Justin first announced “What Do You Mean?” a month ahead of its release on Ryan Seacrest’s nationally-syndicated radio show. When asked about the song’s meaning, Justin referred to the indecision and veiled sentiments he often heard when talking to women:
Girls are often flip-floppy. They say something, and then they mean something else. “What do you mean?“ … I don’t really know, that’s why I’m asking.
To build anticipation, Justin enlisted a series of celebrities to help countdown and preview the song on Twitter. Nine days before the official release, Justin leaked the lyrics in “the coolest way ever” (according to MTV) by sending them in parts to his loyal fans (the Beliebers) via direct messages on Twitter.
check ur dms and the time on the clock 😉 put it together. #whatdoyoumean
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 19, 2015
The unique marketing worked. “What Do You Mean?” become the fastest song to reach number one on iTunes after its release, and debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, the 23rd song ever to accomplish the feat.
Surprisingly, this was Justin’s first number one hit.