How SpotHero Uses Segment and Looker to Unlock User Insights Across the Entire Organization

With the powerful combination of Segment and Looker, SpotHero increased conversions by uncovering insights into user purchase behavior

The Company

SpotHero is a parking reservation service that partners with garages throughout North America to provide drivers with guaranteed parking spots at discounted prices. Using SpotHero’s mobile and web platforms, drivers can reserve and pay for spots in advance and eliminate the anxiety associated with having to find a parking spot. To date, SpotHero has connected more than 20 million drivers with their perfect parking spaces.

The Challenge

Over the past few years, SpotHero has evolved and expanded its platform to encompass a wide range of new offerings, including a developer API kit for partners, new features for business customers, and monthly parking options. To support this rapid growth, SpotHero’s product management and analytics teams have expanded quickly. With a growing team came a greater variety of data needs, and it became increasingly complex to secure alignment across teams.

“One of the things we realized was that adding all of these additional tools and features made it really difficult for us to maintain a tracking plan or unified data definitions across teams,” said Megan Bubley, Product Manager at SpotHero.

Specifically, SpotHero struggled to share and combine data across the analytics tools used by different teams, which yielded a fragmented picture of the user journey. For example, the product team leveraged Mixpanel to track user events in SpotHero’s mobile application, but this data couldn’t be combined with transactional data from Looker or website activity from Google Analytics. In addition to impeding the teams’ understanding of their users, this compartmentalization created confusion when reporting key success metrics.

For instance, while the product team might define “conversions” based on the iOS user flow tracked in Mixpanel, the analytics team might report “conversions” in the context of SEO and landing page activity collected by Google Analytics. As a result, relatively simple questions such as, “What is our conversion rate in the Philadelphia market?” became incredibly difficult to answer in a consistent, reliable way.

Given these challenges, different teams began to feel that they lacked ownership over their data and success metrics, which created internal discord and, ultimately, discouraged teams from fully leveraging the data that was available.

The Solution

To measure and report on user activity effectively, SpotHero knew it would need to establish a single source of truth for its user data and success metrics—without depriving any teams of the insights they currently relied on. SpotHero chose Segment to help them seamlessly collect data from their website along with their iOS and Android apps to power data inside Looker, Mixpanel, Google Analytics, Optimizely, and others.

“Instead of updating event tracking separately for destinations like Google Analytics or Mixpanel, Segment enabled us to do it in one place. This allowed us to really fine-tune our data definitions and make sure that there was alignment across all teams,” said Kate Owens, Senior Business Intelligence Manager at SpotHero.

The Result

Data alignment across all SpotHero teams

With its data unlocked and its tracking standardized, SpotHero could make key reporting metrics accessible to the entire company without the need to funnel reports through a specific team. The company chose Looker—a uniquely powerful and highly flexible data analytics platform—to help different teams access and visualize the metrics they needed, such as user journeys and conversion funnels.

"Combining Segment with Looker provided a cool opportunity for us to enable teams to get the insights they needed on their own," Bubley highlighted.

By analyzing Segment’s single source of clean, consistent data with Looker’s flexible data visualization platform, SpotHero was able to achieve data alignment across the organization, including a consistent definition for what a “conversion” means.

“Ultimately, aligning teams on the same definition of conversion rate helped us to focus on our core business objectives and eliminate obstacles that would have delayed us from delivering these products on time,” said Bubley.

Drove increased conversions by unlocking insights into user purchase behavior

By using Segment, SpotHero was also able to derive insights to better understand the entire user journey. Previously, a user’s actions within SpotHero’s mobile application couldn’t always be tied to her activity on its website. Moreover, the ability to check out as a guest further compounded the problem of tying certain events to an identified user.

“What's really awesome about Segment is that, since we’ve collected all of the data and we own it, events that were previously conducted anonymously can now be backfilled in our database,” said Bubley.

For example, SpotHero could identify customers that had searched for monthly parking spots in the past week through either its mobile application or website, but never converted. Using Segment to combine this pre-purchase data with previous transactional data in Looker—such as number of lifetime rentals or the neighborhood where the user parks most frequently—SpotHero was able to better understand which users were engaging with its monthly parking feature and how they were engaging with it.

“Even better, we were able to act upon this information by giving our marketing team the data and the ability to send more personalized communications that drive more conversions,” said Owens.

Now that rich user insights are available at the fingertips of every team at SpotHero, the company has armed themselves with the powerful data infrastructure they need to grow into the future.

Industry: Mobile Applications
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Employees: 200

Instead of updating event tracking separately for destinations like Google Analytics or Mixpanel, Segment enabled us to do it in one place. This allowed us to really fine-tune our data definitions and make sure that there was alignment across all teams.

Kate Owens

Senior Business Intelligence Manager, SpotHero

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