In 2019, Passion Factory launched Balance Friends to help women in Korea lose weight in a healthy and balanced way. Balance Friends is a chatbot-based health coaching app that allows users to log and track their diet and exercise via a dialogue interface, and make personalized conversation with a chatbot persona, according to the user’s contextual data. It is the first such service in Korea that utilizes a chatbot to provide personalized and customized advice in a fun, conversational way.
The Korean health and fitness market is extremely competitive, with a variety of online and offline services already available. To stand out effectively, Passion Factory knew early on that they needed to make sure that users have a great experience and stay engaged. To do this, a data-driven approach was needed to gain insights into their users’ behavior.
“Our idea from the start was to use a chatbot but we were not sure if users liked this style of communication from a diet app as it was very new in Korea. We had to test and gather more data to see if there was a good product-market fit,” said Jeonghoon Lee, the company’s CEO and Co-Founder.
To do this, Passion Factory needed to answer the following questions:
- How can we segment our users according to their behaviors?
- Which of the chatbot dialogues were users engaging in and where were users dropping off?
- What elements of our UI were users engaging with and what were they not engaging with?
- Which segment of users have higher retention and why?
Getting these answers required data and analysis in real-time to support rapid experimentation and product iterations. As a new startup with limited resources, Passion Factory decided that they needed an off-the-shelf tool that was easy to set up and also enabled self-service analytics.
Solution and results
The Passion Factory team found out about Mixpanel and started with the free plan. Very quickly, they saw that Mixpanel had all the right analysis needed for answering their questions and upgraded to a paid plan to support their needs.
Finding product-market fit through experimentation and personalization
With user retention being a key indicator of product-market fit, the Passion Factory team set out to ensure that users stay engaged and continue to use the app actively.
They paid close attention to the chatbot experience that is a core feature of Balance Friends. Users get to pick from a list of responses, and Ram-Hee, the chatbot character, dishes out diet and wellness advice. There are even options for users to exchange casual banter with Ram-Hee. To make the chat experience as personalized and as engaging as possible, Passion Factory developed different dialogue options and responses in the app.
Passion Factory used funnels reports to get an aggregated view of conversions over a series of chatbot selections. This enabled them to see where users were dropping off so they could find a way to provide more personalized dialogue options. Through rigorous testing, they optimized the chatbot to reduce drop-off and increase user engagement.
“When we created the chatbot, we were not sure whether it was something users would like and interact with. Without Mixpanel, it would have been really difficult to identify which chat options were popular, and which were not working and had to be switched out,” said Lee.
They also segmented users into different cohorts based on their chat preferences, building new chatbot flows to cater to the differing tastes of each cohort and to further promote user engagement.
Each user cohort also receives personalized push messages based on their usage history. Data from the messages which are sent through OneSignal are analyzed in Mixpanel to determine the effectiveness of the notifications, with testing conducted weekly.
Passion Factory also integrates mobile attribution data from Branch with Mixpanel to track which channels were most efficient in acquiring users that fit their ideal user profile.
Within the first year of launch, Passion Factory validated it’s product-market fit. Through Mixpanel’s retention report, they could see their user retention consistently growing, with more than 250% increase in 4-week retention rate over one year.
Their 7-day Power User Curve shows a healthy proportion of users who use the app every day of the week. On top of that, social media mentions, user reviews and downloads were growing consistently.
Unearthing insights for exponential growth
“Everyone in the company is using Mixpanel–the UX and Engineering teams look at Flows and Funnels a lot to test feature and UX changes; Marketing focuses on tracking new users, daily active users (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU) using Insights; the Content team focuses on the performance of different chatbot dialogues using Funnels,” said Lee.
“There is something in Mixpanel for everybody, but for me as a founder, I want to see everything and I’m glad I can also get that overview in Mixpanel,” he added.
With the insights provided in Mixpanel, Passion Factory figured out their value moment which is the event or action that represents the moment their user finds value in their product. “Although it has changed with time, and may change again later, we realised that if we can get users to record their meals on the app for more than four days a week, they are a real big fan,” Lee explained.
This knowledge, along with the validation of their product-market fit, gave them the confidence to increase investment into user acquisition in late 2020. Since then, user growth has increased exponentially.
Balance Friends now has over 500,000 app downloads, which is more than 100x the downloads they had when they first started using Mixpanel. They also won a 2020 Google Play Best Award in Korea.
“With Mixpanel, we unearthed many hidden insights regarding our product and users. We would not have been able to drive 100x growth and provide users with an exceptional experience without these insights,” said Lee.