison.
It is important to understand what Feedburner for email subscription offers before we use it. So let me compare Feedburner and AWeber head on head on features related to email subscription management and understand which is the best option for your blog.
Feedburner is free but AWeber costs money each month depending on the number of subscribers.
2. Working of Feedburner
Lets say you landed on this blog today for the first time. If you subscribe to my blog using Feedburner you are more likely to see the content I publish in future but there are very less chances you would end up visiting my gem of archived articles I have generated over time in the past.
With AWeber follow up system you can redirect users to your archives best content no matter when user subscribes.
So if your blog content is time-sensitive information like news, feed and Feedburner makes much more sense but if you publish timeless content on your blog you want your new blog readers to go through your blog archive as well.
3. Setup and Stats Tracking
Basic form setup of Feedburner and AWeber for subscription is more or less same. All you have to do is grab the form HTML and place it on your blog or website but if you are want to have follow up system of AWeber, you have to write content for your followups as well.
Though time complexity of Feedburner and AWeber form setup are same there is lot more you can do just with the Basic AWeber forms as well. AWeber offers variety of form designs but more importantly form stats like Unique Display to Submissions ratio that tells you how many unique people saw your form and how many people actually submitted their details. Such data can help you tweak your form headlines and form placements for better conversions.
Feedburner does not offer any form reporting though you can track Feedburner form submissions with Google Analytics very easily. I couldn't understand why Feedburner stats are not part of Google Analytics. Feedburner is acquired by Google and kept untouched for a very long time now.
Apart from form reporting Feedburner does not offer any other type of reporting for emails where as AWeber reporting includes lot of metrics like how many users opened your email, clicked on which of those links in the email and lot more.
4. Sending Frequency
In Feedburner there is no control on the frequency of updates. Say you blog daily. So Feedburner will deliver each of your post to users daily and you cannot make it such that it only delivers when you have 2-3 post items. Too many emails can be annoying for your users. AWeber provides an option of sending your RSS feeds through email only when you have n number of items along with many other combinations like on any particular day of the week as well as any particular time of the day.
5. Broadcast, Split Test and Email Format
Feedburner is not an email marketing solution and so it does not offer sending broadcast messages to your users so unless you add something to your feed, Feedburner will never send it to your users but AWeber allows you to broadcast messages to your user. Apart from that you cannot split-test multiple subject lines and check open rates of your emails in Feedburner.
Feedburner does not allow you to send email in the HTML and plain text format where as AWeber allows you to have HTML email format with some really nice looking pre created templates and also add plain text format for those who don't prefer the HTML email format.
I don't think email format is an advantage for AWeber because HTML email format is widely used but may not be preferred by all users.
6. User Details
Feedburner does not have option for any other user details and so you cannot customize your email like "Hi <Name>" where as AWeber not only allows common fields like Name but also offers other extra custom fields to personalize the email.
As there is no detail about users, you cannot send emails only to particular interest or Geo Group in Feedburner where as AWeber tracks user ip and based on ip address it automatically adds country and city specific information of your subscriber which can help you broadcasts email to only set of people for any particular region or location.
7. Spam reporting
Readers' preference changes over time. I was more of a techy but now I am not very involved into programming and so have unsubscribed many of such tech newsletter but many a times readers don't use the unsubscribe link but use the report spam button. I am not sure how Feedburner handles the spam reporting feature and what happens when user reports your email as spam but AWeber has a spam report tracking system and allows 0.1% as acceptable spam reporting.
Feedburner don't allow importing existing users but AWeber allow import of 2000 users per day provided you don't have inconsistent entries. Many times import is even manually reviewed by AWeber staff to make sure their system is not used by spammers.
9. Thanks Page
According to me this is the best feature of AWeber. Thanks page is where user lands when he confirms his email address and this is the page that can be used to guide your reader to the right areas of your blog but with Feedburner you cannot have your own "thank you" page at all.
Feedburner is a great product for feeds but its not a substitute for email subscription management unless your blog is about time sensitive information. The best option according to me is have what your audience wants. Have both options on your site and see what your readers prefer. You may even find that it is useful to have both.