Data Download: 2012 Was A Great Year For Fitness
By: Mark Beavers
MapMyFitness username: mark_beavers
Ah, data. The passing of each year reminds us that we truly live in a world filled with data. The start of the New Year brings the usual “year in review” stories – covering our ever-growing interest in cataloging our lives. So, we can now fondly look back on 2012, via the expected (best movies, best music, best books), and the quirky (best dog videos of 2012, best Olympic uniforms).
As Director of Analytics for MapMyFitness, I have one of the coolest jobs around. Part of that job includes trying to make sense of the tremendous volumes of data generated by our nearly 13 million members – as they sign up, record workouts, log nutrition, and participate in our challenges.
This data helps us understand which features our members like best (and least!) – and helps us decide where to focus our efforts in 2013. As a member, you may have seen occasional milestones by MapMyFitness – we had a lot to celebrate in 2012. We began the year with 6.5 million members, and then proceeded to add another 6 million additional members in 2012 alone!
No surprise, our business has seasonality – in warmer months, we saw more than 25,000 new members register each day. That number generally drops in winter, as we hunker down for cold weather, football games (go Aggies!), turkey dinners, and new episodes of Breaking Bad. Interestingly though, during the winter holidays, we see a huge spike in downloads of our iPhone and Android apps. As many people give and receive new smartphones, they discover our cool apps (MapMyRun, MapMyRide, MapMyWalk). These apps fit perfectly with New Year’s resolutions to get fit, lose weight, or run that first 10K.
Besides all of the end-of-year lists, it’s also fascinating to observe year-over-year trends that affect many of us – as individuals, consumers, or businesses. Our world is changing at a remarkable pace, and we saw some interesting trends* in the last year alone.
Compared to 2011, our members (you guys!) in 2012 both increased in number and became more active. Both of these metrics are critical to gauge the health of our company – they are strong indicators of acquisition and engagement. More importantly, they tell us how well we’re doing in the eyes of our users.
In 2012, you all logged serious mileage – more than 9 million rides, and more than 29 million runs! Our runners covered 116 million miles in 2012 – that’s more than the distance from the Earth to the Sun! These are big numbers – but they didn’t come solely from uber-athletes covering marathon distances. The average run was 3.9 miles, and the average ride was 14.5 miles. Those are distances even I can manage.
That’s an important point. In addition to highly active, motivated athletes, we’re committed to also helping “casual fitness enthusiasts” become more active and healthier. In 2012, we saw that 55-and-Over members comprised a greater percentage of our new members than in 2011 – in fact, it was our fastest-growing segment in 2012. It’s still a fairly small segment for us, but the growth trend in this age group reinforces our commitment to building features that appeal to groups of all ages.
During 2013, we’ll share more insights from our data with you – it’s a fascinating lens for understanding MapMyFitness. We’ll also include some of our learnings about how to handle large volumes of data from many disparate sources – as well as some of the problems we haven’t solved yet. It’ll be a fun ride! Stay fit.
*Data mentioned above encompasses all MapMyFitness brands