Comparisons: Time, Baseline and Overall


Once you have visualized a metric you are interested in, you want want to compare it against related metrics to gain further insight. Previously, only comparing against past values was supported, but there are now 3 different ways to compare your metrics. The ability to do and show comparisons across segments is also supported in Boards, so any report saved will also reflect in Boards.


Time Comparisons


The compare to past menu has been modified to include the new comparison options, but users can continue to find the same time comparison options that existed before under the new "Compare" menu.


Time Comparison - Absolute Values


This is the same default behavior that existed previously. When you compare to a time period users will see a solid line for the present data, and a dashed line for data in the time comparison period.


Time Comparison - Percentage change over Baseline

This can be activated by selecting the "Percent change over Baseline" option in the controller next to the comparison menu.


When this view is activated, users will see the percentage difference from the one time period to another. This is the same value that was shown in the tooltip, but now users are able to show how segments are shrinking and growing over time. This also makes it easier to see relative performance between different segments.


These values are also reflected into the segmentation table below the chart.


Increase over Baseline

Another comparison type that is now natively supported in Mixpanel is the ability to set a segment as a baseline from which other segments are compared against. This allows users to compare different segments across the same time period.


Screen_Shot_2021-09-22_at_4.50.36_PM.pngTo enable, choose the "Increase over Baseline" option in the compare menu, then choose the segment that you wish to be the baseline.



Notice that because "Home supplies" is chosen at the baseline, it appears on the chart as a flat 0 line - this is because "Home supplies" always has a 0% difference against itself in the same time period.

Also note that the y axis can go below 0, because segments can perform better or worse than the selected baseline, like "Entertainment" above.


Percentage of Overall

This option allows users to see how segments perform as a percentage of the total. Mixpanel will proactively disable this option when this comparison option won't give meaningful results.



To enable, open the Compare menu and select "Percentage of Overall"


Why do the values in Compare to Overall not add up to 100%?

Depending on the type of metric, the percentages may not add up to 100%. This is because the value is being compared to the unsegmented value. For example, if you were you segment Total "Add Item to Cart" events by "Category", then the values should sum up to 100%, since an item might not be a part of different categories.

However, if the metric was "average price", then the average price across all categories might be $10. Within individual categories, the average price might be lower or higher, and that is the comparison being done by "Compare to Overall". In this case the percentage values would not add up to 100%.

More generally, if the metric is summable, and the groups are mutually exclusive, then the percentages will add up to 100%. if the metric is a non counting metric like uniques, or percentile aggregation, the percentages will not add up to 100%. Another example is if the breakdown is by cohorts, where users can be members of multiple cohorts, the percentages will not sum to 100%.


Supported Charts

Comparisons are supported across all insights chart types. Depending on the exact configuration chosen, certain comparison operations may be disabled.

Chart Type Time Comparison Supported Percentage change over Baseline Supported Percentage of Overall Supported
Insights Line Yes Yes Yes
Insights Stacked Line No No Yes
Insights Bar Yes Yes Yes
Insights Stacked Bar Yes No No
Insights Pie No No Yes
Insights Metric Yes Yes Yes
Funnels Steps Yes Yes No
Funnel Trends Yes Yes No
Retention Curve No Yes No
Retention Trends Yes Yes No


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