Analytics · Mixpanel

Why ever go Mixpanel over Google Analytics?

Caleb Garling Writer

March 18th, 2015

Our tool lets users quickly publish content to the web and we want to analyze where in the creation process people drop off. So far I've found zero reasons why we'd use MixPanel over Google Analytics. Yet so many people talk about them! Are there MP fans out there that can explain why? I haven't found anything MP can do that GA can't -- and they're free. Just want to the best tool possible for analyzing dropoff points but need to understand what I'm missing
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Valerie Lanard Senior Software Engineering Manager at Salesforce

March 18th, 2015

I am a huge Mixpanel fan!
Do you remember Microsoft Word/Excel like 10 years ago when you could find any item in a menu or toolbar right where you expected it to be, every time, versus now?

Mixpanel doesn't require a degree in rocket science because it isn't everything for everybody. The interface is clean, wonderful. The support is INCREDIBLE. I have never paid them a cent, yet they give 5-star service and attention whenever I have a question. They send me sample scripts for their APIs, which I use quite heavily to pull data.

I had previously used GA about 3.5 years ago and felt it was just not user friendly enough. I actually recently added it back, side by side with Mixpanel, and I'm very happy. GA has made some improvements to the UI. But it is still WAY too complicated. It's a burden and I always feel like I'm missing things in their UI because it's just too complicated.

I love the simplicity of Mixpanel. The funnel tracking is excellent. The way they let you add any arbitrary number of properties to any record then slice and dice by that. LOVE that. The People feature that lets you see historic data per user is fantastic.

I have different Mixpanel keys for different environments (one for dev, on for staging, one for production, etc) that automatically silo my data into different buckets in their system and UI. I never worry my test data will show up in production. With GA, all the data goes to one place and it's up to you to segment it out. Mixpanel also has a "Live" feed that is truly real-time. I check that probably the most of anything on their site. I'll check immediate effects of an ad, or an update I rolled out. Sometimes I'll use it to look for a downtime window to run a quick update on the server.

So why did I add GA? Because Mixpanel doesn't have everything. It doesn't automatically give some key metrics like visitor time on page, bounce rate, sample user queries. I got really far without these, but they are pretty critical as a piece of the puzzle.
I would recommend Mixpanel in a heartbeat.

Hope that's helpful. :-)

Caleb Garling Writer

March 18th, 2015

Thanks Rachel. That thread is two years old and products change.

Valerie, that was really helpful. Thank you! I think we're heading in the direction you're describing -- having both -- but just wanted to understand if folks had compelling reasons for just going with one or the other.

Matthew Himelstein I love to build teams and solve problems

March 19th, 2015

When I chose mixpanel, it was over flurry - Google still hadn't launched their mobile analytics offering yet.

At the core, mixpanel uses events vs. pageviews to understand the data you're getting. So for funnel conversion, this is slightly better since you are counting the click/tap events that take you to the next step, vs. looking at page A and page B and then deducing the conversion %. But not earth-shattering different. 

But what mixpanel does that I haven't seen anyone else do is have a "People" tab where I can see the data history of each registered user. Since we were dealing with real-money transactions, this was incredibly important. 

Hope that helps

Matthew