Social media analytics provider Viralheat announced Tuesday that it has raised $4.25 million in a Series A funding round led by Mayfield Fund. The round is a big boost for Viralheat, which had previously raised just $75,000 in seed funding.
Marketing tools that take advantage of the thriving social sphere have so far focused on helping brands and businesses keep up with all the content already surrounding their name on the Web. It’s been a game of "catch up" for many brands, especially the larger ones, as they've sought to understand how people talk about them on social media and how best to engage with those people, all of which are potential customers.
If seeing content about themselves was the first step, engagement was the next step for businesses. Actively participating in the online discussion about your brand, which will happen whether you’re there or not.
Building off of that, Viralheat appears to be ushering in a third wave of social media monitoring and engagement, whereby businesses can gain insight into which users are literally on the verge of making a purchase in real-time.
"Let's be honest. Social media monitoring and so-called listening as we know it is commoditized and doesn't provide the insights that today's businesses seek," said Raj Kadam, co-founder and CEO of Viralheat. "We're drowning in mentions. The next frontier for this market is future-tense intelligence and analytics that tell you what is going to happen - not merely what has happened. We're already the leader in this blossoming category, and the market is responding strongly."
The key phrase, ”future-tense,” means that Viralheat is necessarily analyzing a combination of factors, including social media trends (in general), individual sentiment analysis and tons of other data gathered from influencers across the social Web.
Already using Viralheat are several well-known clients, from major technology companies (Microsoft, HP and Nokia) to big consumer brands (Coca-Cola, Disney and MTV). That’s pretty impressive for a company that had hitherto thrived on a seed round.
The new funding will be used to expand Viralheat’s engineering team, to create new products and services, and to accelerate customer acquisition and revenue growth.