One of our Year End Wrap-up Blogs. Others include 2023 Year in Review, 2023 RunSignup Product Recap, 2023 GiveSignup Product Recap, 2023 TicketSignup Product Recap, 2023 Infrastructure Report, 2024 Company Strategy, 2024 RunSignup Roadmap, 2024 GiveSignup Roadmap, 2024 TicketSignup Roadmap.
One of the things we pride ourselves on is the concept of Continuous Improvement. Since the fundamental thing we offer our customers is technology for their events (here is a quick sampling, and another set of quick tips), that means continuing to improve our offering. So when a customer decides to use us, they know they will be getting better and better software over the years. We do about 2,000 releases per year – we are actually over 500 every quarter this year showing remarkable steadiness in our progress.
Part of our secret sauce is talented, long term developers on our team, and part is the holistic system we have built. From reusable code to 100% code reviews to integrated automated testing to being able to deploy without taking the system down (we have only been down 4 minutes since 2015). But we will cover that in the infrastructure report.
In 2023 we had several strategic priorities we were focused on for our endurance customers:
- RaceDay Technology
- Next Gen Email
- Next Gen Websites (coming soon!)
- Next Gen Memberships (coming soon!)
- Updated Renewal Process
- And of course a bunch of other things….
Arguably the most strategic release we made in 2023 was RaceDay Scoring V4. While scoring software is only used by timers, most endurance events have a timer using scoring software of some type. We offer an open platform and work with every scoring software package in the market, there are a set of aging products including our own The Race Director, as well as products like RunScore and CTLive that are really not keeping up with the needs of today’s timers. Scoring software is not a profit making business, but fortunately our business model is able to support the high costs of development over the past 5 years on this product and continued investments in the decades ahead. This year our scoring software will be used at over 17,000 events with over 3 Million finishers and is an important behind the scenes stable of the endurance community and will see expanded usage in the years ahead as the future for scoring, timing and streaming race data.
RaceDay Scoring internals were rewritten in Rust to provide the infrastructure for true streaming of data for even the largest of races. In addition, the data model was improved to provide for very efficient processing giving the foundation for fast and flexible reporting and alerts. This means RaceDay Scoring is the platform for the future for live streaming and reporting. You will see us build on this over the future years with very exciting race day technology. In many ways, James Harris and his team have become the next generation iteration of Alan Jones and Roger Bradshaw.
This might be our third most loved offering (getting paid is the top choice of customers, followed by our free email system in second). It will be used to checkin over 3 million people this year by thousands of volunteers who were trained in minutes (“This is so easy” is the most frequently used words after 2 minutes of using the app, followed by “Why didn’t I use this before?”). It eliminates lines, allows for efficient packet pickup and dynamic bib assignment that saves time and wasted money on tags.
RaceDay Scoring is currently on Version 3.2.42. Yes, we do continuous improvement – with 9 releases in 2023 alone. Key features for this year were enabling a Results Kiosk mode and a Medical Tent mode for checkin and checkout of people needing medical attention all integrated securely in the system giving medical personnel access to important participant data like emergency contact at their finger tips. Also great improvements for Peer to Peer fundraising events, multiple waiver signing, teams, group pickup, and more.
Over 17,000 events use our free race day photo platform to host over 15 Million photos for free. Photos are automatically tagged by using AI (we had to use the latest buzz words!) by reading the visible bibs so they appear in Results and are searchable. This year we made a bunch of infrastructure improvements that make it even faster to upload and search photos, as well as other optimizations to ensure we can keep offering this service for free.
Next Gen Email
We introduced our next generation email to RunSignup in 2022, and have made major strides in 2023 reaching complete functionality superiority over V1. We will be closing down sending capability from Email V1 in early January, 2024 in Races, and later in 2024 for Partners. Here is a webinar that gives a good overview.
We keep track of requests and suggestions and features as issues in Github, and we were able to close a remarkable 150 issues in 2023 for Email V2. Email is one of our most frequently used features (customers will send over 500 Million emails for free on our platform this year), and it is a very feature rich product with a very high level of functionality in the user interface.
One of the most important features we released was the Image Gallery. This provides a set of images we supply you for free with lots of categories like run, walk, swim, bike, tri, etc. We also provide a way to upload and store your images in albums and to share them across your events (including ticket events with TicketSignup!). The image gallery will also be integrated with the next gen website capability in early 2024 as well.
Here is a list of other nice features we have added:
- Apple Wallet Replacement Tag
- Email Capture from Websites
- Pre-Built Emails for marketing, pre-race, post race already formatted and with content!
- Save and Rename Improvements
- QR Code Component, Social Media Component, Divider Component, Image Group Component
- Volunteer support
- Multi-column support
- Header and Footer Options
- Automated Emails for Registration followup (Drip Campaigns), Price Increase and Incomplete Registration
- Email for Organizations with multiple events
- Advanced Unsubscribe to avoid inadvertent unsubscribes
And we will be releasing a Sponsors Component in December with a bunch of nicer options for display! If you are still paying for email, you can stop now. The advantages of having your data integrated with your email far outwieghs any nuanced feature differences. And it is free.
Next Gen Websites
We were hoping to get this out in 2023, but we are making sure to take our time to make sure things are really optimized for wide adoption (remember last Thanksgiving race websites had 24,000 page requests per MINUTE!).
We do have an early example with Bob’s ScottCoffeeRun.com using the next gen websites – so it is real and is working. We also have a blog and a video sneak peek. Just more features need to be added and some restructure and optimization for the infrastructure needs to be completed. It should release in Q1 of 2024. We will have more to say about this in our 2024 Roadmap blog. but here is a view of the website builder with integrated drag and drop and component library:
Next Gen Memberships
This one has been a long time coming update to our club system, which has been out almost 10 years now! We were starting it in early 2020, but we all know what happened then…
Anyway, this blog is being written around Thanksgiving, and it looks like we will release at least a Beta in December, 2023 and it should be widely available in January or February. We did a sneak peek in September, and we have made progress since then. Bob has a Membership test available on production although registration does not yet work, and the store is not visible yet but should work by mid to late December. Sicne the sneak peek blog, we have added the next gen email system in that clubs will love.
We have a wide variety of features, with most available out of the gate:
- Flexible Memberships: duration, levels, pricing, and more
- Event Integration with RunSignup and TicketSignup
- Cross sell memberships during event signup
- Discount event signups with different membership levels
- AutoRenewal with saved credit cards
- Lightweight “no password” option like TicketSignup
- Websites (Free, Modern, Full Powered, Custom Branded, BYO Domain), including Member Only Access
- Email (Free, Modern, Full Powered, Custom Branded), including newsletters, automated emails and notifications
- Integrated Donations (and Donation Discounts)
- Powerful Reporting
- Online Store
- Apple Pay and Apple Wallet
- Import and Migration and Integration Tools with custom member numbers for easier migration
There is a lot of excitement. RRCA announced to their membership last month that they would be migrating to this new system in the Spring of 2024 and should be live by the convention. Here is the snippet from Jean Knaack’s announcement:
This is a feature that we hope all races use – Renewing. In 2022 our Customer Advisory Board agreed this was a priority to get done in 2023. This was a great project and we cleaned up a lot of things that had been mild annoyances (like doing smart date calculation – we used to just add 365 days, but that made a race that was the first Saturday of June become the Sunday the next year and it needed manual adjustment).
Renewing your event is faster than setting up a new event each year and has many additional benefits, including but not limited to:
- Keep the same URL and website
- Year over Year data, analytics, and reporting to see trends and compare years
- Automatically display past results
- All Past Participants in one place – easy for Email Marketing
- Option to keep last year’s settings like questions
TicketSignup is only two years old. As we talk about in our Strategy blog, this is a product built on the same platform – so same servers and database, with lots of shared code like the Email and soon the websites. While many endurance customers might see TicketSignup as a distraction, in reality from a product development perspective the increased revenue allows us develop more new features. And since an increasing amount of the code is shared (for example in 2024 we will be bringing the TicketSignup Store capability over to races), it provides far better efficiency of our development efforts.
In addition to increasing the amount of software development we can do, we are finding a rapidly growing number of RunSignup customers beginning to use TicketSignup. A surprising number of customers use Eventbrite or some other ticket product for various purposes. It might be a festival that has a 5K, but also a food and music festival, or it might be a timer who uses TicketSignup for attendance at XC and track meets, or a zoo that does a 5K and discovers how effective TicketSignup is for their special events and even bookings; or a nonprofit who does a peer to peer fundraising event with us and discovers how good TicketSignup is for their Gala. Some event organizers are able to increase their volumes to qualify for our partner level discounts by combining race registrations plus ticket sales of over 5,000 or 25,000.
And Lots More…
We introduced a new lower priced insurance product this year that races can offer their participants and share in the revenue. In October alone, Races made $20,000 and we expect this to rise and more races adopt it to around $30-50K per month. In addition to providing races an additional $500K per year, we are seeing participants really liking this option and making them feel more comfortable to signup earlier and not worry so much if they get injured during their training cycles.
Since the introduction, we are seeing about 20% of transactions coming from our Apple Pay Integration (the day before Thanksgiving around noon 2,825 out of 13,230 transactions are from ApplePay – 21.3%). And the ease of adding any registration to Apple Wallet makes the checkin process even easier for participants and race organizers. And we’ve even added Apple Wallet as a replacement tag option for Email V2 so your pre race emails become even easier for participants to make use of.
We have added single and multi-event integration and reporting for Google Analytics 4. This allows for very powerful tracking of your RunSignup hosted websites. You can even track down to individual items.
We continue to improve our Results system incrementally. We also are in process on some nice flexibility for showing simplified views in race results.
We used to only have standard display and text to describe multi person pricing. This new feature allows races to customize the pricing explanation to fit their needs.
We have thousands of races who have “BYO” domains (like ScottCoffeeRun.com) and fully host their race websites on RunSignup. We have done the domain and SSL (for free) for a while, but this just adds some more polish and control of your brand to your website.
We are very happy to have finally gotten to this. The new version really cleans things up and makes it far easier to create and manage many questions. One of the highlights of the year was when Ryan Morris of Delmo Sports was giving a talk as a guest speaker at our internal Developer Conference and this was in his top 4 wish list, and we had just released it. He walked over and personally shook Justus Fee’s hand and thanked him for developing the feature to the applause of the whole development team. Very motivating for our team!
This is a game changer for races that are partly off the grid or that have such volume that cell reception is bad. Runners and cyclists can get off course alerts and see the map even when disconnected. It is also very fast.
This is a nice change that makes it easier to get real year over year comparisons. And there are a ton of options to view data.
RunSignup has always had an open API that is free to use to integrate RunSignup data with other applications you might need to share data with. The RunSignup Zapier App is now available on the Zapier platform. Zapier provides a no-code, point and click interface that walks you through the creation of workflows (called “Zaps”) between RunSignup and a library of over 5000 other applications. We also have a great integration partner with Sidekick Solutions, a software consulting and integration developer, to provide a simpler option for integrating RunSignup with a variety of other packaged applications without complicated programming.
We have also invested heavily in providing multiple paths for product learning. We have a very broad and deep platform that customers adopt incrementally over time. To help customers we made several investments this year:
- New RunSignup Website with tons of detailed information that really talks about the product (and has all customer sourced photos to make it look just right!). We are also dynamically integrating the latest blog posts on topics into those topic pages. For example, if you go to the Photos page on the website, you will see the latest blogs at the bottom of the page. We are also integrating our expanded efforts in video into the website on a weekly basis.
- Updated over 270 Help articles in our online support system.
- Held 23 Roadshows around the country to connect more directly with more customers.
- Dozens of in depth Webinars.
- Enhanced our Video Education with daily videos being released. Many are short “How To’s, and these are now being updated weekly into our website to keep things current and fresh.
2023 was a solid year of progress in delivering better and better products for our customers. We hope to make 2024 even better (that’s the point of progress, right?).
We thank all of you for your ideas, input and of course support. Let’s keep rolling!