Since 2008, Golfshot has been committed to improving the golfer’s experience on and off the course. It’s the most powerful and trusted on-course GPS, scoring, statistics, and Auto Shot tracking app used by millions of golfers. As the only golf GPS app to offer augmented reality on the course, players can experience a full 360-degree view of each hole with the ability to pinpoint each pin location on over 500,000 holes worldwide.
Before implementing Mixpanel in 2016, the team used Google Analytics and Firebase to understand basic analytics. Data wasn’t yet an integral part of the product development process.
Mixpanel has brought visibility into how players engage with the app which allows the team to move quickly on feature releases. Mixpanel is the source of truth for all product data, to keep a pulse on the performance, utilization, reach, and more, 20+ core KPIs are tracked weekly.
- Confidently launched Auto Shot tracking app
- Increase in active players and rounds played
- Improved their product launch process
How they did it
What was the team using before Mixpanel was implemented in 2016?
The team leveraged Fabric.io/Firebase and Google Analytics. We implemented some events in Google Analytics and gained some value, however, we needed a better solution that allowed for more sophisticated analysis.
Why was Google Analytics not enough for the GolfShot Team?
We needed a tool that allowed us to track user data and target users for messaging services. While Mixpanel has sunset the messaging product, we use Mixpanel and Braze to achieve that today.
Mixpanel’s UI for event tracking and understanding user behaviors was ahead of anything we saw from Google Analytics. Even as a non-technical person, I’m able to garner insights from the data. I try to claim I’m more technical now, but I still appreciate a simple UI that helps me understand data. I didn’t realize how much we were missing the mark with product analytics until we started tracking events in Mixpanel including properties.
Honestly, as far as the customer and user experience go, Mixpanel is still ahead of the competition.
What’s a trend you are seeing in golf at the moment with Mixpanel?
We use Mixpanel every Monday morning to get a pulse on the rounds played. This Fall we’ve been trending up for rounds played compared to last year. Just this last week, we saw a 16% rise in year-over-year growth. Given most rounds come from Saturday and Sunday play, I think Halloween landing on a Monday impacted that increase. Last year we recognized a 71% increase over the prior year and we attributed that to COVID-19 factors.
What are some product changes that have been implemented based on learnings from Mixpanel?
We like to sit on the leading edge of golf technology and advancement. We consider ourselves fast-paced and manage a steady release of updates. To be fast-paced while understanding what you’re doing, you need visibility into the data and that’s what Mixpanel is for.
We released Auto Shot tracking a year and a half ago and continue to see adoption and utilization rate grow in Mixpanel. Auto Shot is where we put a lot of our development efforts. We trained a machine learning (ML) model with tens of thousands of swings, hitting a ball, not hitting a ball, and then doing other various things, jogging out to the ball, and putting your clubs away. Our multi-classification model will say this was a swing, this was a practice swing and this is not a swing.
Mixpanel records the events from the Apple Watch and iPhone and knows what to count as a successful swing. When we felt confident with the data and ML model we knew we could take it to market and begin promotion.
What core KPIs are on your dashboards?
We’ve set up dashboards that have all of our key reports that we need to keep a pulse on, these include:
- Purchase error rates – when people hit buy, it works. I always tell my development team, don’t break the money button. That’s the one thing that keeps us going, so that button always has to work.
- GolfShot GPS – our flagship product which gets 85-90% of usage – dashboard to track overall performance, utilization, etc.
- Tee time bookings and tee time interest – Gain a sense of how many tee times are sold and understand a week or two ahead of time if people are interested in booking tee times for particular weekends.
- Core features utilized
- Rounds played – week over week and compared to the previous year
- Free and paid user utilization rates
- Popular courses
- Number of accounts created
- Rounds played
- Android vs. iOS
- Active Users: DAU, WAU, MAU
What are your favorite features within Mixpanel?
Kyle: My favorite feature of Mixpanel is the overarching simplicity of the system. My second favorite feature would be filters and breakdowns. Mixpanel is limited to your imagination. As long as you’re tracking the data, you can ask yourself fascinating questions, and get answers to them easily. I often view the data by demographic characteristics, geography, or core player data like their average par, handicap, etc.
John: I echo breakdowns. I know I use that feature a lot for decision-making. I keep breakdowns on my dashboard of what operating system people are using. From there, I can look at all the different iOS versions they’re using and make decisions about what our minimum supported iOS is going to be. To understand which wearable devices we should develop software for next or keep stable, we look at the Bluetooth or Android devices our members are connecting to.
Kelsey: The ability to track and see where our dips and rises exist in the purchase flow. By understanding where people fall off and why they fall off, we can then target them with messaging using Braze. Mixpanel and Braze have helped with our campaigns since we can effectively segment our audience.
Has Mixpanel helped the team find product-market fit faster?
We used Mixpanel for battery monitoring on the Apple Watch for Auto Shot tracking. This data helped us find the market fit and be confident with our decision. I don’t think I would sweep a room in the dark. I would want the lights on. What Mixpanel does is it lets us see what we’re doing at a hyper-granular level and we can make data-driven improvements or updates based on the insights.
How do you use Mixpanel for product releases?
We’ve been around since 2008, almost 15 years. We know millions of golfers are depending on us – our reputations are on the line with every release. So we’re held on ensuring that we’re delivering solid products that meet user expectations. Mixpanel gives us a boost of confidence before we push out our marketing materials promoting a new feature to hundreds of thousands of users by confirming the product release is stable and will be adopted by our users. Mixpanel also allows us to make better decisions just even for the simple stuff.
We want to see what kind of engagement we’re getting when we release features because if we’re not getting engagement on the new features, we’re doing something wrong. Mixpanel allows us to get to know that very quickly. What we do a lot of the time is quiet releases of new features to see how discoverable they are. We’ll update the app and monitor the stability and see how many people are finding the feature organically. If they’re not, then we start putting in breadcrumbs or announcements that lead them to the new feature.
We talk about Auto Shot tracking all the time, but we just released it for Android a couple of weeks ago. We did a beta program before the soft release – every step of the way we’ve been monitoring usage in Mixpanel until the point where we said, okay, we’ve got enough adoption in Mixpanel, we feel like our product is stable enough to shout about it to the world.
How does Mixpanel’s pricing compare to other product analytics tools?
Whereas a lot of the tools we looked at actually charge you for events just for updating your users, Mixpanel doesn’t. Being able to update user profile properties without them being counted against our bill allows us to keep our users and our database clean and in sync with Braze.
What’s it like working with your account team?
It’s been great to stay close with Matt and Bobby from the Mixpanel team. They keep us up to date on new product updates, and features we should be utilizing. Mixpanel provides a space to ask questions.
An example of an interesting conversation we had was when we asked Bobby and Matt for advice on battery tracking on the Apple Watch. It’s critical that if we provide a user with a product for golf that it lasts their entire golf round. We created a really beautiful chart of our battery degradation through the course of an 18-hole round by device, iOS type, and app version basis. It’s helped us understand which devices we want to support moving forward and it’s helped us formulate the narrative that we publish for our support team and public FAQ.