Guide to Mixpanel Basics

Welcome to Mixpanel! Your journey to getting insightful and actionable analytics begins with the Mixpanel Basics. This guide is designed to surface the fundamental knowledge and resources necessary to succeed with Mixpanel. The core concepts presented here are paramount to working with Mixpanel and will be assumed knowledge in all other training material.

In this guide we will cover:

  • What is Mixpanel? - An introduction to Mixpanel and what it can do.
  • The Data Model - How Mixpanel data is structured.
  • Your Account - Overview of your personal settings in Mixpanel.
  • Wrap-up - Tailored suggestions on where to go for continued learning and review of key terms in this guide.

Additional Resource Links

As you work your way through this guide (and other Mixpanel training guides), you will come across green callout boxes such as this. We will use these boxes to highlight additional resources to further develop your understanding of Mixpanel. These resources often go into much more depth of detail than what is covered in the guides, so we highly recommend that you check them out!

  What is Mixpanel?

Mixpanel is a user analytics tool that allows you to track how users interact with your Internet-connected application. Data is sent from a user’s device or your server to Mixpanel, where it can be analyzed in real-time to better identify trends and understand user behavior.  Mixpanel also allows you to use your behavioral analytics data to precisely target users with various types of messages and experiments to help drive maximum engagement and adoption.

Introduction to Mixpanel Course

For a more visual and holistic overview of Mixpanel, check out the Introduction to Mixpanel course which contains 45 minutes of video lessons covering the fundamentals of working with Mixpanel. We highly recommend this course to all new users as we have found that viewers of this course gain much more immediate value out of Mixpanel. And how do we know this? We use Mixpanel to track and analyze this, of course!

The Data Model

Unlike some other analytics tools which are limited to tracking pre-defined measures of engagement, such as page views and browser sessions, Mixpanel employs an event-based, user-centric model that tracks the specific actions that individual users take within your product.

This event-based approach to analytics captures a deeper understanding of user engagement, which allows for more granular analysis and effective targeting of messages and experiments.

As for the actual structure of the Mixpanel data model, it is built on three key concepts: events, properties, and user profiles. Let's quickly discuss each of these components.

Events

An event is a meaningful action that a user performs in an application or on a website.

Events can be a wide range of actions. For example, a music service might track a new user signing up for an account or a user playing a song as events.

It is important to determine which user actions are important to collect and later analyze. Those actions should be tracked as events.

Event Properties

An event property is a detail about an event.

To elaborate, event properties are descriptive key-value pairs associated with an event, either describing the event itself or the user who performed that event.

When determining which events to collect, it is important to specify which details about that event should also be collected. Event properties are incredibly important, as they provide the necessary context about events to ensure valuable analytics. Properties also facilitate the dissection of data, allowing for more detailed insight into event-driven data.

When a new user signing up is tracked as an event, the type of plan they signed up with can be collected as a property of the sign-up event. If a user plays a song, the title of the song can be collected as a property of the song play event.

Mixpanel_Core__Event___Properties2.png

Once tracked, events and their properties are immutable, meaning they cannot be changed.

User Profiles

A user profile is a collection of information about an individual user.

Like events, user profiles have properties that describe the profile. Unlike events, however, user profiles and their properties constantly change to reflect the most recent information about a user.

A user profile property could be a static value, such as a first name, or be something more likely to change, like the date of last login or the number of songs a user has played.

Mixpanel_Core__User_Profile_2.png

Different Mixpanel Properties

Still have questions about the different types of properties?  Check out this article for more examples and additional detail on property types.

Your Account

Before looking at your individual Mixpanel account, we need to take a quick look at the Mixpanel admin system.  Each Mixpanel account will be part of at least one organization and any number of projects owned by the organization.  An organization is the entity that connects Mixpanel plans, projects, and accounts together.  Projects can be thought of as containers for your Mixpanel data which are often separated by some logical criteria, testing (dev) vs production data for example.

Mixpanel_Core__Account_System__1_.png

A plan determines what features each project in the organization will have access to in Mixpanel.  Access to features for each account can be further limited by organization and project roles.  Your account will have one organization role for each organization and a project role for each project it is a part of.

2_Org_Diagram__1_.png 

Organization and Project Roles

The Organization Roles and Permissions article and the Project Roles and Permission article have more information on the respective roles and what each has access to in Mixpanel.  

After logging into Mixpanel, you will see the current project you are in and your project role for that project in the upper left-hand corner of the page.  Mixpanel displays a drop-down of all your projects when you click on the project name (red box below).

Basics_-_settings.png

The upper right-hand corner (yellow box above) displays your name in bold, above your organization name. If you belong to more than one organization, the total number of organizations is shown instead (as pictured).  Opening the menu here, you find your personal settings by clicking Profile & Preferences under Personal Settings.

Personal Settings Overview

For complete details on the options available in your personal settings, check out this article.

The above covers the basic level of Mixpanel admin that all users should need.  If you are someone responsible for administering Mixpanel for your organization or a project, there are a few more things you should be aware of.  

Guide to Mixpanel Admin

To learn a bit more about the Mixpanel system and the different ways to invite users and manage the various settings available,  check out our Guide to Mixpanel Admin

Wrap Up

Congratulations on completing the Mixpanel Basics!  By finishing this guide, you now have the basic knowledge necessary to begin diving deeper into Mixpanel.  

Next Steps

Where to go next with Mixpanel really depends on your role in regards to Mixpanel and where your company's implementation currently stands.

Guide to Mixpanel Implementation

The Guide to Mixpanel Implementation will walk you through the process of setting up Mixpanel tracking for your projects. Any users looking to set up tracking for a new project or re-implementing on an old project should start here.

If your project already has data, you should be ready to begin learning about your data and the advanced analytics capabilities in Mixpanel.  

Guide to Mixpanel Analysis

Mixpanel offers a wide range of reports and analysis techniques for looking at your data.  The Guide to Mixpanel Analysis will introduce you to the different reports in Mixpanel, show you how to build them and provide some example use cases. 

Key Terms (Review)

Here we will define some of the key terms we discussed in Mixpanel Basics.

 Term Definition

 Event

A meaningful action that a user performs in an application or on a website.

 Event Property

Detail attributed to an event.  Structured as a key:value pair where key is the property name and value is the value given to that property.

 Organization

The controlling entity that links individual accounts, projects, and a Mixpanel plan together.

 Organization Role

Each account within an organization has one organization role which determines what that account has access to in the Organization Settings.  Different organization roles and their permissions can be seen here.

 Plan

A plan defines the features and data volume limits for the organization over a specified term length. All projects housed within said organization are subject to the plan's specifications.  Plan information can be seen in the Organization Settings menu.

 Project

A container for your product's analytics data.

 Project Role

Project roles determine what features an account will have access to in a project.  An account can have a different role for each project it is a part of. Different project roles and their permissions can be seen here.

 User Profile

Collection of information about a user.  Consists of one or many user profile properties.

 User Profile Property

Detail attributed to a user profile.  Structured as a key:value pair where key is the property name and value is the value given to that property.

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