Apple buys more Twitter ads despite Elon Musk claims: report
Monday, Elon Musk chose a public fight with Apple, accusing the company of freezing its advertising on Twitter and wondering aloud if the alleged break was because “they hate free speech in America.” In fact, Apple spent $84,615 on Twitter ads on the same day, according to data from Pathmatics, a digital ad analytics firm. The day before, Apple spent $104,867.
The data contradicts Musk’s claims that the iPhone maker “has pretty much stopped advertising on Twitter.” Apple’s ad buying on Twitter actually increased from October to November, according to Pathmatics research. Apple spent $1,005,784 on Twitter ads in the first 28 days of November, already more than that company’s October budget of $988,523, according to the analytics firm.
The data shows that Apple’s ad spend on Twitter hasn’t changed much from its typical purchases. The figure fell from unusually high figures over the summer – $2 million in July and $3.3 million in August, but, between January 2021 and September 2022, Apple spent an average of $1,473 $390 per month in Twitter ads, according to the Pathmatics report.
Apple was Twitter’s top advertiser in the first quarter of 2022, accounting for 4% of company-wide revenue during that period for a total of $48 million, according to internal documents cited by the Washington Post. Although Apple’s recent spending on Twitter has fallen slightly, $1 million in a single month is far from “almost stopped.”
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“Despite the industry consensus that Twitter is too volatile and dangerous for the brand under Elon Musk, Apple is one of the few companies that has truly bucked the trend; the company has apparently increased spending over the past 30 days,” said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, which commissioned the Pathmatics report. “Musk is targeting Apple as a way to work with referees. for Apple to fairly enforce their terms of service with respect to the App Store.
Mounting a PR campaign against a millionaire-a-month advertiser is a risky business move, a particularly high-stakes choice given that Twitter’s advertising business, which accounts for 90% of the company’s revenue, has been in freefall ever since. that Musk took over. According Media questionshalf of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers have suspended spending on Twitter since Musk took over.
Behind closed doors, Twitter’s advertising problems could get worse. Reports suggest ad losses are piling up during a holiday shopping week that’s typically the most profitable time of year for ad platforms, and the layoffs have left teams that run mission-critical ad systems with just a few employees.
Twitter and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Twitter has no communication service right now after Musk fired half the company.
Musk could twist the truth as part of his efforts in a much bigger battle. According to the Tesla CEO, “Apple has also threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why.” Apple hasn’t said anything publicly about the alleged threat, but it recently kicked high-profile apps from the App Store for policy violations.
But Musk is, characteristically, all over the map when it comes to Apple. On Wednesday, he posted a tweet from Apple headquarters pleasantly thanking CEO Tim Cook for a visit. Musk went on to say “we have resolved the misunderstanding regarding the potential removal of Twitter from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple had never considered doing this.
It came just days after Musk tweeted, then deleted, a meme that said he was preparing to “go to war” with Apple.
Yet Twitter may soon run into an apple policy which requires apps to use the company’s built-in payment system, which takes an initial 30% reduction in payments, followed by 15% after the first year. It would put a damper on Musk’s plan to boost his income by charging users $8 a month to have their Twitter accounts verified. In the embattled CEO’s Monday tirade against Apple, Musk describe the system as a “secret 30% tax”, although the policy has long been public.
Apple’s App Store “tax” was a source of controversy long before the SpaceX CEO took over Twitter. The payment policies have prompted lawsuits from Spotify and Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite. Businesses, app developers and consumer advocates have accused Apple of exercising a monopoly to extract profit from the App Store. Apple, for its part, said the 30% cut was necessary to fund important services it provides to ensure security and accountability in the App Store.
Musk’s new fight has drawn support generally pro-business conservative legislators. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis criticized Apple’s policies after Musk’s tweets, as did Republican Rep. Ken Buck, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Sen. Mike Lee and incoming Sen. JD Vance.
Updated: 01/12/2022 8:35 PM ET: This story has been updated with details of Elon Musk’s meeting with Tim Cook.
Updated: 11/30/2022 4:00 PM ET: This story has been updated with a new tweet from Elon Musk.