GoCardless is an excellent platform which alllows your business to accept direct debit payments with the minimum amount of setup or hassle and at the same time offering fees which are lower than any other platform. Direct debit was traditionally cumbersome to set up for both businesses and customers, involving paper forms that had to be submitted to the customers bank to set up the payment and lengthy approval and creditworthiness checks for businesses that wanted to accept them.
GoCardless have since brought Direct Debit into the digital age, adding smart features to speed up your workflow and make the process of taking payments fully automatic. They offer a fairly comprehensive web based console for managing customers, subscriptions and payments and automatic notifications for businesses and customers on the progress of those payments.
Where the GoCardless console has limitations, it is in providing access to business metrics and analytics that are a prerequisite for the effective management of any subscription based business. For example, figures such as Monthly Recurring Revenue, Churn rates, Cash Flow analysis and historical customer and subscription data - these are example of charts and data points which are not natively available in the GoCardless console.
Enter GoDashboard and ChartMogul which are the two subscription analytics platforms that are currently available that integrate directly with GoCardless to provide your business with the metrics, charts and analytics that your business needs. Below, we’ve provided a review and breakdown of each of these two analytics platforms to help you evaluate which one best meets your requirements.
Analytics are the core of these two products and serve to give you essential clarity into the performance of your business. Given the limitations of the GoCardless console it’s fair to say that without either of these GoCardless integrations you are really flying your business blind.
Some of the core limitations of the GoCardless console are:
- No historical Customer or Subscription data (cannot find out how many active customers or subscriptions you had last month compared to this month).
- No Monthly Recurring Revenue measure - typically this is the North Star metric for all subscription businesses.
- No ability to assess revenue per plan.
- No way to segregate plans so you can group them by business or by location.
- No physical location mapping so you don’t know where your customers are located.
- No cash flow measure so it’s impossible to determine how much cash you received in payouts each month without exporting data to Excel.
- And the list goes on - this is really only the start of the limitations.
We’ve listed below all the charts available for each service.
Here’s where ChartMogul really shines - if you’re looking for a fully comprehensive set of charts for your subscription business then they pretty much have it all as shown in the menu below:
Here's the complete list for your reference:
- MRR sliced by region
- ARPA sliced by region
- MRR cohorts
- Trial-to-paid cohorts
- Churn rate sliced by price
- Customers sliced by plan
- MRR by marketing channel
- MRR movements
- Annual Run Rate
Leads and trials
- Free trials
- Trial-to-paid conversions
- Average Sales Cycle length
- Average Revenue per account
- Average Sale Price
- Customer Lifetime Value
- Subscription quantity
- Customer churn rate
- Net MRR churn rate
- Gross MRR churn rate
- Quantity churn rate
Here's an example of one of the charts - the Customers sliced by plan chart which allows you to visualise the number of customers in total and in each plan.
GoDashboard focuses on the core metrics that are critical for all subscription businesses. All charts can be filtered by date range and also by Plan Group (see Segregation section).
- Cash Flow - track the inflows and outflows into your linked bank account as a result of Payouts.
- Customers - historical Customer numbers
- Customer Acquisition - track Existing, New or Churned Customers
- MRR - historical Monthly Recurring Revenue
- MRR Acquisition - track MRR changes due to New, Existing, New, Churned or Reactivated Subscriptions
Here's an example of one of the charts - the MRR Acquisition which shows you the changes in your Monthly Recurring Revenue each month due to
The ability to map the location of your customers is one area which has been completely left out from the GoCardless console. This ability is incredibly useful when it comes to planning marketing strategies such as identifying areas to expand into where you do not currently have a strong membership. For example, planning local radio campaigns, promotional letters, flyer drops and door to door visits.
The only graphic available in ChartMogul is a heat map on a country by country basis. So, for example if all your customers are in the UK and France then you will only see a count of the number of customers in each country. This is useful if you have a wide global distribution of customers but for many businesses this is unlikely to be the case so it’s of fairly limited use.
Here’s one area where GoDashboard’s focus on the UK market delivers more value - maps are global, however they shown at the individual customer level so you can really visualise where your customer base resides. There’s two maps available:
- Customer Locations - all customers plotted on a Google Map. You can zoom in or out and view by plan group. This allows you to show the customers for each of your business groups or locations.
- Location Heat Map - a heat map plotted on a Google Map. This is a great visualisation tool for showing the density of customers you have in any given area. Again, you can zoom in or out and view by plan group
Dashboard Capabilities (GoDashboard only)
GoDashboard isn’t just an analytics tool, it’s also designed to be an enhancement to the GoCardless console. Here’s some of the enhancements:
This is superficially similar to the Customers table in GoCardless but offers some major usability enhancements:
- Instant search across all Customers. No more paging through tables of data trying to find the customer you are looking for.
- Column chooser - choose to display any of the GoCardless columns, not just the 4 columns that GoCardless allows you to see
- Additional synthetic columns that are not present at all in GoCardless such as being able to list the subscriptions for each customer or their count
- Instant search buttons to show All, Active or Cancelled customers
- Sort by any column including Cancelled_at and Created_at
- Exporting data exports the current view, not all customers so you can easily export a list of Customers with a particular attribute - for example, the most recent new Customers.
An example of how this is useful is being able to sort by Cancelled_at to instantly show the last customers who cancelled their subscription - something which is impossible in GoCardless.
The subscriptions table isn’t available in GoCardless but it really should be. It allows you to list all active and cancelled subscriptions and shows their plan cost and the name of the subscribed plan. Again it’s super easy to list cancelled or newly created subscriptions.
The number of customers and the total monthly revenue is shown per plan. In the GoCardless console it’s a major piece of work to identify your most valuable plans; in GoDashboard it’s instantly available to you.
This is a killer feature particularly for your accounts team. Clicking on a Payout shows you the list of credits which make up the payment but it also allows you to group the credits by Plan name or by Plan Group. We’ve seen accounts team having to manually sum up payment per plan group for every payment in a month so this is a serious time saver. Of course, you can delegate access to particular teams so they can only see the Payouts page and no other sensitive business data.
Delegation to other team members
Delegation of access to your team members is useful where you want to grant other members of your team access to your business analytics. This could be your accounts team who need to see payout or cash flow information or your business or location specific managers who need access to their local figures.
However in many cases, you don’t necessarily want to share all aspects of your business performance with all members of your team. For example, you may want to grant managers of your gyms access to view financial data about their gyms but not of the overall business. Here we look at overall delegation capabilities and the ability to restrict the data that a team members has to your business analytics.
In ChartMogul there are three types of user, Owner, Admin and Team member with access rights as listed below:
- Admins have access to the Admin area, and can make changes to a ChartMogul account which affects all users.
- Owners, like Admins, have access to the Admin area. Additionally, owners can access the Subscription, Address and Invoices pages in the Admin area, and can also regenerate API keys.
- Team members have read-only access to your ChartMogul account. Team members cannot make changes to a ChartMogul account that will affect other users. Team members cannot access the admin area or export customer-specific data.
Setting up this delegation in ChartMogul is a simple affair where you can invite new members to be either Admins or Team members. However, there is no option to restrict access to specific reports or pages - essentially all members will have full read access to every party of your ChartMogul account with the exception of allowing the exporting of customer-specific data.
GoDashboard has a different philosophy when it comes to delegation of access. Access to every page can be controlled discretely so that you have complete control over what your team can see in the dashboard. This is in incredibly useful when you want to, for example, grant your accounts team access to reconcile Payout data from your GoCardless console or grant a particular business location or service access to their data only.
Setting up delegation is simple and granting or denying access is a matter of clicking on a slider as shown below:
ChartMogul have structured their payment plans into three categories, Launch, Scale and Volume (pricing page here: https://chartmogul.com/pricing). Plans are only available on a monthly basis, not annual and you can only pay via credit / debit card.
- Launch is only available to companies with under $10k MRR, however it is FREE to use.
- Scale is for companies up to $500k MRR and costs $100/month + $25/month per $10K MRR.
- Volume is for companies over $500k MRR and is negotiable directly with their sales team.
If you’re under $10k MRR then the free Launch plan is a great option, however pricing starts to ramp up when you are looking at the average size of a UK subscription business.
Taking the gym industry as an example:
- There are on average 5,250 members per gym in the UK
- Average membership cost is £28 per member
- This works out to an MRR of $191,000
- Cost for ChartMogul subscription is $100 + $25 * 20 = $600 / month.
The pricing page for GoDashboard can be found here: https://www.godashboard.co.uk/pricing. Plans are available on a monthly or annual basis with a 10% discount for annual payment in advance. You can pay via credit / debit card and GoCardless (another benefit of the close GoCardless integration).
Pricing is split into three simple tiers with no ramped pricing based on the number of using like can be found with ChartMogul.
- Up to 100 active customers + 0 sub-accounts - £15 / month
- 100 to 1,000 active customers + 3 sub-accounts - £29 / month
- 1,000 to 10,000 active customers + 10 sub-accounts - £59 / month
Active customers are defined as customers who currently have an active GoCardless subscription so it’s equivalent to the number of Active customers shown in your GoCardless dashboard.
Sub-accounts are the same as the delegated accounts that are discussed earlier in this review.
If you're using GoCardless to manage the direct debit payments for your business then using some sort of analytics package integration is absolutely essential to allow you to manage your business effectively. Critical business metrics such as Monthly Recurring Revenue, Churn, Revenue per Customer and historical information on customer and subscription numbers are the bare minimum required and are included by both GoDashboard and ChartMogul.
If your priority is simply to have a fully comprehensive set of charts to run your subscription business, ChartMogul has the edge due to it's more extensive selection compared to GoDashboard which currently offers only the basics. You’ll certainly pay for the privilege though due to it’s rapidly increasing pricing structure that is based on your MRR.
Where GoDashboard excels is in leveraging it’s close GoCardless integration to improve and extend your ability to manage, search and review your GoCardless data. For example, the ability to instantly search tables and filter by status and date fields makes accessing Customer and Subscription data a breeze instead of painfully waiting for pages of data to load in the GoCardless console.
Some information such as listing Plans by total revenue or breaking down Payouts by Plan and Plan group is simply not available in the GoCardless console and your accounts team will thank you for making this information avaialble. The location mapping is superior in GoDashboard and allows your marketing teams to identify areas for expansion and the delegation capability allow you to grant access to specific areas of the console without compromising access to your sensitive business financials.