WordPress.com Publishes First Ever Video Ad Entitled “Welcome Home”

WordPress.com released a new video on its YouTube account entitled Welcome Home. In the 15 second video, featuring music from Childish Gambino, photos are taken with a iPhone in various locations. Near the end of the video, the WordPress app is opened displaying a post with one of the images captured by the phone. The central theme of the video is to create your home on the web at WordPress.com.

My initial reaction to the video is that it puts too much emphasis on photos. It makes it seem like the WordPress app is only capable of sharing photos similar to Flickr or Instagram. A home on the web has more than just photos, something that doesn’t come across in the 15 second message.

Something else I find odd is the choice to highlight the app versus WordPress.com. There’s no mention or video of the WordPress.com user interface or other aspects of the site. As WordPress.com likes to do, this video is likely an experiment but in my opinion, fails to deliver on their central message. It’s aimed at too narrow of an audience and doesn’t adequately show off what WordPress.com is truly capable of. Granted, we’re talking about 15 seconds of video which is why I’d like see what the team creates if given one minute to get the point across.

Just for the sake of comparison, watch this SquareSpace ad. It’s a minute long, more to the point, and delivers on the message of creating a home on the web or in this case, creating your own space. The ad also does a good job of showing how the service can be used on various devices. When I watch this ad, I feel like people from all walks of life are able to easily create a site through SquareSpace.

Jon Burke Provides Context For The Video

In an effort not to cloud my judgement and reaction to the video, I reached out to Jon Burke, who works for Automattic, after publishing this post and received more information concerning the video.

Is the video actually a commercial or more or less an experiment?

WordPress.com has a freemium model and we run house ads. We have been running this video as a promotion on free sites. This video is part of a series. This video focuses on the utility of photos and the mobile apps. Other videos we are producing will focus on other aspects of WordPress.com.

The video is brief for a couple of reasons. We don’t want to interrupt the site viewers’ experience for too long and we wanted it to be viewable by our visitors where English is not the primary language.

So it is a commercial, but we are also experimenting with different videos about WordPress.com to see how we can best get our message out in a way that is organic with the culture of Automattic and the WordPress community.

Is it aimed towards raising awareness of the WordPress mobile app or WordPress.com?

This video is focused on our mobile apps. The comparison to the SquareSpace video is a fair one but our ambition is to get our message across better in a dozen videos rather than in a single, longer video. We create a lot of products and have a number of services and don’t think we can cover it all well in a single short video.

Now It Makes Sense

The explanation provided by Burke provides the missing context surrounding the video. The video now makes perfect sense in that it’s part of a series with plans to produce more like it focusing on other areas of WordPress.com. This information completely changes my tune. Instead of failing to deliver the message, it’s on point.

7 Comments


  1. I think it’s a great start! Yes, there is a focus on photo’s in this one, but I’ll bet you a beer it won’t be the focus of the next one :-) And photos are a big part of live & what people share online, so it’s not entirely strange.

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    1. Well, not entirely strange but considering everything that WordPress.com makes possible, the focus on images is strange to me. There is also the line of thought that WordPress.com and Automattic is going mobile first for everything and this short video is a nod to that. However, I don’t think desktops, notebooks, or other devices are dead and it would have been nice to see a video that gives them a nod as well. Like I said, mobile usage is through the roof and growing globally but WordPress.com has so much more to offer than just photo publishing. That’s what I want to see in a WordPress.com commercial.

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      1. I can see and agree with your point, but consider your audience too. Most people who do mobile photos push them to Instagram, Facebook, G+, Twitter. Showing them that you can do the same with a WordPress.com site and the mobile app is a good way to pull some more people in.

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  2. Yeah, um, I don’t get it. The connection between photos being snapped by an Iphone and WordPress.com is just not made. Maybe more than 15 seconds is needed to fully connect it all. I guess this works as a teaser, if it is swiftly followed up by more details.

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  3. This is a bit of a new comment and a reply to Jeff’s comment above…

    Mobile is definitely an important market that WordPress.com and Automattic need to be playing in, but the idea of a total mobile first approach is a bit out of line with how most people use WordPress.com and WordPress itself for… content.

    Sure mobile devices are a component of that but if the future of WordPress.com is primarily mobile driven I fear for the future of content.

    Why? Because the last device I want to use to create really good content beyond simply posting a beautiful photo would be my iPhone. The thought of writing long form content on my iPhone makes me cringe and ultimately I just wouldn’t do it.

    If the future of WordPress.com content is short form, which is what is ideal for creating on mobile devices, than i’m not sure that is a good thing.

    The mobile apps are absolutely important but I don’t think what WordPress and WordPress.com does is something that should be looked at as being driven by mobile first. It should be one component of many.

    I don’t know about you but some of the best content I read regularly is long form content and it’s not something that lends itself well to tapping it out on your mobile phone.

    I do like how the WordPress app is evolving though. It’s coming a long way and i’m sure it will continue to get better. But WordPress is a platform that is much bigger than mobile.

    As for the videos, I agree that it makes WordPress.com look like it’s Instagram. The SquareSpace video is brilliant. They did have the advantage of it running a minute long, but even at a shorter length it gets the message across much better.

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    1. What Carl said is exactly what has run through my mind also. All good points.

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  4. Jeff, I think your confusion is well founded.

    What message will people who never see all videos in the series be getting because of when or how often they visit those sites running them? Will it matter if they see them all, but don’t see them in order?

    Explaining the big picture is sometimes like explaining the joke… if you have to do it, then something’s missing.

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