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This article was published on February 3, 2011

Mixpanel: Page Views are Dead. Measure Engagement.

Mixpanel: Page Views are Dead. Measure Engagement.
Fatema Yasmine
Story by

Fatema Yasmine

Fatema is the founder of SmartGiggles and a technology writer living in San Francisco. You can find her on Twitter @FatemaYasmine. Fatema is the founder of SmartGiggles and a technology writer living in San Francisco. You can find her on Twitter @FatemaYasmine.

Mixpanel a real-time analytics service that tracks users interaction & engagement is calling out Google Analytics, on a billboard on highway 101. This picture was posted on Tim Trefren‘s Facebook profile today. Trefren along with Suhail Doshi founded Mixpanel in 2009, their investors include Max Levchin (co-founder of PayPal) and Michael Birch (Bebo founder).

I spoke with Suhail Doshi about the ‘war’ they have declared on Google.

Doshi explained to me that if I wanted to know how many people where playing Cityville the number I would care about would not be how many times people opened the app, but rather what people were clicking on. So that I could understand where I am losing people and what aspects of the game were increasing player retention.

Most of Zynga games are built on flash, page views don’t matter, what people do in the game matters. Same with Facebook, it’s ajax heavy, what people are liking, commenting, etc is more valuable to facebook than someone just viewing the site. Google Analytics is helpful with knowing how many people click on a page but number of page views don’t drive business. Website’s want to know who clicked what and where did they go after and they want to know in real-time. Engagement is more valuable than someone just viewing your website. Shazam for example doesn’t care about how many people just opened the app, they care about whether people actually matched a song.

Doshi explained that Google technically can do event tracking but it does not do it as in-depth as his clients need. There are other companies like Omniture that perform similar services to Mixpanel however not only does Mixpanel provides real-time analytics, it does so in a much simpler and more beautiful manner.

Dosi firmly added, “Engagement is the trend, page views are dead.”

I also spoke with a developer for a popular website that didn’t want to be named. I asked him his opinion on Mixpanel vs Google Analytics.

As a developer its [Mixpanel] more work, but it yields much better data. They also do event analysis that Google Analytics doesn’t like retention rates. Also you can fire some events for logged in users and others for not logged in, so you can understand how different users perform. Google Analytics was not even an option for us. In the last week we have been able to tweek a few things [funnel analysis] and have increased user retention by 250%. This would have been almost impossible without Mixpanel, we would have had to build our own analytics!

It will be interesting to see how Google reacts, both with their product and also press. Analytics has lost it’s glamour over the years but Mixpanel is bringing its sexy back.