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February 2, 2014

What gave one web design firm the confidence to advertise at Super Bowl 2014?

Squarespace spent $4m on its 30-second TV advert.

By Duncan Macrae

Website design company Squarespace has said data analytics played a major part in its decision to advertise during the Super Bowl for the first time this weekend.

The estimated $4m price tag for a 30-second TV advert during this year’s Super Bowl, starring Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, equates to almost 10% of the $38.5 million investment Squarespace secured during its only round of outside funding back in 2010. Although the company would not disclose its current revenues and ad spend, CEO and founder Anthony Casalena said analytics helped give him the confidence to make the advertising investment.

He said: "We use data analytics everywhere at Squarespace. As a company that invests heavily in marketing, we need to be sure that our spends are having the kind of impact we expect them to. The comfort to actually greenlight a Super Bowl ad comes from us being able to make television advertising work for the brand. The Super Bowl is a natural extension of that.

"That being said, to actually pull the trigger on the ad definitely reflects our appetite for certain kinds of risk, rather than being able to reach some sort of certainty with our data."

Most of Squarespace’s tools (e.g. all of our core reporting, infrastructure, etc.) is primary built and managed in-house, and are used to track all spends very closely. As a business that has historically operated to cash flow break-even, it needs to be confident that its spends are effective.

"When we do a good job, our success enables us to spend and test even more," explained Casalena. "We think data analytics is critically important. Without our analytics platform, we could never be truly comfortable with the kind of spends we’re deploying. We hope our analytics platform can begin to give us comfort surrounding spends that previously weren’t trackable for us.

Exactly what kind of reaction Squarespace will get from advertising during the big game remains to be seen.

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Casalena said: "To be honest, we’re not completely sure what to expect. This is our first time at the Super Bowl. The ad has already gotten a lot of buzz across the web – something that is of course above and beyond what normally happens when we put an ad online. We’re excited to introduce Squarespace to a much wider audience. We think we’re ready."
Squarespace’s commercial will vie for attention with famous brands such as Budweiser, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Doritos, M&M’s, Toyota and GoDaddy.

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