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We’ve been working to turn around a decline for a few years now at Buffer.

Last year everything finally came together, in 2023 we had our least decline in the past 4 years, and we’re now growing in 2024.

How did we do it? Here are some of our learnings.

First, the details of top level 2023 results and turnaround vs prior years:

– We declined 1.75%, whereas in the prior two years we declined 6-8%
– We grew 7 of 12 months in 2023, vs only 1 of 12 months in 2022
– We saw a 2.21% increase in Monthly Active Users to 139,377
– We we welcomed 946,614 new user signups to Buffer, a 28.95% increase compared to 2022
– We had 39,463 new paying customers in 2023, a 9.97% increase from the prior year

What has been driving the turnaround? This was the big shift:

– In 2021, we committed to a clear strategy of going down-market and truly serving entrepreneurs, creators, and small businesses.
– Going in this direction is relatively unheard of in SaaS, but for Buffer I determined that it was the right path forward for us. It can often be seen as an unattractive segment, but for us, this segment is about dreams and possibility, and we love being the product that helps folks go from zero to one and beyond.
– This forced us to get really clear on our strategy, the why, and our target customer. That work paid off; in the past 2 years we’ve heard consistently from the team that this is the clearest they’ve ever felt about what we’re trying to do and where we’re going with Buffer

Tangibly, this led to us making these changes in 2023:

– We significantly increased our shipping pace, and our diligence for higher quality. This led to a step-change improvement in what we’re putting out there for new customers.
– Almost everything we’ve shipped, we’ve rolled out across free and paid plans, which captures the highest number of users to market to.
– We made our primary flow for new users go straight into the free plan. This alongside other efforts led to 28.95% higher signups in 2023 vs 2022.
– We’ve lined up everything with this down-market focus. We increased production of content marketing, invested in SEO and taking domain authority and keyword ranking to a new level. We focused on rebuilding a thriving community. We’ve made it easier to be connected with customers, pushed our customer support to better response times and higher quality answers. We combed through the product to plug UX issues and dead-ends in various user flows. And everyone in the team is dogfooding Buffer again.

This is just scratching the surface of our results, strategy, and the work we did to create a turnaround 2023 for Buffer.

Read our 2023 shareholder letter with in depth insights into how we’re growing a long-term and independent SaaS business: https://buffer.com/shareholders/2023

What else would you like to know about how we achieved a turnaround in our numbers?