Apple Pays Twitter Some $200,000 for an iPad Ad but Barely Uses Free Social Media

This strategy is a head-scratcher

CEO Tim Cook's company rarely plays in social.

Apple bought Twitter's Promoted Trend today to push its iPad Air 2 launch, which is noteworthy because CEO Tim Cook and company have been reluctant to use social media platforms in the past.

That ad unit has long been reported to cost $200,000 per day, and probably costs more as the end of 2014 nears. What's more, in terms of marketing strategy, Apple doesn't have a Twitter account for Apple (i.e., @Apple), iPad or iPhone. It used an @iTunesMusic handle in its Promoted Trend copy with a link to Apple's flagship website.

In other words, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant is willing to fork over serious cash to engage Twitter users for the new iPad but isn't interested in seriously leveraging the platform at no cost. (There is, of course, investment required with staffing a skilled social media team. But it's typically a small expense to create content without paid amplification compared to running posts and tweets in conjunction with actual advertising.)

By comparison, Samsung—which has been a frequent Promoted Trend purchaser—counts 9.8 million followers for its Samsung Mobile account on Twitter. And the South Korean company has millions of other followers for its various pages on the social platform. Therefore, Twitter ad buys make plenty of sense for Samsung, not to mention its many promotions there, during Oscar night for instance.

Seven months ago, Apple made a rare social media appearance with a Tumblr marketing play for the iPhone 5C. Since then, it hasn't been very active in the space when it comes to its hardware products.

Strangely, the @iTunesMusic handle has been live since 2009. So it's really hard to figure out what Apple's social strategy is—if it has one at all.

Maybe today is a sign that things are changing for the brand. After all, in August, Apple hired Musa Tariq as digital marketing director. Tariq had helped lead social efforts for Nike and Burberry in recent years.

Adweek Blog Network