Each year, retailers and businesses of all kinds pay millions of dollars to be a part of one of the most impactful advertising opportunities of the year: the Super Bowl. The event draws not only football fans, but those simply looking to be entertained. Year after year, companies have outdone themselves with their commercials to the point that the ads are featured on news outlets and “best of” lists for weeks afterward.
2015’s Super Bowl XLIX was no different. The event brought a number of interesting and conversation-sparking advertisements, with one of the most intriguing belonging to Squarespace. The spot featured actor and musician Jeff Bridges, and introduced the world to the Dreaming with Jeff campaign. Viewers were encouraged to visit DreamingWithJeff.com to access music composed by Bridges especially for the platform.
“As more than 114 million viewers tuned in and saw the Squarespace commercial, it was essential that the website worked as it should.”
As more than 114 million viewers tuned in and saw the Squarespace commercial, it was essential that the website – which included not only music, but animation, video, audio file downloads and transaction capabilities as well – worked as it should.
In order to ensure performance, Squarespace reached out to the performance experts at SOASTA.
“Squarespace’s website staying online was particularly crucial, as the campaign message would not connect for visitors that did not reach the site,” SOASTA noted.
A campaign with a mission
The Dreaming with Jeff campaign wasn’t just about showcasing Squarespace. DreamingWithJeff.com allowed users to hear the album Bridges created, which was “filled … with intriguing sounds, noises and other things to help you get a good night’s rest,” Bridges noted.
Website visitors were able to listen to the 15-track album, as well as purchase signed box sets, limited and standard edition releases, cassettes and digital tracks. But the proceeds didn’t go to Bridges or Squarespace.
“One hundred percent of the retail price from each album sold goes directly to No Kid Hungry,” according to DreamingWithJeff.com. “So you’ll get a good night’s rest knowing that when you download the album, or pick up the LP or cassette, you’re helping end childhood hunger in America.”
This made the website’s functionality even more critical, as any performance issues could mean a lost opportunity for charity.
SOASTA support on a tight timeline
Expecting millions to see the ad and potentially visit the website, Squarespace knew it needed a helping hand to ensure performance. In order to address these needs, the company called on SOASTA, which was able to help prepare the website for a flood of traffic in less than a week.
“SOASTA was able to help prepare the website for a flood of traffic in less than a week.”
“We needed the real experience from a customer perspective scaled to humongous levels,” said Franklin Angulo, Squarespace engineering manager.
Although the company had worked with another load testing solution provider previously, it was doubtful that the platform was fully prepared for the huge spike it would inevitably experience following the ad. Squarespace and SOASTA soon discovered that these concerns were not unfounded: An issue was uncovered in the very first round of load testing.
“Without this initial test, we would not have found the underlying issue, and would not have been able to scale properly,” Angulo noted.
After moving larger-scale items to a content delivery network and updating the network and data center capacity to account for the expected traffic spike, SOASTA ran the tests again. In this round, SOASTA tested and ensured support for up to 350,000 virtual users, which translates to 165,000 requests per second. This enabled the Squarespace team to rest easy knowing the website connected to one of their biggest campaigns to date was more than prepared for the surge of online traffic.
“I was able to sleep the Friday night before the Super Bowl because of all the load tests,” Angulo said.
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