Apple doesn’t tweet, but it blanketed Twitter with ads for its iPhone XS launch
Dozens of reporters — inside Apple’s Steve Jobs Theater or back at their offices — spent hours on Sept. 12 tweeting about Apple, sharing details about its two new iPhones and Apple Watch.
Yet despite all this free press attention, the tech giant spent what several marketers considered to be a significant amount on Twitter. On Sept. 12, Apple had a promoted trend ($200,000 per day), a custom build for “like for reminder” ($250,000 for several days), promoted tweets in at least 12 languages (CPMs depend on budget, going from $0.50 to $8) and a hashflag and a livestream of the event. The last two components were probably free, and the other prices are standard, according to sources. Prices are based on what Twitter charges individually for the products, according to interviews with six marketers; Apple may have bought them as a bundle.
The decision to spend so much on a platform that isn’t Facebook or Google perhaps isn’t as crazy for a trillion-dollar company. Apple’s spend is an example of its attempt to dominate the conversation during a launch and appeal to the fandom and journalists on Twitter, which has long promoted itself as a platform that leads the conversation, more so than the rest of social media. Apple’s early adopters, including journalists, are perhaps more commonly found on there than on Facebook, where it’s currently not running any ads.
“Apple is garnering a deeper relationship with their most devout fans and haters and gaining insight into all of the data around the launch conversations. I’d love to see the backend of what they got on that campaign buy,” said Tammy Gordon, president of Verified Strategy who previously led social marketing at AARP.
Twitter declined to comment for this story. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
The secretive company used to be fairly absent on social networks, but that has started to change, if only slightly. In March 2016, it launched an Apple Support account. In September of that year, it started tweeting from the main Apple account, timed with the iPhone 7 launch. A year later, it joined Instagram. Still, Apple has never tweeted organically. It only buys ads on Twitter, all of which appear as dark posts because they’re a part of ad buys.
— Tyson Cremeens (@Tyr0n313) September 12, 2018
With the launch of Twitter’s transparency center this summer, those tweets are visible, giving a peek into Apple’s Twitter strategy. For example, Apple creates promoted tweets in at least 12 different languages. Twitter doesn’t automatically localize tweets, so buyers need to create and target accordingly, sources said.
To dominate Twitter on Sept. 12, Apple paid for a product called “like for reminder” or “heart for reminder” that promotes a tweet to users’ timelines and requests they “like” the post. Later, the account will tweet specifically at the user. For Apple, the reminder was the time of its launch event with a link to the livestream. HBO has used the same feature to promote “Westworld” every week it aired. Amazon purchased it for Prime Day this year.
The “like for reminder” ad is custom to build and in beta, according to sources. That means Twitter may only pitch it to clients who spend significantly on the platform or who they see as well-suited.
— Apple (@Apple) September 10, 2018
“The strategy of hearting their original announcement tweet to get live updates from them was genius. I’ve only seen brands utilize that specifically a handful of times. Definitely something that should be explored more,” said Brandon Doyle, founder of social media agency Wallaroo.
One marketer who had been pitched the feature said it was too expensive and didn’t make sense for the business at the time but that he saw it working well for airline sales or for an event like Apple’s iPhone launch.
— Apple (@Apple) September 12, 2018
It’s unclear what Apple’s return on investment was. There were about 1.9 million tweets about Apple’s event and products on Sept. 12, compared to 3 million tweets last year, 1.5 million tweets of which were just about the iPhone X, according to social analytics company Crimson Hexagon. It’s too soon to get sales figures of the soon-to-be-released products.
In the weeks ahead, Apple will likely get more free press on Twitter as reporters review its new devices. But marketers don’t expect the ads to end.
“Even for a brand like Apple that’s getting lots of earned press, you still have to battle that to stay top of mind to your audience,” said Hannah McGoldrick, social media strategist at InkHouse. “When it comes to Twitter, attention spans are even shorter. It’s just the nature of the platform. Using a paid amplification strategy ensures your message is getting in front of people that matter to you.”
Influencers are creating million-dollar incomes selling their expertise via online courses
In the pandemic, elite schools have created online offerings. But they face a new challenge in the form of influencer cohort courses — which are selling like hot cakes.
‘Pretty dramatic shifts’: 1-800 Contacts CMO on the changing media landscape amid privacy changes and a return of normalcy
Now that shops are opening back up and people are getting closer to a return to normalcy post-vaccination, those early “winners” are seeking to retain the customers they gained over the last year.
‘Return of travel depends on their success’: How marketers are promoting tourism as Covid vaccination ramps up
As more people become vaccinated from the Covid-19 pandemic, marketers look to a return to travel domestically and internationally/
SponsoredHow The Company Store is reimagining customer experiences for pandemic-era growth
Throughout the pandemic, some retail categories have been inherently successful. Home furnishings and décor are among them; with consumers spending so much more time at home, updates and renovations flourished. Criteo data from the first half of 2020 showed sales for items like outdoor furniture sets up 434% year over year, with other home items […]
Archery brand goes on first-party data expedition, but Google scores, too
Hunting and target shooting bow maker Pure Archery Group has gleaned first-party data through pandemic store pickups and influencer tie-ins.
‘Boomer spring break’: Alaska Airlines is creating its own hype house for boomer influencers
With boomers being many of the first people vaccinated in the United States, the ability to get back to travel is more prevalent for that audience. So too was the pent up demand, according to Natalie Bowman, director of marketing for Alaska Airlines.