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Mixpanel vs. Google Analytics – What are the differences?

Mixpanel vs. Google Analytics – What are the differences?


– In this video we’re gonna take a look at the key differences between
Google Analytics and Mixpanel and why you might want to install Mixpanel additionally to your
Google Analytics setup. All and more coming up right after this. Hi there and welcome to another video of measureschool.com where we teach you to the data-driven way of digital marketing. My name is Julian and on this channel we do marketing tech reviews, tutorials and give you tips on better
tracking just like this one, so if you haven’t yet,
consider subscribing. Now, if you are in the market
for a new analytics tool you might be asking yourself
what is actually the difference between all these all these
different analytics tools, and obviously there’s not
one answer and one best tool that you can choose out there. It always depends on your business. Today we want to take a
look at the key different between Google Analytics and Mixpanel. Now, I don’t actually work
too much with Mixpanel but my friend Ruben
from Practico Analytics is the perfect guy to ask because he works with different startups setting up their analytics infrastructure and evaluating different tools for them like Google Analytics,
Mixpanel or segment.com. So, I asked Ruben to make
a little video for us to discover the key differences between Google Analytics and Mixpanel and which tool might be
better for which use case. Now, we’ve got lots to cover,
so Ruben, take it away. – [Ruben] Thanks Julian, and hi everybody. My name is Ruben and I’m here
to talk about the difference between Mixpanel and Google Analytics, and this is a question
that comes up quite a bit with the companies that I work with and it’s something that it’s
very confusing initially because they seem to do
the same thing, right? Why have two tools if they’re
gonna do the same reports? But in reality they’re slightly different and they’re actually
complementary to each other. Now, what I wanna talk
about today is three things. First I wanna help you
understand the differences and tracking philosophies between Google Analytics and Mixpanel. We’ll talk a little bit
about event-driven tools versus page view tools. Then I wanna show you
what Google Analytics is really good for, you know, what should you be using it
for and why would you keep it, and third, I’ll show you
what Mixpanel is good for, and then once you see that, then you see how it could be complementary and for some companies why they keep both. So, let’s start with
tracking philosophies, and to explain that we’re
here at this website, we’re here looking at basecamp.com, and they’re a project management tool, and this is a good example of a company that could benefit from
keeping both tools. So for example, so Google Analytics is a page view-driven tool. What that means is you add to your website or your mobile app and a user comes in or they, you know, they refresh
the page or they view a page and at that moment Google
Analytics tracks you, right? It says hey, you’ve loaded this page and we have all this information
about you as the user, your location, your IP address,
your browser, all that. So, I could come in and I could, you know, I could explore at the Basecamp
marketing website, right, to learn how Basecamp works, I could scroll and, you know, there’ll be heat maps created here, maybe look at the pricing, look at some of the testimonials, and at some point I’ll say
hey, I’m ready to sign up, right, so I’ll look for the
sign up page and come in here. And, you know, for
everything that I’ve done Google Analytics is great because I’ve been viewing pages, maybe I came in from
different marketing channels, which Google Analytics is
really good at at breaking apart and at some point I’m ready to sign up. This could be set up as a conversion goal in Google Analytics. But we don’t have, you know,
specific actions, right, which is where events come in, so looking at pages, again,
I’m ready to sign up, this is really great for Google Analytics. Once we’ve signed up, right,
once we go through this process then we get thrown into
the Basecamp product. If you’re not familiar
with the Basecamp product it’s similar to most
project management tools to, you know, create projects, you know, create task, assign people tasks and so. All those actions will
be much better as events and that’s where Mixpanel
will come in, right? Mixpanel is an event-driven tool, so what that means is an event
is simply something you send, either through JavaScript
or other APIs or libraries to track actions the user did. So, an event for this website
will be sign up, right? Once I submit this form
I could send an event to say the user signed up and send information alongside the event, such as the name or the email and so on. So, inside the product, once we’re inside a Basecamp product, there’s lots of actions that I can take. I can create a project, I can create a task, I can assign task, I can complete task and so on. Those are all tasks that
may happen with page views as people are loading pages but it makes more sense to
look at them through events and not so much pages. So, once we’re in the product it doesn’t really matter
if I view 10/20 page views, what really matters is
did I complete the actions that I’m supposed to complete? And if you’re a product company, let’s say you have a web app or mobile app like Basecamp does, you’re much interested
in looking at the actions the users took, not the
page views they view, right? And that’s, you know, that’s
where Mixpanel excels, and that kind of group of tools, the event-driven tools, right? So, companies like Basecamp who have apps, who have this style, who
actually have a marketing side, and they have a web app or a mobile app, Mixpanel is really great
for those companies. If you’re let’s say an e-commerce company or maybe a content company or as a blog or something similar, Google Analytics would
be really good for you and it’ll be more than
enough than what you need. Now, I mentioned before that Basecamp might actually keep both which is true. Basecamp might keep Google Analytics as the marketing analyzing tool and Mixpanel to analyze the
product and gateway, right? So, let me show you what
makes GA great, right? So, we know, GA is the gold standard for analyzing marketing traffic. It gives you a lot of data out of the box, and gives a lot of reports
to do that out of the box. You don’t have to
configure a lot of things. So, for example, you know, we might have the acquisition report which
you might be familiar with where we look at the
different channel groupings and look at a performance against a goal. Again, e-commerce sites
will benefit quite a bit for the e-commerce integration
that Google Analytics offers that lets us analyze the market traffic. This is something that Mixpanel
doesn’t really do well. In fact, it doesn’t really do at all. So, analyzing marketing
traffic is one of those things. I mentioned before that
the e-commerce setup for Google Analytics it’s
perfect for e-commerce companies. You can see revenue,
your conversion rates, your sections and so on, and again you can see it in the
context of marketing traffic which is what we’re looking at. And finally, Google Analytics offers the multi-channel attribution
out of the box as well. So, the whole theme is
that if you’re analyzing marketing traffic, if
you’re doing vigil spending, if you wanna see how you’re
performing against conversions, this is where Google Analytics comes in, and in fact, for companies
I usually recommend for them to keep Google Analytics for
anything pre-signup, right? Now, we’re assuming we’re
looking at a product company who has a web app, so you’re
gonna keep Google Analytics for anything pre-signup, and you’re gonna use a tool like Mixpanel for everything post-sign up. So, a tool like Basecamp
will keep Google Analytics to analyze everything that
happens before a user signs up, where are users coming from, what channels are driving those users, what’s the conversion rate, how are the marketing and pages working, what’s the engagement of those pages, and then the user signs
up and at that moment we can move over to something on Mixpanel and say okay, what’s the user doing, how are you going to do
the onboarding process, are you doing action X
or action Y and so on. Finally, you know, in Google Analytics just gives you a lot, I mentioned
some data out of the box, you know, data like the location data to see where users are coming from, and how’s that compared to performance, you know, to conversion rates, and of course one of the popular
reports in Google Analytics is just the mobile breakdown
against performance again, I guess a conversion goal of some kind. Now, let me jump into Mixpanel, and show you what Mixpanel
what makes it great and why people set up Mixpanel. So, Mixpanel the setup for
Mixpanel is much higher than Google Analytics. A typical project will
take maybe 10/20 hours to just get it going, it’ll take multiple months
to become familiar with it especially if you’re implementing Mixpanel and giving it to a small team. Then you have to train
everybody on how to use it. So, first, the first thing
that brings people to Mixpanel is identifying users by
name or email specifically. So, once you set up Mixpanel then you can actually look
at a user by their email and by their name and see exactly what they did, right? So, each of this actions here are events that we sent to Mixpanel and they’re simply tracking
the different actions that a user took, and then, you know, what
were they interacting with the app, with the web app
or a mobile app in this case. So, Google Analytics
doesn’t let you identify users by name or email. You’re not allowed to set
up personal information but Mixpanel let’s you do that, right? So, we can actually then take the email of a user that we know, query it to Mixpanel and
then we’ll get the profile and we can see exactly what the user did over the past 90 days, 100 days, ever since the user was
identified by Mixpanel. And everything that run on Mixpanel is built around this idea, that you’re working with users, and that you can track it back, right? The second report that is
really great in Mixpanel is the funnel report. So, this is a typical conversion funnel, a marketing funnel that
you might see before. What makes Mixpanel great
is that this reports can be built on the fly so you can build multiple reports and they’re retractive, right? So, you can build a report
and you can see the data for the past 90 days. So, the report is built
on events, so you know, we say action one,
action two, action three, action four coming back to
our Basecamp example, right, a user signs up who might
be interested in seeing how they onboard, right, and that might mean we want
them to create a project, create a task and then
bite someone, right. Those might be the three actions
that we want a user to do before we consider them onboarded. So, Mixpanel can let us create that funnel with three actions, and then come in and see okay, you know, our user’s completed on
this onboarding funnel, where are they getting stuck and so on. And of course, we can segment this report and see how it breaks
down by different things like city or country and so on. We can access the same location
data as Google Analytics. You know, this kind of
funnel report is hard to find on Google Analytics just
because of the way it is, at least in the free
version of Google Analytics, so flexible funnels and being able to play around with the funnels is a big plus for Mixpanel. The third thing that
brings people to Mixpanel is the retention analysis, and this is the color
analysis that, you know, if might be familiar with we look at users who did one action, let’s say users who signed up and then came back and
did anything, right, doesn’t matter what they did, they just did anything. And then we can see the conversion rates. So we can see, you know, we can see how many users
signed up on a specific week, and then see how many of them came back and just
redid any action, right. So, this color analysis once
again is based on users, and it’s based on the users
that we can then follow and the profiles and go
on to understand them. So, we might find a user who has a really high retention rate and then we can just simply
go and see who they are, what they did, what are their attributes, how can we replicate those kind of users? And finally, Mixpanel and a lot of tools are really moving in this direction but they’re moving to help
you do the analysis, right? So, what that means is
we’re starting to see, for example, we can look at one action, and then see how that
correlates with let’s say, fourth week retention, right? So, what this means is
we wanna understand if to in a specific action, let’s
take a Basecamp project, right, if people create projects, is that correlated with people being retained in the forth week. Maybe, maybe not, right? So, there’s that kind of analysis that now Mixpanel is starting to offer doing the analysis for you,
running the math for you. And this is something that I’m
also start to see companies come into Mixpanel just for
this kind of report, right where they can get the data to Mixpanel, and simply run this report quite quickly without having to do very
complex manual analysis on the side. And I can mention, you
know, in most companies you are gonna have both
and that’s fine, right. I could see a company like
Basecamp having Google Analytics for anything marketing related, and having a tool like Mixpanel for everything product related, right? And if you’re a content
company like a blog or if you’re an e-commerce company you might actually be fine
with just Google Analytics because you’ll be able to
get everything that you need in one tool. That’s it for today. If you have any questions just
let me know in the comments. Thanks everyone. – Alright, so there you have it. These are the main differences between Google Analytics and Mixpanel. In my mind Google Analytics
and Mixpanel as well has a whole different world
view on the data itself, so Mixpanel is more event driven and if you value the
post-signup as very important in the lifetime of your customer then it might be worth tracking that with an additional tool like Mixpanel. Well, thanks Ruben for putting
this video together for us. If you wanna find out more
about what Ruben is up to, then head over to practicoanalytics.com where he also has some great resources, a free Mixpanel course, a free segment.com course, so check that out as well, and if you like this video, don’t forget to give us a thumbs up and hit that subscribe button as well because we’ll bring you
new videos every Wednesday. My name is Julian. Til next time.

13 thoughts on “Mixpanel vs. Google Analytics – What are the differences?

  1. Interesting. The GA Terms of Service – Privacy states you can't report user details such as emails. That is: "will not assist or permit any third party to, pass information to Google that Google could use or recognize as personally identifiable information". Yet, in MixPanel you can?

  2. This video is misleading – not intentionally I guess – in that it misses the fact that GA allows to track/send events and collect them. Then you can even have reports on the flow through pages mixed with events, analyse drop offs at pages and/or events, basically doing all that Mixpanel allows to do. The only thing is – as was referred to by @zinc1oxide, GA data has to be fully anonymous. But even that you can circumvent and set it up with a UserID anonymised and bang! It maps to your internal info of a user. After saying that, the only difference I see between GA and Mixpanel is the interface differences and the ways you accomplish stuff. Also the events in GA are limited to 500bytes of info in text fields (category, action, label) meaning you cannot send any payload length you want.

  3. Hello Ruben, my company want a tool that can help build an automation system for sales team (our sales team is using Zendesk as I know, but the tool don't support tracking specific actions for each customer like Mixpanel). What tool would you recommend for my company (GA, Mixpanel or other tools that you know of)?

  4. Hello Julian and Ruben, many, many thanks for your video and your channel, very useful information. If you combine google Analytics + google tags manager we can cover all the mixpanel features, can’t we? I mean with google Analytics + google tags manager is there anything else that I should take into account in Mixpanel? We have a very small budget that’s why I am asking 

  5. If I'm running a test, how does mixpannel sync into my website and edit its code for each A and B cohort? How deep can I go in changing features?

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