Within the U.S. alone, Forrester estimates social media marketing to be worth $3.1 billion by the year 2014. The market was worth $0.72 billion in 2009, which makes for a projected annual growth rate of 34%. Texas-based Bazaarvoice is a leading marketing company that is helping more than 1,200 brands tap into the social media market.
Bazaarvoice was founded in 2005 by co-founders Brett Hurt and Brant Barton to create suites of solutions that use customer reviews and contributions to capture, display, and market products and services across business segments. As its name suggests, Bazaarvoice captures and analyzes the voice of the marketplace to provide businesses feedback and tools on their brand and product. The company’s SaaS-based solutions include services that enable clients to capture and display online word of mouth, engage consumers through feedback questionnaires, analyze feedback, and distribute content among retail and other brand websites.
The company earns revenues through subscriptions to their services to a customer list that includes the likes of Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Orbitz and the recently added Expedia. They claim to have almost 590 customers helping them generate $64.5 million in revenue for the year ending April 2011. In 2010, revenue was $38.6 million and in 2009 the company reported revenue of $22.5 million. Bazaarvoice has yet to turn profitable. Last year the reported a net loss of $20 million, increasing over the previous year’s $8 million and 2009’s loss of $5 million.
Till now, they have raised $19.9 million in funding through investors, which include Austin Ventures, Battery Ventures, First Round Capital, Eastern Advisors, and Constantin Partners. Recently, Bazaarvoice filed the S-1 confirming plans to go public. The offering is expected to raise $80 million in cash pegging the company’s stock worth at more than $200 million.
Bazaarvoice’s International Expansion
Of late, Bazaarvoice has been focusing on international markets. They already support services in over 20 languages and recently expanded operations in Paris. Their first French client is Fnac, a distributor of products including books, CDs, micro-computers, and photography equipment. Besides Paris, Bazaarvoice has an international presence in London, Austin, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Singapore, Stockholm, and Sydney.
Forrester estimates that in 2009, retail sales influenced by the Web exceeded $1 trillion. The researcher estimates that by 2015, the online influence on retail sales, which includes ratings and reviews, will influence an estimated 52% of total online and offline retail sales. Bazaarvoice has its sights set on that market opportunity.