After Semrush (SEMR 0.51%) reported strong earnings growth in its third quarter on November 9th, shares of the company sank, but they recovered again by the end of the week. This came after Semrush reported strong earnings, beating on both the top and bottom line. That's the third time out of its three quarters as a public company where it has done so.
Shares are now up over 106%, and some investors are wondering if they have missed the boat on this strong company. Semrush is a leader in marketing technology. Its immense switching costs and leadership across all areas of the market make me believe that Semrush shares could multiply tenfold or more from here. At just a $3.5 billion market capitalization, I envision Semrush growing much bigger in the next few years. That's why I don't think it is too late to buy shares today.
The leader in search engine management
Semrush is trying to help its customers become more visible online to their target consumers. Consumers spend an average of 6.5 hours online every day. Almost every single second of that time, they have an ad in front of them. Because of this constant advertising exposure, consumers have learned to mentally block out ads, making it difficult for advertisers to address their target markets. Semrush helps these advertisers stand out by offering them a software platform that provides campaign-planning data and a strategy to effectively reach their target market.
Semrush offers companies data from keywords, social media, user behavior, and many other metrics to provide advertisers with the best information to make their next move. With all of this data, Semrush has become a leader in the marketing technology space. The company has created a wide-ranging offering, helping advertisers with everything from search engine optimization to PR analytics. While Semrush's competitors offer tools in two or three strategies, Semrush offers over 50 tools in 17 different marketing strategies. Even better, Semrush is a market leader in 12 of these categories.
While other companies might be heavy-hitters in specific strategies, advertisers do not want to jump between three or more platforms for specific advertising plans. Instead, they would rather go to one platform with data and planning for all types of marketing strategies, and Semrush allows them to do that. Because of this, Semrush has been able to land big-name customers such as Salesforce (CRM 2.29%) and Walt Disney (DIS 0.83%), along with 30% of the Fortune 500 and 79,000 other customers.
The chances for a competitor to catch up get harder every day that Semrush is the leader for three primary reasons. First, the company's switching costs are incredibly high as a customer uses more products and gets integrated deeper into the product ecosystem. Second, the company's data advantage is immensely high, and the company's scale and size have allowed it to obtain massive amounts of data that smaller players might not be able to obtain.
Third, Semrush is a neutral middle-man in the strategic decision-making process for how companies want to advertise. Bigger competitors like Alphabet (GOOG 1.56%) (GOOGL 1.61%) might have as much data as Semrush does. However, Alphabet's Google arm also has strong incentives to convince advertisers to market on its platforms rather than what might actually be best for the client.
A huge winner
Financially, this company is as sturdy as it gets. In its third quarter, which was released on November 9th, the company reported a net loss of $615,000, which decreased from $1 million in the year-ago quarter. Considering that the company has $189 million in cash and generated $17 million in free cash flow so far this year, its net loss is very minimal.
The company has been growing rapidly as well. Q3 customer count grew 23% year-over-year to 79,000, and revenue grew 53% to $49 million. Semrush's net retention rate also increased to 124%, compared to 121% from the year-ago quarter. Semrush expects this growth to continue through 2020: Guidance for Q4 represents 42%-43% year-over-year revenue growth and its full-year guidance has the company's revenue growing 49% compared to 2020.
This company's growth is outstanding, and everything seems to be moving in the right direction. Its average revenue per user increased 20%, demonstrating that its customers are expanding their relationships with Semrush by adding more products. The company is valued at a pricey 20 times sales, but, when a company is executing like Semrush, a high valuation is to be expected.
While the company faces immense competition from Google, Meta (FB), and numerous niche providers, Semrush's neutrality and wide offering allow them to stand out in the crowded field. Also, while Google and Apple (AAPL 0.79%) have begun to get rid of third-party tracking cookies, Semrush was seemingly unaffected, indicating that this business is impressively robust.
With immense optionality, a sustainable competitive edge, and astounding financial resilience and growth, I am bullish on Semrush and expect this company to crush the market over the next five years. This is why this is one of my top stocks to buy today, and why I don't think it is too late to invest in Semrush despite the stock's impressive run-up since its IPO.