Company Close Up: Sprouting Social Success

“I’m in total awe of what our people have been able to accomplish with everything going on. What I’ve seen in 2020 gives me total confidence that we’ll be OK,” said Justyn Howard, CEO and co-founder, Sprout Social. He turned out to be right, and more than OK. Like any other business offering digital solutions, […]


  • “I’m in total awe of what our people have been able to accomplish with everything going on. What I’ve seen in 2020 gives me total confidence that we’ll be OK,” said Justyn Howard, CEO and co-founder, Sprout Social. He turned out to be right, and more than OK.

    Like any other business offering digital solutions, the social media management platform also had to pause, reassess, and work harder to be a step ahead of its competitors during the pandemic-led digital transformation. By the end of 2021 — the year of recovery, Sprout Social came out stronger and better. With their soaring stock prices that made investors very happy, and their 202 per cent return, the company has had a busy and productive year.

    The 2021 Highlights

    Last year, Sprout released Messenger API support for Instagram to its customers. It enabled businesses to get a holistic view of their incoming messages in a centralised inbox, along with secure organisation and management of messages from their customers. Similarly, in November, the company integrated WhatsApp messaging into its product suite. The partnership allows seamless B2B customer experiences at scale.

    Sprout Social also announced the first-of-its-kind social commerce solution. It integrated with Shopify and Facebook Shops to allow brands to effectively manage their commerce strategy within Sprout’s unified platform. They could deliver a better customer care experience and provide personalised interactions throughout the purchase cycle.

    Apart from a consumer’s conscious shopping trend, businesses are also turning environmentally friendly. Sprout Social’s largest impact on the environment is its electricity consumption. Sprout Social launched an Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) website that reflected the platform’s realigned commitment to sustainability.

    Focusing on limiting its environmental impact, the cloud-based social media management software’s ESG initiatives include energy conservation with energy-efficient equipment and partnerships with suppliers that follow sustainable practices; diversity, equity and inclusion; and ethical conduct.

    The company announced the addition of Yelp to its review management capabilities. Yelp’s data now allows users to centralise their review management efforts to gain customer feedback and strengthen its online reputation.

    Underlining the company’s market expansion and accelerated growth rate, Sprout Social hit two major milestones in the third quarter of 2021. One, it surpassed $200 million in annual recurring revenue; two, it reached the 30,000 mark of trusted customers worldwide.  Some of their global clients include Glassdoor, Cloudera, Evernote, Shopify, SUBARU, CASIO, and Zendesk.

    How it Sprouted

    In 2000, social media was just a one-way channel for brands to market and advertise their messages. In 2010, it became a two-way communication medium between brands and their customers.

    And as many company stories begin, Sprout Social birthed from Howard’s frustration over the lack of social tools that could allow him to seamlessly connect with his customers. He began to believe that social media could change brand-customer interaction.

    Together with Aaron Rankin, CTO; Gilbert Lara, Creative Director; and Peter Soung, Director of Web & Mobile, Sprout Social was launched in 2010 with an initial funding of $1million.

    The following year, the Chicago-based company received another $10 million funding, and in 2012, it hit the 10,000 customers milestone, and was processing 30 million customer interactions every month, including McDonald’s, Pepsi, and Twilio.

    The startup grew to an established company that offered deep social media listening and analytics, social management, customer care, commerce and advocacy solutions. In 2018, it recorded over 500 employees working worldwide, a $40.5 million Series D funding, and a new office in Dublin. Next year, it became a public company with 39 per cent growth in revenue. The unified platform might not currently be profitable, but we believe it is on the horizon.

    Recent Case Study: Grammarly

    Reduction in average time to first response: over 80 per cent
    Average number of messages received per month: 13,000
    Competitive share of voice: 71 per cent

    With over 30 million users, Grammarly needed an effective customer communication solution provider on social media. Enter Sprout Social. With its unique solutions including smart inbox, team conversation, inbox team report, the Grammarly team was able to deliver clear, consistent customer care.

    In 2021, Grammarly began to use Sprout’s listening tool to keep track of brand health and competitive share of voice. With this feature, it was able to extract more product insights from major platforms, including Twitter and Reddit.

    The Only Acquisition in Over 10 Years

    It was in 2017 when Sprout Social acquired a social analytics firm, Simply Measured to expand the range and depth of its offerings. With its full-funnel analytics, Simply Measured provided better intelligence and helped social marketers improve their programs and generate actionable insights from their social data.


    Justyn Howard, CEO and co-founder, Sprout Social

    The Popular Sprout Tools

    Identifying the need for social networking skills among company employees in 2015, Sprout Social introduced a social advocacy platform, Bambu. It helped employees become more active, engaging, and vocal over the social network. “It is a natural and necessary progression for our business to now provide organisations with a tool that opens another communication channel to activate social conversations,” said Howard. With Bambu, employees could easily curate and customise content, stay updated about the company’s content, and foster a deeper connection with the brand and customers.

    In 2017, the company launched its Bot Builder tool to be part of its engagement suite. It helped brands create their own Twitter bots for conversations in direct messages. With no coding or technical knowledge requirement, Sprout Social allowed its customers to create functional bots within minutes.

    While there are no 2022 goals or visions announced yet, we expect something substantial in the coming months.

    If you liked reading this, you might like our other stories

    Is Social Commerce The Future of Shopping?
    Brands, Raise Your Social Game


    More Like This