Comparing Google Analytics to Mixpanel — Data Visualization and Analysis tools for Marketing Campaigns
Although the most flexible and powerful data analytics tools arguably lie within packages of coding languages such as Python and R, tools like Google Analytics and Mixpanel cannot be ignored, as they are significantly more approachable for less technical individuals. Without knowing how to code, individuals can be empowered by these tools to compare data as segments, analyze trends over time and between different features, understand correlational relationships, visualize data, and wield a platform that can be mutually utilized by nontechnical strategists and executives along with more technical data scientists and analysts, enabling teams of widely different technical skill to explore and understand data together. Strategists, executives, and analysts alike can navigate these tools for live up to date insights.
Together we will explore some of the benefits, drawbacks, and compatibilities of Google Analytics, and MixPanel, two GUI (graphic user interface) driven tools for exploring, visualizing, and understanding data, both often used to implement data oriented strategies by interpreting and understanding user behavior.
Long heralded as the standard for analytics platforms, Google Analytics offers plenty of features for free, which makes it attractive to a range of businesses, organizations, and individuals. One of the most attractive features Google offers is their ability to monitor from which web pages users come to and go, which can provide valuable insight to users.
Where Google Analytics falls flat, and other platforms (such as Mixpanel) pick up on, is Google does not offer a way to deanonymize data —User ID’s allow you to track individuated user behavior, but they do Not reveal any personal information that can be tracked to this user. This is a Feature, not a Bug, as Google is well aware their dominance in the world of data, especially E-commerce, would make them a massive target for lawsuits, bad PR, and consumer wariness, if our behavior could be traced back to us specifically by any website that utilizes Google’s services, at a price of Google’s choosing. And this is really where services like Mixpanel can shine.
Mixpanel provides much of the same functionality that Google Analytics does, although it’s free trial version is certainly more limited. There are some use cases where Mixpanel shines above Google Analytics offerings. Once you have integrated Mixpanel, all data is live, real time — you can monitor changes you have made to your website instantly. Mixpanel also enables web masters to view their specific users activity, and thus send targeted, personalized communications for any user or group of users! This is especially useful in monitoring combined user behavior between a mobile app and desktop app, where Google’s lack of deanonymization features prevents connecting behavior between two different interfaces or sites owned by a group. Many also report the funneling experience as more intuitive on MixPanel versus Google, empowering analysts to better understand a customer’s journey on their website, and facilitate completion of orders and forms.
Case For Both
Many of the tools in data comparisons and visualization are similar between both platforms, and some businesses are reported to have both running, to validate data from one platform to another, as well as for Mixpanel to deepen into targeted communications that Google refuses to touch. Google Analytics is free to start with, so if startup costs are important, and your website is more of a marketing platform rather than a container for products and services themselves, Google Analytics is definitely a good start. However, if your products and services are explicitly sold through your site and understanding user journeys is important, Mixpanel certainly shines brightest in that regard.