Wix Aims To Move The Needle On Revenue With Marketing

omerBecause Wix, a website builder competing with Squarespace, doesn’t have a traditional sales force, its marketing needs to go the extra mile.

The public company is under pressure to grow profits, so Wix has to make sure marketing investments (pegged at about $150 million this year, according to recent guidance) translate into revenue performance.

Wix is still trying to work that out, but recent results seem promising. The company’s Q2 revenue was $68.7 million, a 41% increase over last year, and analysts wondered if Wix would continue to increase its investment in brand building.

Like many brands, Wix blends traditional buys with splashy sponsorships and digital media. Its latest paid media effort includes a 30-second TV commercial featuring comedian Kevin Hart and the company had back-to-back Super Bowl campaigns.

“Our message has to align with our product, which is to help other people reach their own business goals,” said Omer Shai, the CMO of Wix. “We do this [through a combination of] branding and performance, where we might look for new users, but at the same time we’re trying to tell our existing customers and audience base about new features.”

That said, Wix makes a few gut decisions about where that return will manifest, particularly with big TV buys. 

When Wix bought its first 30-second Super Bowl commercial in 2015, it paid nearly $5 million for placement during football’s prime event.

“We didn’t know what our results would be, but we felt it was an investment that would pay off in the long term,” Shai said. “After we measured the first campaign, we had already seen the impact of our investment within the first quarter. That’s the reason we went for an investment for a second year in a row.”

Wix’s second Super Bowl campaign kicked off a month before the 2016 game.

It ran mobile video teasers of its Super Bowl spot on Facebook and beta tested Google’s Real Time Ads, which pushed video placements beyond YouTube to third-party sites using Google Display Network.

As a result, Wix generated 350 million video impressions for its Game Day spot beyond its 30-second commercial. Wix added about 5 million new members in the second quarter in the months following its latest Super Bowl placement.

Shai said there’s a “high chance” it buys another Super Bowl ad in February.

One obvious metric for Wix is new member signups.

Wix claims it adds about 1 million net new members per month (it currently has 90 million members) using a media mix tailored toward direct-response on search, display and social ads. It also invests in high-impact sponsorships.

For instance, Wix is running a promotion with the New York Yankees as its official web design platform sponsor, and a Condé Nast sponsorship gave professional photographers (who host their web galleries on Wix, of course) the chance to shoot the covers of Brides and Condé Nast Traveler.

Whether Wix’s marketing investments pay off most in gaining more brand recognition with new customers (or higher customer lifetime value for existing customers through upselling the new services such as CRM) remains to be seen, but the company claims it sees a total return on marketing investment within seven to nine months.

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