Nielsen: Microsoft pays the most to market its products

“Microsoft has not been shy in the past to spend its money on advertising its products against competition — in 2011 apparently sinking up to $100 million on making sure that people knew about its search engine Bing,” Ingrid Lunden reports for TechCrunch.

“Some numbers out today from Nielsen, however, point to Microsoft’s efforts reaching a new high in tech advertising,” Lunden reports. “It says that in Q1, Microsoft took the lead as the biggest tech advertiser of all, knocking out Intuit, the tax software company that has held that position for the past five years because of how Q1 coincides with tax season. Others in the top-five included Apple, Google and Amazon, ‘none of which were strangers to the top tech advertisers list in previous years.'”

Lunden reports, “Microsoft topping the list of tech ad spenders is not too much of a surprise: pumping huge amounts of money into promoting new products is less about celebrating Microsoft’s success as it is about the company trying very hard to get more consumers behind them. Windows Phone has had lackluster, if growing, sales; the Surface tablet has not been meeting analysts’ predictions on sales, and ditto with Windows 8.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Blow it all on bad ads, Balmy!


  1. Advertising.. advertising.. Advertising.. Advertising.. advertising.. Advertising.. Fix Windows issues.. Advertising.. advertising.. Advertising.. Advertising.. advertising.. Advertising.. Fix windows problems..

  2. This may also reflect the reality that:

    1) Apple doesn’t even hire actors in its video ads, apparently Hodgeman and Long were too expensive.
    2) Cook hasn’t released very many new products in his tenure.
    3) Microsoft has more products, more product releases, worldwide presence, and yes, perceptions to change, which is why it communicates with the consumer and enterprise through all kinds of advertising and outreach that Apple does not.
    4) Apple’s ROI on advertising looks good mostly because it has a growing presence of retail stores, which act as powerful advertisements themselves. No other computer maker has chosen the direct retail approach, which means they MUST advertise more to ensure the public knows of their product BEFORE they enter a store that offers many different brands and options.
    5) Apple offers fewer options, and hence chooses not to provide informative marketing, which costs significantly more than Apple’s brainless silhouette iTunes ads or the pointless MS Surface “click” ads.

    Finally, advertising is an industry with a minimal, and often negative, ROI. Why is this a surprise? Apple blows money on useless ads too.

    1. 1. The actors appearing in Apple ads are paid. Don’t think Zooey Deschanel, Sam Jackson or Martin Scorsese got paid by Apple? I guarantee it cost them more than Microsoft spent on acrobats for their batshit Surface commercials – and given the orgy of backflipping idiocy featured in those spots, that’s saying something.

      2. Umm…I guess you mean the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini, the Retina MacBook Pro, iOS 6, iOS 7, Mountain Lion, Mavericks and the new Mac Pro (to name a few)? Yea, not many. And Microsoft released what this year again? Exactly.

      3. So they spend more money than Apple faceplanting in 2 markets instead of 1?

      4. Microsoft has retail stores too, but as hard as they’ve tried to copy Apple’s success with them, they just suck. I would encourage them to open as many retail stores as Apple so we can see much of a difference that makes.

      5. I don’t even know what this means. By “informative marketing” are you referring to Microsoft’s litany of disingenuous “comparison” charts that cherry pick features to compare with Apple’s products, but fool no one? Great yield there.

      TBH, I should have stopped at #2 when it was clear you were trolling, but I’m masochistic like that.

      1. You should check your facts. The famous iPod silhouette ads were done with unpaid artists.

        Now Apple spends over $1 billion per year on advertising, and what do we get? Designed in California? Yippee. It got panned by reviewers and pundits alike. Samsung caught up and passed Apple in sales by spending about 12 times what Apple spends, and somehow making inroads. Most people on the street are convinced that a Samsung is as good and as reliable as an Apple product. Apple hasn’t told anybody any different, so perception becomes reality.

        But to the article about MS, the sad thing is that Apple isn’t any more efficient with its ad budget as MS, which is saying something. You seem to think I like MS. Not so. I am disappointed that Apple currently does no better than MS in getting its message out.

        A significant chunk of Apple’s budget is blown on ads that Schiller kills at the last minute. Apple’s ads no longer have personality. MS ads are of course, even worse, but certainly no more financially wasteful than Apple’s. Nobody outside of the little MDN cult can articulate what makes a Mac a better VALUE. Everyone already knows they cost more, and work better, but when you do the math, there just aren’t that many people that choose to commute in Aston Martins and Porsches.

        As to your extensive list of new Apple products: Apple CANNOT seriously be thinking advertising iOS7, Mavericks, or the new Mac Pro because those aren’t available for sale. Besides, Apple seems to currently want to market company spirit rather than products, or so the WWDC spot seems to indicate. You can tell the world was inspired by the huge bump in sales that occurred in all the products you mentioned. Oh wait, what bumps? None of these new product introductions significantly changed the rate of purchase, and there was no flurry of advertising to help make that happen.

        Likewise, the bump in sales of the iPhone 4S and 5 were minor compared to the iPhone 4 because externally, there certainly wasn’t anything exciting going on. People wer happy to wait until their contract expired to get the new iPhone. Apple is underperforming the market because Apple no longer has a “switch” ad campaign at all.

        Likewise people don’t yet understand the benefits of Retina displays; in fact, some people here argue that any video greater than 720p resolution isn’t any better to their eyes. So Apple obviously hasn’t got the message across. It would require informative marketing, which doesn’t seem forthcoming from Apple. Can you name all the features that AppleTV offers that a cheap Wintel laptop and a Netflix account can’t accomplish? Didn’t think so. Nobody else can either, and only Apple advertising would change that.

        Back to you, MacAdvocate. If you think Apple is so great in advertising, then please show how and why you think Apple gets better return on its investment — and how you think Apple sales growth could possibly continue to outpace the market when its ad presence is so paltry.

        1. You didn’t specify the iPod silhouette ads. What you said was “Apple doesn’t even hire actors in its video ads, apparently Hodgeman and Long were too expensive.” The silhouette ads were 10 years ago – that a fucking decade. That’s before the “Get a Mac” spots. This MDN link was to an article tracking spending for the most recent quarter.

          And as lovely as your invitation sounds, I’m not even going to read the rest of your written pustule. From your utterly ass-backwards first paragraph, it’s clear to me – and everyone reading – you don’t have a fucking clue about that which you speak. I hope you had fun writing it – or at least got paid by the word.

          1. translation of MacAdvocate response:
            1) will not read others’ inputs because it doesn’t worship every Apple move
            2) will arrogantly attack others because others see other sides of the situation
            3) will nitpick dates, claiming only what happens in current quarter matters (and yes, silhouette ads are still used TODAY on billboards and print ads).
            4) will accuse others of being a paid troll to cover up the fact that MacAdvocate is too lazy to respond. Or is it just insecurity?
            5) will demonstrate how juvenile language never wins a debate.

            Bottom line, Apple is not doing as good a job on advertising as they should, and MacAdvocate can’t seem to respond to that assertion with adult logic, facts, nor figures. Enough said.

            1. You don’t have input, you have opinions which, when they aren’t supported by facts, are entirely out-of-scope or just plain made up.

              You’re astroturfing (which, yes, is a trend you’re showing across multiple comments) with poorly-written garbage for facts on an Apple-centric site. It doesn’t warrant a response. Back under your bridge, dude.

            2. WTF, TheMacAdvocate, get a grip.

              Mike has been posting here for a long time. He seems to like bringing out counterpoints to temper the echo chamber. That is valuable to the conversation. Mike also cites data. If you read & write only Apple propaganda, then you’re a worse astroturfer than Mike. No one would accuse Mike of being a fanboy. He seems to have equal criticism for just about every company.

            3. I got banned from Cult of Mac? I haven’t visited the site in a year. If so, I consider it a badge of honor. They’re almost as transparently pandering as you are. Go have your Phil Schiller personna upvote some more of your comments – or better yet, why don’t the both of you go spread your multi-paragraph taco spray over at CoM?

    1. I imagine without advertising they they wouldn’t have sold any Surface’s. It’s all about being cool, trendy and dancing around clicking everywhere right?

  3. Over the course of Apple’s existence, the company has build a core group of extremely loyal users who seem to be quite efficient evangelists, providing valuable promotional effort for free. As good percentage of these loyal users works in creative industry (especially Hollywood), another fringe benefit is that Apple hardware appears overwhelmingly often in feature films and TV shows. And when it does, it is in the hands of the protagonist, while the antagonist uses some no-name other-than-Apple device. Subliminal properties of such usage are priceless for Apple’s brand awareness. In most of those cases, Apple doesn’t even have to pay for promotional consideration; production designers simply prefer visual esthetics of Apple hardware over anything else, and Apple is only asked to provide clearance for the use of Apple logo. On rare occasions, the clearance doesn’t come in time (or producers don’t bother asking for it), and the logo gets obscured (by some sticky foil). Apple users generally still recognise the devices, which reinforces the subliminal message.

    It must be extremely frustrating to the others (HP, Dell, Samsung, Acer, HTC…) to watch Apple effortlessly gain such prominent exposure on TV every single night, without paying any significant money, while they have to fork out solid cash in order to feature their wares on TV.

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