Apple made up 4% of Twitter revenue in Q1 as biggest ad buyer; recent estimates show change

How much truth is there to Elon Musk’s claim that Apple has “nearly stopped” buying ads on Twitter? New numbers may help put the actual story in context.

According to internal documents seen by the Washington Post, Apple was Twitter’s biggest ad buyer during the first quarter of 2022. An ad buy amounting to $48 million in Q1 meant Apple accounted for a whopping 4% of Twitter’s total revenue for the quarter:

In the first quarter, Apple was the top advertiser on Twitter, spending $48 million on ads on the social network, according to a document reviewed by The Washington Post that was compiled from internal Twitter data. Apple’s spending accounted for more than 4 percent of Twitter’s revenue that quarter.

Elon Musk, of course, proved to be the biggest spender on Twitter after buying the company for $44 billion in October. Now Musk says Apple is basically halting ad spending on Twitter. New data from Pathmatics cited by Reuters compares one week of ad buys from Apple before and after Musk’s deal closed.

The world’s most valuable firm spent an estimated $131,600 on Twitter ads between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16, down from $220,800 between Oct. 16 and Oct. 22, the week before Musk closed the Twitter deal, according to ad measurement firm Pathmatics.

Both estimated numbers amount to a massive drop from the reported $48 million Apple spent on Twitter ads from January to March. Unfortunately, we don’t have data that tells us how routine an estimated $4 million per week of Twitter ad buying is for Apple.

Apple has not commented to anyone about Musk’s claim. Musk also hasn’t shown any data to back up his claim. The Twitter CEO has, however, accused Apple of not approving Twitter updates on the App Store.

Apple’s App Store has approved five updates to the Twitter app since Elon Musk became the company’s owner and CEO. This includes the release on November 5 that included these colorful release notes:

Starting today, we’re adding great new features to Twitter Blue, and have more on the way soon.

Get Twitter Blue for $7.99/month if you sign up now

Blue checkmark: Power to the people: Your account will get a blue checkmark, just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow.

Coming soon…

•Half the ads & much better ones: Since you’re supporting Twitter in the battle against the bots, we’re going to reward you with half the ads and make them twice as relevant.

•Post longer videos: You’ll finally be able to post longer videos to Twitter.

•Priority ranking for quality content: Your content will get priority ranking in replies, mentions and search. This helps lower the visibility of scams, spam, and bots.

Availability: Twitter Blue with verification is currently available on iOS in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

Top comment by Tom

Liked by 18 people

Why wouldn’t Apple halt ads on twitter? They are being cautious like every other company.

If twitter goes south, as even Musk warned about, they lose all their money.

And don’t even dare linking this to freedom of speech.

View all comments

Musk has since hit the breaks on Twitter Blue’s rollout and punted the relaunch date a few times after total calamity broke out when verification lost its meaning.

Musk now believes a more considered version of Twitter Blue will launch this Friday, but there are just too many days between now and then to know what might happen.

As for Apple ads on Twitter, sponsored tweets are the only reason @apple exists on the platform. Users continue to see sponsored tweets by Apple, although we don’t know if it’s a few hundred thousand dollars’ worth or a few million.

Disclosure: I did spend $50 on this tweet asking Twitter users to follow my Instagram account today. Is that more than Apple spent on sponsored tweets? I’m guessing no, but it does include $75 of ad credit for free.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created