Flows identifies the most frequent paths taken by users to or from any event. Use Flows to understand how your users sequentially perform events in your product, and analyze drop-offs or unsuccessful behavior.
You might use Flows to answer these sample questions:
- What did users do immediately after signing up?
- What are the most common sets of actions taken after opening the app?
- What actions lead up to creating a channel?
- How do users navigate between account creation and sending their first message?
Building your First Report
Building a Flows report follows the same high level steps as building any other report. You can read about report building basics here.
Building a report in Flows takes just a few clicks, and results arrive in seconds. Let's build a simple report together. Using a B2B messaging example, imagine you wanted to answer the following question:
What are the top paths leading Chrome users from Landing Page to Sign Up?
Step 1: Choose Events
Events are the basic building block of a Flow. In this case, since we want to know how users navigated from the landing page, to signing up, we would add two events, "Landing Page" and "Sign Up" within the "Steps" section.
Step 2: Choose Steps Before/After Events
Above and below your selected events, you can choose how many steps to show before and after each event, respectively. In this case, we're curious to see at least 3 steps after our first selected event, so we input "3" below "Landing Page." At this point, your query should look like this:
Step 3: Choose Filters
Filters exclude unwanted data. In this case, we only care about events performed by Chrome users. Therefore, add a "Browser" filter, where Browser equals "Chrome". At this point, your query should look like this:
Step 4 (optional): Choose Breakdowns
Breakdowns segment data into groups. In this case, we don't need to apply a breakdown since we already have the query in place to answer our question. However, if we wanted to see how the flow varies by city, we could add a "City" breakdown.
Analyzing User Flows
Flows features two visualizations to help you view the results of your query in the clearest chart type. By default, Flows displays the User Flows chart, which uses a Sankey diagram to visually display multiple paths on the same chart. This visualization excels when trying to identify different variants of a similar path, or following one particular trail.
User Flows displays a Sankey diagram where the height of the bar is proportional to the number of users who perform that specific event, and the height of the lines that connect bars are proportional to the number of users who perform the the two events in sequence.
In the above example, more users moved from the A event “Exit Tutorial” to “Experiment Started” than any other path. This is graphically signified by the height of the line.
Hover over a stage of the diagram to highlight it and see details of that section. This includes the total number of unique users who moved between those two steps on that path, as well as the percentage.
Select any blue node representing an event on the Sankey chart to highlight the most popular paths that led to or from that node. The selected node is indicated in a lighter blue.
Event types in Sankey Diagram
These are significant moments in a users lifecycle around which you would like to explore user behavior (for example, you may wish to view what users do after a Sign Up event). Selected events are picked in the query builder and are annotated with an alphabetical label (A, B, C) that is shown in the query builder and the sankey diagram.
In the above example, we picked two anchor events "Exit Tutorial" and "Experiment Started", and are viewing the events that were performed by users between them.
Once an event is selected, Mixpanel calculates the most common events performed by users immediately before or after the selected events. These intermediate events can match either regularly tracked events OR the most used custom events in your project. The icon will let you know at a glance the type of event being displayed.
In the above example, Install or Open is a custom event, while Experiment Started is a regular event.
Click here to learn more about custom events in flows.
At each step in the flow, Mixpanel by default displays the top 3 intermediate events performed by users ordered by the number of users who performed them at that step. The rest of the events performed are grouped into a single bar called "Other events".
“Drop-off” represents users who did not do any further events in the next step during the time period specified in the report, and therefore dropped out of the flow. Users are considered dropped off at future anchor steps selected in the query builder if they do not perform that particular anchor in the time period.
Adding more events
Viewing more steps
By default, flows shows you the first 3 events performed by users after the selected event. If you wish to see what users did further along in the path, you can adjust the number of steps directly in the Sankey visualization as shown below.
Use the "+" on the right of the visualization to add steps after your selected events of interest to see what paths your users took following these key events.
The "+" on the left of the visualization will add steps before the events you've added in the query builder. This will allow you to see what paths your users took that led up to these events of interest.
To add steps in larger quantities, you can adjust the number of steps directly in the query builder section as well.
Viewing less frequent events
By default, flows only shows you the top 3 events performed by users ordered by the number of users who performed them. Less common events performed by fewer users are combined into an "Other events" section. (Click here to learn more about other events). To view more events, simply right click the other events node and
Add a row of events.
To expand a large number of steps at the same time, you can select the number of rows you want directly in the advanced settings
Selecting Multiple Steps
You can add multiple steps in the query builder.
This allows you to examine flows between targeted events. The "+" on the left of the breakpoint line (marked with ≈) will show you the events that happened directly after the first anchored event.
In the following example, Flows is showing the event that happened right after App Open before the made a Purchase.
Use the "+" on the right of the breakpoint line (marked with ≈) will show you the events that happened right before the later anchored event.
For example, below Flows is showing the event that happened directly before a Purchase, but only after the user did App Open.
Analyzing Top Paths
Another way to visualize your user flows is by "Top Paths", which condenses the flows down to unique paths on each row. This visualization is great for understanding the most common paths users take, though they may not be similar. In this case, since we want to understand the most common paths, choose Top Paths. Your report should look like this:
In the top bar of the visualization, you will see the option to toggle between User Flows and Top Paths.
Top paths will show the 50 most common event sequences of up to the number of steps you had selected in the User Flow sankey visualization.
The total percentage of users who reached the ultimate destination of a flow is indicated on the top left, while the total users that reached a given step and the percentage of users who converted from the previous step are indicated on the bottom of each step.
While this article covers the basics of the Flows report, you can learn more about its capabilities in the following additional articles:
- Advanced Flows Functionality - learn to use the more advanced features of your Flows report