We’ve shared a variety of elements of Buffer’s enterprise transparently through the years — and one piece we’ve all the time needed to develop on is the place your cash goes whenever you pay for a Buffer subscription.
We shared a put up about where your money went when buying a $10 Buffer plan again in 2014 — however it was nicely time for an replace.
Quite a bit has modified during the last 9 years, and we wish to share among the learnings and insights gained from wanting again at our numbers.
We’re additionally joyful to share a extra sustainable means of offering this info — our new clear pricing dashboard. You may discuss with it anytime to see the place your cash goes when buying a Buffer subscription, and even look again at earlier years to see how issues have modified.
How our funds have developed whereas staying true to our mission
Taking a look at our funds during the last 9 years, you’ll discover fluctuations throughout the completely different classes. The most important improve you’ll discover will probably be our worker bills. Since 2014 our group has grown from 34 to 78 group members. These bills have additionally elevated on account of:
- the evolution of our salary formula
- lots of our teammates rising into extra senior-level roles (and their pay reflecting this!), and
- our dedication to maintain up with market charges on the subject of how we pay our group.
One other necessary element to notice is how Common Gross sales Worth (ASP) and Bills have modified over time. Our Common Sale Worth (ASP) in 2014 was $13, whereas our complete Working Prices had been $3,575,897. In 2022, our ASP was $20, and our Working Prices hit $19,757,852. Whereas our complete Working Bills have elevated by 452 p.c within the final 9 years, our ASP has solely elevated by 54 p.c throughout the identical timeframe.
For us, that’s a rewarding indication we’ve stayed true to our mission and technique to assist small companies. We’ve deliberately chosen to not go up-market and serve enterprise clients, however fairly we’re dedicated to serving to small companies and impressive people develop their manufacturers on social media.
A have a look at our pricing historical past
Our ASP additionally displays the adjustments we’ve made to our pricing mannequin through the years. Right here’s a have a look at how our pricing and plans have modified over time:
A better have a look at the place subscriptions go
Buffer operates as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm. This implies our software program is hosted on the cloud and used over an web connection through an internet browser or cell app. Our internet hosting prices embrace service suppliers like AWS, Cloudflare, MongoDb, Twitter, and many others.
Service provider Charges
At Buffer, we depend on Stripe, Google, and Apple for our fee processing wants. Stripe funds make up 98.5 p.c of our complete income and 83 p.c of our charges. Google and Apple funds make up 2.5% of our complete income and 17 p.c of our charges. These platforms are very important in simplifying our fee operations by offering a safe infrastructure to course of bank card transactions, deal with a number of currencies, and handle recurring funds with out advanced improvement. Safety and compliance are essential to us, and utilizing fee processing instruments ensures the safety of delicate buyer fee info and maintains regulatory compliance.
Salaries + Worker Bills
Worker bills are our largest funds class making up over 80 p.c of our complete working bills. This class consists of the associated fee for our group salaries, payroll taxes, and advantages akin to medical insurance, employer contributions to 401k and pension plans, and persevering with training (like conferences, free books, and training!).
Instruments + Operations
We use quite a lot of software program instruments to assist our group and clients. These embrace admin instruments like Slack, Dropbox, Threads, Expensify, and Notion (to call just a few!), plus further instruments like Chartmogul, Mixpanel, and Phase.
Every space inside Buffer additionally has varied instruments to assist their wants like our Advocacy group that makes use of Zendesk to serve our clients and Advertising that makes use of Buyer.io and Pendo for buyer communication and engagement.
A number of classes of bills assist assist Buffer’s general operations. These embrace bills like exterior companies akin to accounting, authorized, and consultants. This class additionally consists of our workplace bills like enterprise insurance coverage, financial institution prices, and web and co-working prices to assist our group to work wherever they’re happiest.
This class additionally consists of the price of computer systems for our group. Every teammate is eligible for a brand new pc each three years.
Our journey funds consists of all prices concerned in group gatherings like retreats and meetups. We goal to have one company-wide retreat yearly.
Journey is embedded into Buffer’s values—a lot in order that our whole distant group meets up yearly at varied spots worldwide. Up till 2016, we had retreats twice a 12 months. However our group grew so giant over time that it made much more sense to maneuver the gatherings to only annually. Though we totally imagine we don’t need to be in the identical constructing (and even on the identical continent!) to do nice work collectively, it’s exceptional to see the influence every week in the identical place has on our group.
Our Advertising funds consists of prices for promoting (i.e., paid advertising and marketing on platforms like Google and Meta) and prices to assist work with a content material company and different consultants like people who present companies for app retailer optimization.
This class helps the price of gross sales taxes in US states the place we’ve reached Nexus (i.e., a enterprise presence in a specific state). We additionally pay VAT in the UK. In years the place we’re worthwhile, this class additionally consists of revenue taxes to the US IRS.
Wanting forward at our future investments
After we look forward to future years, we anticipate that worker bills will proceed to make up the vast majority of our Working Prices. We stay dedicated to paying our group pretty and equitably (and transparently!). Buffer is what it’s right this moment due to the sturdy dedication of our proficient group, and our working prices replicate how a lot we worth every group member who has devoted their work life to constructing one thing particular alongside us. We’ve plans to evolve our present wage method frequently, and we stay up for the day after we can take away the Cost of Living component of our wage method.
One other merchandise on our minds is that we’ve some thrilling updates coming round fairness at Buffer. We hope to introduce an worker buyback program within the subsequent 12 to 18 months as soon as we return to a spot of profitability.
We additionally plan to proceed to put money into paid advertising and marketing. During the last 18 months, we’ve made an intentional effort to put money into paid advertising and marketing, which incorporates paid advertisements primarily by way of Google Adverts. Our common Return On Advert Spend (ROAS) during the last 5 months is a big 198 p.c. We’re additionally working with a number of exterior advertising and marketing consultants to assist with content material for our weblog and Search Engine Optimization (search engine optimisation) work. Our advertising and marketing funds has actually grown within the final two years, however we’re seeing this funding repay.
One other space we anticipate we are going to proceed to put money into is AI. At this level, we’ve constructed an AI assistant to generate content material for our clients, and we’re additionally utilizing AI internally for areas akin to Engineering and Marketing. There are nonetheless countless alternatives for AI-powered buyer options, and we are going to proceed to construct upon what we’ve constructed. We additionally foresee that we are going to construct extra superior inner AI instruments to serve our clients higher and proceed exploring how we are able to make the most of AI to develop and enhance the in-app assist expertise.
Lastly, we are going to proceed to put money into group retreats and we’re excited that we’ve already kicked off preliminary planning for a full firm retreat for 2024. In 2022, we kicked off smaller group gatherings as a option to ease again into meet-ups whereas being aware of Covid publicity. Our 2024 retreat will probably be our first full firm retreat since 2019, and we plan on budgeting $5,500 per individual (roughly $440,000 complete).
Over to You
What else would you prefer to learn about our funds at Buffer? Go away a remark under to tell us!