First and foremost, our customers count on us to deliver a fast, reliable service that pays them on time. We had our second year in a row of 100% uptime. And that comes even with 1,590 upgrades to our system during the year – yes, we make dozens of upgrades each day without any user impact. On the payments side, we had 100% on time payments except for a small bug that affected 19 customers for a total of $646. You can read more about our 2017 Availability and customer adoption in our 2017 Availability Report.
We continue to aggregate market share, adding about 800,000 registrations this year to bring us to 4.2 Million registrations across 15,000 races. Over $169 Million of credit card transactions were processed. You can read our Registration Market Analysis for more details. The short story is more and more customers are making the move to RunSignup because we can make their races better.
What is driving our growth is the move from simple registration systems to Race Management, which provides a technology platform for the entire race lifecycle:
Races need help promoting their race, and our tools like free email, social tools and Referral Rewards save money and bring more people to races. And we make it simple with automation of emails, rewards and affiliate network listing. On the other end of the race, we provide a wide range of tools for race day including free photos, TXT results, RaceJoy’s GPS Tracking and social engagement tools, and our growing suite of apps for Check-In, SignUp, scoring and results.
Increasingly races are harnessing the power of combining all of this into a comprehensive CRM to give them a view into their loyal customers, and mechanisms to target certain demographics.
All of this takes a lot of development and technology expertise, and we continue to make the serious investments that bring an entire platform to races. And with the rising complexity, we made a large commitment to investing in our User Experience this year bringing three senior developers – Jeff, Meredith and Darren on board. We had a second Jeff join us as well, focused on the application coding side partnering with the UX Team. He has been the guy behind all those pretty graphs you are seeing, as well as the cool CRM enhancements.
We continue to pour our profits back into the business and building the technology foundation for the endurance community. We have grown our gross profit (the money after we pay credit card fees that is used to pay salaries and AWS costs) by 14% this year in spite of losing URun when they settled and went back to Active at the end of 2016. The new races with 800,000 registrations that chose RunSignup this year basically replaced a similar number that URun had provided in 2016, but were much more profitable as discussed in our Q1 report (see also Q2 and Q3).
From a business perspective, we feel very good about 2018. Our functionality and ease of use continues to separate us from alternative providers and we continue to gain market share in a flat to declining market. We’ve been able to hold prices the same since 2010 and provided a ton of free services like website, email, photos, results, RaceInsights, sponsor and volunteer management and more. We have grown our employee team, grown our customer base, are profitable on the bottom line this year.
When you have 1,590 releases of your software, it is sometimes tough to pick the ones to highlight. Each one of them made the product better for at least one customer, or made the infrastructure more robust and reduced costs for us or our customers. But we will try to pick a few.
RaceInsights is the most visually impacting and technically advanced release we have done this year. RaceInsights is like Google Analytics, but is purpose built for races. It tells you where your registrations and donations are coming from – which emails, which websites, which Facebook ad, etc. so you can pinpoint what is working and what is not. Track coupons, demographics, referral rewards and more in one set of dashboard graphs that are easy to use and understand.
CRM & Profiles
We have started rolling out our CRM and Profile user experience. Initially this is giving a clear view for participants to see and manage their own profile in a modern, cohesive and fun way (we will soon be introducing badges!). Race Directors now see a view of a participants entire history as shown at the right. And there is lots more coming here (see below).
We rolled out a very robust sponsor management platform in 2017. It provides many ways to give sponsors visibility including sending offers automatically as a way to do electronic race bags. We also give you reports on how many pageviews sponsors receive. Also, stay tuned for a big announcement in January of a National Sponsor who will further promote your race as well as be a source of revenue.
One of our largest projects this year has been the development of the next generation of The Race Director, one of the leading scoring software packages timers use to produce results. We are still in Alpha, but expect Beta in early 2018.
Our many timing partners will benefit from this new technology since The Race Director is built on old PC technology and has been in use for 28+ years (Matt Avery, the Product Manager for RD Scoring was born 1 month before the first customer (Rick Godzwa) bought the first version in May, 1989).
We made major investments and improvements in RaceJoy this year. One of the highlights was turning it into a Race Monitoring solution as well as something that was for runners and spectators. We now provide management screens for live tracking of runners as well as helpful tools like Route Replay. We also extended the Sponsor capabilities with Geo-based Cheer Points. And we made RaceJoy much better for relay races based on great feedback from customers like Vermont Marathon and Colfax Marathon.
This all added up to helping RaceJoy become a defacto standard for GPS Tracking. For example on one weekend in May we had over 30,000 runners and spectators using it over 7 Million interactions. And in November the Philadephia Marathon broke all single race records for use with 19,000 runners and spectators using it and delivering 218,000 progress alerts and 24,000 cheers.
PCI Level 1 Compliance
We announced our PCI Level 1 compliance last January. We have had a full year under this new higher level of compliance, implementing dozens of improvements in our security, software development process and infrastructure. We do things like run on hardened Linux servers, do monthly updates based on a wide range of sources of security updates. We just went thru another audit as well as full penetration testing where humans actually tested each page on race websites, race registration, the race dashboard, etc. for things like CSRF tokens and SQL injection. We continue to learn and make adaptations to harden our systems. While there is nothing that is completely secure, we make huge investments and do our best to make sure your information is protected.
We have done a lot of groundwork for a very big 2018. As mentioned above, we will be coming out with the next generation of software that timers use with RaceDay Scoring. While customer adoption will take 1-2 years, it will significantly open up the market for timers giving them freedom to choose their timing equipment, freedom to use any registration or results platform, an open system to enable self-created timing algorithms and reporting, and real-time data distribution when connected to the internet or full stand alone capabilities on PC and Mac when there is no Internet.
Race Websites – New Templates & Custom Domains
Races will be excited to know we will be releasing a new race website template. The current race website look and feel is 3 years old, and while it converts very well, it is time for a fresh look. The UX Team has been busy designing a new template (see two examples of the same race with different settings of the new template on the right), and the development team is laying the foundation for multiple templates in the future. This will roll out in January.
In addition to the new look and feel, we are going to roll out the ability to do custom domains – so instead of RunSignup.com/MyRace, you will be able to use MyRace.com. You will be able to use existing domains and map them over, and we will be selling domains directly so we can be your one stop shop. We will be charging a minimal fee for this, but much less than the normal $300/year that GoDaddy, Weebly, Squarespace and others charge for e-commerce enabled sites with SSL. Expect this by the Springtime.
Facebook Custom Audiences
We released the ability to generate multiple types of Facebook Custom Audiences. We’ve published How To’s as well as held one of the most popular Webinars in our history. We plan on making significant enhancements on this over the course of the year. Our goal is to enable the ability to automate Facebook Ads from RunSignup and integrate them into our CRM and Promotion platform. This will enable auto-tuning of ads based on ROI, AI-assisted ad placement in the highest runner density zipcodes, and integrated multi-channel campaigns (email, website, Facebook, Adroll).
If you are not familiar with the term, it stands for Customer Relationship Management. The idea is to give races a wholistic view of their participants – so they see their history for any race or donations or fundraising they have done over the years. This is useful in customer support so you know if someone who has been to your race the past 5 years is asking for a special deferral, you are more likely to give it to them. This will also result in a whole new generation of reporting capabilities to find the people you are looking for.
RunSignup will be taking CRM to the next level by combining it with our promotion capabilities. Here’s an example – Target previous participants who signed up with a coupon, and send them a time limited coupon for this year’s race. Here’s another example – 3 days before a price increase send automated emails to all previous participants as well as create a Facebook Custom Audience and do a Facebook Ad for those previous participants and their friends or “look alike” Facebook audience.
We are taking our User Experience Manifesto very seriously. You will see an entirely new user experience from our website to the race dashboard, partner dashboard and race websites coming to fruition in a steady stream of improvements. The user experience at this time next year will be much improved as Jeff, Meredith and Darren become increasingly productive.
Our team is excited for 2018 – we have customers and partners that support us, and we have a rock solid technology foundation that continues to make our customers successful for their entire race lifecycle, and we are having a blast!