What is Mixpanel? How to Implement and Use It.

What is Mixpanel? How to Implement and Use It.

Danny Lambert:

Hello, everybody. This is Danny Lambert with Plush Republic. Today I’m going to be kicking off the creation of my free Mixpanel course. And to begin this, I’m going to have a very basic course covering what is Mixpanel, why it’s important, and particularly how it’s different from Google Analytics. A lot of the questions I get when I’m consulting or even within the organizations that I work for is, “Why do we need Mixpanel? How is it different than GA?” I’m trying to make sure that you’re not spending money on duplicative tools that could do the same thing. And a lot of time these two come up because they’re similar in ways and they’re very different in ways.

Danny Lambert:

So, I’m going to explain to you what exactly is Mixpanel, how it’s different than GA, and then following this video, I’ll kick off the course by creating an entire build out of a Mixpanel instance, both client and server-side all the way from beginning to end. So everything that I’m showing you in the back and here in all these screens are just sandboxes with dummy data in them, but it’ll give you a very good understanding of what Mixpanel is. So let’s jump in.

Danny Lambert:

Behind me, I have the Mixpanel site which has relatively recently been redone. So if you want to find out about their various features and solutions, all that good stuff, this would be your kicking off point. But essentially, what Mixpanel allows you to do is get very in depth product and user analytics for your applications and the product that you’ve developed. GA is extremely good at getting the page level data, channel level data, return ad spend, stuff of that nature. But when it gets down to events and individual tracking at user levels, GA is actually pretty poor with that. So I’ll jump in and show you examples here of both where Google Analytics excels and then where Mixpanel fills in a lot of those product gaps.

Danny Lambert:

So, here I am in a Google Analytics account and, like I mentioned, it’s a necessity for businesses to maintain some high level page view analysis. For example, all this channel level reporting that you get here by traffic, by source and medium and being able to see return on ad spend, this is where GA really excels, being able to break this up by the various goals that you track and see what your return on investment is for all of your ad channels and how people are engaging with your pages pre-conversion, as well as some of the interesting developments they’ve had around multi-channel and multi-touch attribution. So you can come in here and analyze your conversions based on first touch, last touch, various different models. Oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to click that. And being able to compare what those models are.

Danny Lambert:

So, if I were in here, being able to do a last interaction versus a first interaction versus a linear. This is stuff that Mixpanel doesn’t really do, it’s not really their focus, and a lot of the reasons why GA is extremely helpful.

Danny Lambert:

The areas where this starts to become less beneficial is after these people convert and I want to track more information associated with individual users. Right? So if someone converts in my application, I’m not allowed to pass personally identifiable information such as email, first name, last name into Google Analytics. It has to be anonymized. So, the tracking there starts to become difficult because I want to be able to associate traits with people and events with people, put them into cohorts and analyze them within the context of my application and GA makes that very challenging. You can send events to Google Analytics, but all of it has to be anonymized and it’s also all client-side. So for people who are using ad blockers, you’ll have big holes in your datasets. It also does sampling, so you can’t actually see a full 100% of your dataset. It’ll sample once you get to large quantities to show you what’s representative of the whole, but not the actual whole, which is not good when you’re doing it at a user level. You want to actually see the actions of your entire user base. So that’s just another component.

Danny Lambert:

When I hop into Mixpanel, what it allows me to do is, typically after the conversion track, all of the events that we care about, about all of our users at a personal level. So, as I can show you, unlike GA, when you pass user-level data in, I can pass personally identifiable information. I’ll go to myself here and I can send in all of these traits, track them over time, track how they change, and group them and analyze them on a bunch of different levels. So I’ll quickly run through what those are for you and then we’ll begin actually building out the course.

Danny Lambert:

So when you hop in, you will have a whole section of analysis, which is taking that user level and event level data that you send in and how you can slice it up to see how people are performing within your application. So I’ll give you a brief run through. Insights is where you can come in here and check out specific events and how they’re trending over time within your business. So load a page, new lead, obviously this is this over time, I can take this out to 90 days, I can filter it based on events and personal cohorts so I could see these events by mobile, I can see them by desktop or country, whatever it is that I want to do. I can slice and dice it here in this insights report and start to get very consistent trends over time.

Danny Lambert:

The flow is really helpful when you want to see how people are actually engaging throughout your application. So if you have a signup flow or a post-conversion flow or an onboarding training flow, this is super helpful for a product and a product manager or a product marketing team, be able to come in and see are people engaging with the features and flows that you’re building in the way that you intended, or are they finding success, or are they having issues? This is a very good indicator and way to be able to quickly see are people interacting with your app the way that you expected, and if not, find where that’s going wrong and ways to fix it quickly.

Danny Lambert:

Funnels is my favorite for anything that is a very predefined highlighted outlined funnel that you expect people to come through. For example, like a checkout flow. I don’t have any data in here yet, but we’ll build this entire thing out as the course goes along, but a good example here would be like loaded a page and then became a lead. Right? Like the most basic funnel of all time.

Danny Lambert:

If I saw this, I would say 593 page loads and zero leads. This is something that we absolutely need to fix and you can start to use this to analyze all of your funnels by cohort, by property, really getting granular with your data to be able to get the insights that you need to make product level and investment level decisions.

Danny Lambert:

Probably the most important report of all in my opinion within Mixpanel is this cohort report. So, for example, depending on if it’s you expect retention weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, you can start to break this down into all new users who have signed up by the day that they signed up and start to see their retention over time, how much they come back, how much they spend with you, and you can sequence it by any event. It doesn’t have to be sign up and next purchase or it can be monthly active users, whatever you track. You can start to see what your churn rate is and what your return rate is across any events that you want to track, and you have a ton of granularity around recurring, first time, the way that you structured this data to get the most out of it. We’re going to spend a significant amount of time on this report in future videos.

Danny Lambert:

I do not have Predict enabled in here because this is a sandbox that has not been upgraded, but Predict is essentially Mixpanel’s AI component that will be able to ingest all of your data and hypothetically suggest this group of free trial users is the most likely to upgrade, and then you can leverage these insights in their messaging component to be able to send push notifications or emails and start to activate these various cohorts that they predicted are the highest propensity to buy from you, for example.

Danny Lambert:

Signals are really cool is that you can then select your various cohorts, so all people who have been retained four weeks from their first purchase, and you can start to see the events that are driving success, the stuff that you would want to replicate within the rest of your user base to help them find as much success as your currently most successful customers. This is extremely helpful because we all do a lot of stuff to try to make our customers successful, but it’s great to be able to see relatively quickly what are the things that are actually driving monetary success for the business, and that’s how you can find that information here.

Danny Lambert:

Last two are impact, which we’ll go into in depth later. I don’t have enough data in this section to show you anything right now. And live view, which is the actual live view where you can see events from all the people who are coming in. So all the properties, the properties that you set, and the ones that are default for Mixpanel, is going to be a really good area for coming in here and QAing and making sure the stuff that you’re sending or anticipating as being received by Mixpanel is actually coming through.

Danny Lambert:

The next most important section is that user section which I showed you before. This is where you can hop into individual user profiles, group them by whatever you want, and just make sure that you’re getting the data, see what data you are getting, and then you would have a whole flow and history of everything that this leader prospects has ever done with your application or business. And then this file tab here is cohorts. This is where you actually create the cohorts that you would use in your other reports. So new signups from mobile in the last 30 days or new users from Africa, for example. You can create those cohorts and then you can use them elsewhere.

Danny Lambert:

So that’s pretty much the fundamentals of Mixpanel as a brief synopsis of what we just discussed, is GA is extremely valuable for page level reporting, channel level reporting, and attribution in ROI on ad spend, so return ad spend analysis for what’s driving your top of funnel leads and conversions and how people are engaging with you client-side and all that page view level analysis. And then Mixpanel is extremely powerful for user and event level data within your product, typically post-conversion and trying to see where people are having success, where they’re not, analyzing lifetime values and all of the various post-conversion metrics that you really care about and getting very granular with your product.

Danny Lambert:

So hopefully this explanation was helpful. And the next video, we’ll go ahead and just get started with how to implement client-side tracking with Mixpanel, and then we’ll hop onto server-side tracking and then we’ll really start building out our entire sandbox and starting to get some value out of Mixpanel. So thank you for watching. I hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned for the rest of the content to come.

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