How Under Armour will use MapMyFitness data to sell apparel

By Jonah Comstock
06:40 am
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mapmyfitnessAfter Under Armour acquired MapMyFitness for $150 million last November, both companies more or less said that it would be "business as usual" post-acquisition, with MapMyFitness and Under Armour continuing to operate as they had before. At a talk at the HxRefactored event in Brooklyn this week, MapMyFitness co-founder and VP of Innovation Strategy Kevin Callahan shared some insights into how the two recently-merged companies are working together.

"Now, with being part of the Under Armour brand, they're incorporating a lot of our data," he said. "We know when you work out and how you work out, and a company like Under Armour is really interested in understanding that to help them to sell apparel, help them to make you perform better, and help them to make you into a better athlete."

Callahan said MapMyFitness has been working on creating data profiles that can differentiate between similar groups of people -- some people who ride their bike 10 hours a week are cycling enthusiasts, for instance, while others are just commuters. By looking at the time of day that they ride and the regularity and distance, they can distinguish between those two groups, who might have very different buying habits. And that data isn't just helpful for Under Armour; when MapMyFitness partnered with Purina in 2013, they were able to use their dataset to learn when people walk their dogs.

Under Armour helps MapMyFitness by increasing the visibility of the brand, sometimes through use of the data. For instance, at Under Armour's store in the SoHo neighborhood of New York, a large screen displays a data visualization based on MapMyFitness's data about New York.

Callahan also talked about what the next steps are for MapMyFitness. Because MapMyFitness's dataset includes maps, he foresees the app being able to generate a route in response to criteria from the user -- so, if someone wants a route that takes 20 minutes and has two hills, for instance, the app will be able to suggest one.

Even though the wearable space continues to expand, Callahan said, loyalty is decreasing and people switch quickly and easily from one app to another. That opens up fitness apps to provide data continuity. He emphasized that MapMyFitness has always been a platform play that incorporates its many different apps, like MapMyRun and MapMyRide. As such, the company now makes its MapMyAPI available as a back-end for other companies.

"We’ve put ourselves in a place to be a unifying hub," he said. "Because we are a platform we’re actually the backend to a lot of other companies. So if you’re a watch person, and you’re really good at the human-watch interface, you don’t have to worry about saving a million workouts in the backend."