If Apple wants to be in the services business, it has to build out teams that can draw new users to those products. The company is looking to hire accordingly.
This past week, Apple posted a number of job postings on LinkedIn for roles designed to help acquire audiences for Apple News and Apple News+: a growth marketing manager; a senior publisher partnerships manager; and a social media manager. Overall, the company is looking to hire as many as 22 people to beef up the staff supporting Apple News.
The listings, some of which Apple has been trying to fill for a while, would give Apple resources to forge strategic marketing partnerships with platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat; a point person to lead collaborative marketing campaigns with publishers participating in Apple News; and a leader who can work across Apple’s marketing, product, engineering, data analytics, design and business development teams.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
To date, Apple has exerted little effort marketing Apple News — preinstalling the app on hundreds of millions of Apple devices was promotion enough — and consequently, Apple News has a limited presence on platforms. Aside from an active Twitter account with nearly a quarter million followers, Apple News does not use any other platforms to disseminate information or content.
For most of last year, Apple News’s audience was essentially flat: The service’s monthly audience ranged between 60 million and 63 million monthly unique users, from January 2018 to January 2019, according to Comscore data. That’s still a healthy base of users it can try and convert into paying Apple News+ customers, which Apple launched in March. To jumpstart user growth, Apple will go hunting in the same walled gardens as every other publisher.
Though platforms prefer to promote content that keeps its users inside their respective walled gardens, many publishers have found success treating them as sources of referral traffic. Lifestyle publishers, in particular, have watched Instagram Stories evolve into a dependable source.
Building a robust organic audience for Apple News on social platforms could also make them more cost-effective performance marketing channels.
While publishers remain wary of Apple News+, monetization inside the free, ad-supported side of Apple News remains frustrating. Many have simply given up on trying to monetize directly. Among the job listings Apple posted were several including an advertising manager for Apple News and a data scientist for its Apple’s ads platform, that hinted at Apple hoping to improve that side of Apple News.
“They need to fix the monetization,” one audience development executive said, “or publishers are going to start dropping out.”