Website builder Wix.com built its brand by touting the ease of its services to small businesses. Now, the company wants to expand its target audience, going after designers, engineers and agencies that build websites for clients by pitching new products for professionals and shifting the way it spends its marketing dollars to reach them.
To reach those audiences, Wix.com is allocating more of its digital marketing dollars to LinkedIn as well as Twitter, seeking the attention of professionals and opinion leaders, said CMO Omer Shai. This shift comes as the company has deprioritized television — save for its annual Super Bowl campaign — over the last two years with Wix.com spending the majority of its marketing dollars on digital, moving away from TV almost entirely.
“It used to be that only small, tiny businesses were relevant for us,” said Shai. “Today we are seeing so many other people coming to our platform and using our solution, from medium-sized companies to agencies, marketers, SEO experts. It’s opened up a new opportunity to go after those users, so we’re adding more ingredients to our marketing mix.”
In the first quarter of 2019, Wix.com spent $55 million in marketing. Typically, the first quarter’s marketing spend is significantly higher than the rest of the year, as the first quarter is when the company acquires the most users and has the most visitors to its site, said Joe Pollaro, general manager of the U.S. for Wix.com, who added that the company spends across various channels online including search engines, social networks, streaming and branding activities. The company declined to break out exactly how it spends its dollars or share percentage allocations, citing competitive advantage. In 2018, Wix.com spent $74 million in marketing, up from 2017’s $70 million, according to Kantar.
At the same time, in a bid to reach engineers specifically, Wix.com has been increasing its experiential marketing budget for demos, hackathons and developer conferences. The company also recently bolstered its in-housing marketing team, which handles all of its marketing, with the acquisition of Tel Aviv-based Gefen Team this past May.
In December 2018 and April 2019, Wix.com released two new products, Ascend and Corvid, respectively. Ascend targets entrepreneurs with a suite of 20 products to help them connect more deeply with customers. Corvid, meanwhile, is an open development platform that allows the designers, engineers and agencies Wix.com is now looking to attract to build more advanced websites.
The tweaks to Wix.com’s marketing approach follows the addition of these products, with the company aiming to boost its presence on Twitter and LinkedIn with a mix of paid and earned media. While LinkedIn has been part of its marketing mix for some time, it was a smaller percentage. Now, it is more of a focus with the company spending more and posting more product updates on its blog, slideshows about its marketing tools and questions to drive engagement on the platform.
The company increased its focus on LinkedIn after running some initial tests with positive results, per Shai, but the company did not share what those results look like. Wix.com uses an internal metric, TROI or “time to return on marketing investment, with the aim of recouping its marketing dollars within seven to nine months after spending them through premium Wix.com subscriptions. As of March 2019, according to TROI via a company powerpoint, Wix.com had recouped $27 million of the $55 million it spent on marketing in the first quarter of this year.
In moving to mediums where its content — with paid dollars behind posts promoting an e-book for agencies, its agency partner program and a demonstration of how to build a website on its platform — will be more impactful, the company is hoping that its ads will be more relevant to its audience than a 30-second spot on YouTube. As of June 2019, registered users were up year over year to 148 million at the end of the first quarter with premium subscriptions up 21% year over year to 4.2 million.
Wix.com’s push into LinkedIn comes as the platform has worked to beef up ad targeting and as it plans to release a tool that will allow advertisers to retarget LinkedIn users, as previously reported by Digiday.
“LinkedIn is a logical place to target small and medium-sized businesses,” said Allen Adamson, brand consultant and co-founder of Metaforce. “It’s a hub for their target audience and a smart marketing targeting strategy.”