Squarespace & Wix Prove Paid Media is Here To Stay

If I had received a dollar for every time I had heard, discussed or read the terms content marketing, inbound or growth hacking over the last 18 months I would be a very rich man. As someone who’s day job it is to optimise all of the above I do not think any of these terms  are a “flash in the pan”, they are all here to stay and will be core strategies employed by the modern marketer . However the actions of Squarespace and Wix and their use of the most expensive paid media tv buy in the world at this weeks Superbowl have made me think again about the importance of paid media in the marketing mix.

Squarespace and Wix are both leading web development and content management platforms that have seen rapid user adoption and investment over the last few years. Squarespace is venture capital funded to the tune of $78m and Wix conducted an IPO in 2013 raising $123m and now has a market cap of $713m (as of February 2015). So both have the resources to invest in what technology companies can’t survive without… growth.

I have long been a proponent of the rise in importance of owned and earned media in the modern marketers toolbox and will continue to be. I have no doubt that the digital transitions that are ongoing at most companies today will make these media types far more effective at the expense of the traditional paid media advertising channel. Of total marketing spend this has often represented over 90% of marketing budgets and I believe this will reduce to approximately 70% of total marketing spend.

However advertising spend will remain the largest part of the marketing budget and whilst new forms of advertising spend will grow such as search, social, display and retargeting, especially on mobile for the marketer needed to take the brand position to the next level the traditional tv buy will always have a place.

What these two technology companies have got right is that their Superbowl tv buys are part of much larger and integrated campaigns. Unlike many of the traditional B2C brand spots they possess call to actions and continue the story on owned and earned channels. Of the two adverts, in terms of creativity I prefer Squarespace’s effort which uses the actor Jeff Bridges who is himself a Squarespace customer with DreamingwithJeff.com for a new album he has recorded.

This is the second time that Squarespace have bought a Superbowl tv spot do the proven case in terms of brand lift and ROI must be there, even though the spot could have cost them up to 10% of their latest April 2014 funding round of $40m. For first timers Wix however this is a big gamble and seeing their arch rivals action at last years event and subsequent growth must have provoked them into this. Their ad in my subjective opinion is a little less creative but it certainly entertained me and made me laugh so could well have done the job for them. The company said the Super Bowl spot is designed to take the “Wix brand to the next level” and turn it into a “household name.”

Anyway bravo to both companies CMO’s for taking the risk and making the investment. I predict we  will see many more B2B marketers employee more and more so-called B2C tactics as we transition to the P2P  or person to person economy. Both these organisations are known to have built their businesses through content marketing, inbound and growth hacking and have no large physical enterprise sales forces selling their technologies. However in order to get growth, drive demand and beat the competition they have demonstrated that only the biggest of awareness building tactics will do.

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