Squarespace Ups Its Social Game

This is the latest in our series on SMB website builders. See the whole series here


One theme we’ve been tracking and covering in these pages over the past year is the rapidly-expanding services bundle from website providers. Competition has ratcheted up as website providers look to sweeten the deal for SMBs, reduce churn, lock users in and meet demand for expanding functionality.

In some cases, this involves traditional website builders moving into adjacent areas of marketing, such as GoDaddy’s new marketing suite. In other cases, it’s the opposite: marketing tools expanding into websites, such as Constant Contact’s new offering. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of recent examples.

Automattic Enters CRM (via ZBS acquisition)
Constant Contact Launches Websites
Automattic Enters Social (via Tumblr acquisition)
GoDaddy Launches Marketing Suite
Constant Contact Launches Marketing Tools
Shopify Launches email Marketing

The latest to join this list is Squarespace. It recently raised its social media game by acquiring Unfold. The company offers templates for easily creating stories across social channels like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. It automatically works out all of the formatting and guidelines per network.

This creates an ease of use that’s aligned with Squarespace’s overall product ethos. It was one of the first website builders to bring slick and glossy design from professional developer territory to the masses. That will now include social posts and stories that join existing workflows in a similar drag & drop way.

“Whether building a business or personal brand, social media is a place where many creators get started before launching a website,” said Squarespace CEO Anthony Casalena in a statement. “As a first in our category, we’re excited to provide customers with a way to stand out no matter how they’re getting started.”

One-Stop-Shop

Back to the theme of feature expansion, The thought is that a larger bundle boosts revenue per user, retention and lifetime value. It’s all about having more tentacles that reach into business operations, thus anchoring a given vendor in SMB marketing support. That in turn creates a sort of lock-in effect, as noted.

This move towards a bundle is also supported by LSA’s Modern Commerce Monitor (MCM). Fielded by Thrive Analytics, the survey indicates that SMBs increasingly prefer one-stop-shop providers for various operational needs. That’s everything from presence to marketing to back-office functions.

In Squarespace’s case, this expanding bundle is also compelled by naturally dovetailing products. Social posting flows naturally from website and presence tools, such as blog posts that trumpet announcements. The ability to formulate stories on Instagram et al, in the same workflow will save SMBs time.

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Squarespace has announced that Unfold co-founders Alfonso Cobo and Andy McCune will join the company. This acquisition and feature expansion into social tools also follows Squarespace’s move into email marketing and online scheduling tools.

Expect more bundling and feature expansion from Squarespace and others that target SMBs. We’ll report back as we see that unfold across the SMB SaaS landscape.


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