NEW YORK: GoDaddy, the domain-registrar and web-hosting firm, enjoyed major success by swapping controversial TV spots aired during the Super Bowl for more personalised and targeted marketing.

Phil Bienert, GoDaddy's Chief Marketing Officer, discussed this subject at VentureBeat's Marketing.FWD Summit 2016 in New York City.

More specifically, he reported that the organisation's decision to sit out the 2016 NFL season closer – having been part of the big game since 2005 – generated higher buzz levels than its characteristically attention-grabbing commercials.

"We actually made more news this year than previous years by not doing a Super Bowl ad," Bienert said. (For more, including further strategic insights, read Warc's exclusive report: GoDaddy's new playbook looks beyond the Super Bowl.)

Drilling down into this theme, he suggested the fact that GoDaddy boasts brand awareness scores topping 80% meant the value of the Super Bowl's reach was diminished compared with earlier in the company's history.

In this context, directly communicating with its primary audience of small-business owners potentially offered greater benefits than a big-ticket television ad. And these efforts were backed by new, digitally-driven targeting capabilities.

"We've been methodically building out this foundation for going to market in a different way; going to market using the data we have with 14 million small businesses around the world; [and] using that approach to be much more targeted, much more specific with who we're targeting, with what message, at what time," Bienert said.

"It just became obvious that this year we didn't need to have a Super Bowl ad; we could continue to grow the business, we could continue to acquire new customers, without the need to spend $10m in media costs and production to get 30 seconds of people's attention."

As evidence, he revealed that some crucial indicators for the brand reached new heights as a result of its increasingly targeted marketing approach, which was primarily based on tools GoDaddy provides for its own clientele.

"If you look at, for example, our new customer acquisition, which is actually one of the key indicators for Super Bowl success in the past, we actually broke all Super Bowl records we ever had this year," Bienert said.

Data sourced from Warc