The goals

Guidebook is a mobile app builder that lets users create customized apps quickly for events, schools, places, and companies. With tens of thousands of customers, like Oculus, Amazon, and Coca-Cola, Guidebook is the leading choice when organizations need to build professional apps on demand. But to demonstrate that its apps work, Guidebook needs to deliver data back to its customers.

“My first big project with Guidebook was getting the infrastructure in place to quickly get an idea of how people were using our software,” Patrick McNally, Director of Research and Development at Guidebook, said. “We want to capture any major interaction with a piece of content and be able to represent that to our clients.”

By choosing Mixpanel, Guidebook was able to implement a data infrastructure that could support its high volume and feed all of that data about end-users back to Guidebook’s clients through self-serve dashboards. The result is an analytics solution that is flexible for Guidebook, but cheaper than building something in-house.

“Other solutions don't give you access to your data, and they control pretty heavily the types of questions you can ask of it. We liked that Mixpanel could handle the capacity we needed it to handle, right out of the box, an we liked the access it afforded us." -Patrick McNally, Director of Research and Development Guidebook

The solution

In looking for a data solution, Guidebook needed more than just a data warehouse. It needed a powerful infrastructure with APIs flexible enough to connect back to its CMS system.

“What I liked about Mixpanel was its query APIs,” Patrick said. “I really wanted to try out the Mixpanel as a legitimate back-end, serving queries from your system directly to our clients.”

Guidebook uses Mixpanel to collect data sent to customers’ apps built on its platform. This meant it could handle massive volumes of user data via Mixpanel at a fraction of what it would’ve cost to build a database in-house.

In addition to being frugal, Mixpanel was a quick and easy solution for Guidebook. Patrick and his team were able to implement it into the Guidebook software without having to write server-side code for examining and collecting data.

And ultimately, Mixpanel made Guidebook look good for its customers by making them look good for their end-users. All of Guidebook’s customer dashboards are queried from millions of data points sent to Mixpanel.

Customers can see the ROI immediately

Every customer has access to analytics in the Guidebook platform through queries sent to Mixpanel.

“We started collecting millions of data points per month,” Patrick said. “We built client-facing dashboards in our content management system, and support these by querying Mixpanel directly, like a database.”

Guidebook’s customers enjoy having instant analytics, because it lets them know whether the apps they build work.

“To customers, we can use the data queried from Mixpanel to demonstrate the return on their investments,” Patrick said. “Previously, our most valuable clients were interested in what their usage was. To actually turn it into a self-service feature where people say, ‘This is really valuable,’ was a big move for us.”

“We evaluated quite a few companies. Mixpanel was pretty clearly the winner."

The results

Guidebook bought Mixpanel at a fraction of what DIY costs

“We primarily use Mixpanel as a high-volume message queue, storing all of the end-user data that comes to the message queue,” Patrick said. “A lot of infrastructure is required to be able to handle the millions of data points that our software produces every month.”

Patrick and his team could’ve built this infrastructure from the ground up, but considering Guidebook’s data volume, this would’ve been costly to scale. “If you were going to build a Mixpanel from scratch, you’d need a very high-capacity message queue,” Patrick says. “It’d need to scale appropriately. Our scale needs to handle major spikes in activity.”

In retrospect, choosing Mixpanel over a do-it-yourself data solution was the right choice.

“There’s quality of life for us,” Patrick said. “Our engineers and I are really glad we don’t have to build something like this. I’d say we could handle our capacity at twice the cost of Mixpanel.”

Data collection, without server-side code

Once Patrick decided which solution he was going to buy, the Guidebook team was astonished by how quickly they could implement Mixpanel across their software. The process was simple and quick.

“We were able to get started collecting and examining data, without writing a single line of server-side code,” Patrick said. “And just like that, we went from not knowing much about how end- users use Guidebook apps to knowing a tremendous amount.”

Instead of writing server-side code, Patrick’s team was able to focus on making Guidebook a fantastic product for clients and end-users, and leave the data collection to Mixpanel.

Conclusion

Since Guidebook is able to show customers that their apps are working, customers know that Guidebook is working. Mixpanel makes that relationship not only possible, but also simple.

“Data collections coverage across all Guidebook’s so ware has never been as complete as it is today,” Patrick said. “Our ability to collect immense amounts of data from our apps and examine how our users interact has never been stronger.”