You need the right analytics tool that will help you grow your business, by offering useful insights and improving the daily workflow. However, it’s not easy to pick the perfect analytical tool. And even though we agree that “big data is revolutionizing our business operations”, there are a lot of analytics tools to choose from.
And we know that you don’t have hundreds of free hours to spend on testing each and everyone out to see which works best for you. That is why we will compare the most popular ones, Google Analytics vs. Mixpanel.
These 2 are one of the most powerful web and mobile analytical tools. Prices, data processing time, and funnel analysis are just a few difference between them.
The racking method is probably the biggest difference between Google Analytics vs. Mixpanel, out of all of these that we mentioned above. While one focuses on event tracking (Mixpanel) the other’s core features are based on page views (Google Analytics).
We have written this blog post that sums up most of the pros and cons regarding these tools, to help you make the decision more easily.
Let’s get into it!
This analytical tool, even though not a pioneer on the market, is by far the most popular since 55% of the 10,000 most popular websites. It’s free nature is the one of the reasons why this tool takes up the majority of the market.
Along with that, there are multiple WordPress plugins available for Google Analytics. Going into that topic would be a whole other review in of itself.
Because it has top-level functionalities that you can utilize with the capability to go more in-depth Google Analytics is designed to appeal to a wider range of companies.
- The standard version is free
In general, if you have an SaaS start-up company, the costs of the different features can quickly pile up especially. That is not the case with Google Analytics, you don’t need to worry about additional costs.
The standard version of Google Analytics is free to use, meaning that you can use all the different features and functionality (which are most important for small businesses), free of charge.
- It’s easy to find out where the users are coming from
Of course, a key part of your marketing strategy is acquisition and conversions. That’s why Google Analytics is a fantastic tool for figuring out from where users are reaching your site from.
It presents you with a detailed breakdown of all your traffic, by splitting them into social platforms, organic and direct traffic, etc. In its essence, you can see which channels are the best performers best on the traffic that is driven to your site.
Additionally, you will also be able to easily figure out which traffic source is performing best in terms of the most conversions. By doing that, you will be able to see if some source is driving a lot of traffic but few conversions, and vice versa, so you can focus your attention on the source that is performing.
- It’s easy to get up and running
Pretty much a few clicks are all it takes to set up your Google Analytics account, and this process is especially easy if you already have a G Suite account set up.
You can integrate it with your website by adding a verification tag on your site’s HTML, which usually takes a few minutes for your web developer to perform. You can even do that yourself you have a few basic tech skills.
All of this to say: You can set up Google Analytics and track your traffic within minutes.
- It’s built for websites, not apps or products
The website and product are different things, in the eyes of most SaaS companies. While this tool would be perfect for your businesses if you advertise your website, that is not the case if you sell products.
Simply put: Google Analytics is built for websites, not for apps or products. Having said that, you will need to find another tool to measure the performance of your products/app, which could be a problem for gathering and tracking your entire data.
By using different tools, you won’t be able to link a user’s actions from your website to their actions in your product. That is why a tool like Mixpanel a great one, which will link those two fields.
- There is not event tracking
For the most part, Google Analytics tracks where your users go (on which pages), and how long they stay there. However, that also means you can’t see how visitors use your website.
While you can set up custom events to be triggered, that process is very limited, which in turn will not give you the ability to collect the detailed data that you need. Mixpanel is a tool your going to need, If you want to track actual events, for example, button clicks or scrolling distance.
- Fewer detailed funnels
The actual funnels that you will be able to set up in Google Analytics are pretty limited in terms of the detail you can provide. On top of that, the process is also no intuitive to use and set up.
Basically, once you set up Google Analytics correctly, it will tell you how a visitor first reached your website, and to a certain extent, it will show you the last-touch attribution that drove the conversion.
On the other hand, Mixpanel differs from Google Analytics in that you can customize your funnels to the most granular of details, and segment users as well. While Google Analytics does offer funnel visualization, it’s not very likely that it will give you the data you need to make business decisions.
Established in 2009, Mixpanel is one of the best San Francisco-based analytics tool on the market. At a first glance, you get the typical opinion when looking at this sales-orientated and website data analysis package tool.
Below we will cover in-depth the pros (but also the cons) sides to using this tool.
- Connecting your website and product
With Mixpanel, you can track user behavior for both your site and also your product/s. That means that it will give you a whole view of the user’s journey, which is one of most important benefits. No data is lost in the process, meaning everything all in one place.
You will be able to see exactly how users who found you, for example through social media, act differently compared to users who found you via paid ads. And as we mentioned previously, this is a massive improvement over Google Analytics which shows you only the side of the website.
If your companies wants to have a complete view of their user’s journeys, Mixpanel is just the right tool for you.
- Easy funnel visualization
Probably one of the easiest ways for you to see the user journey more visually is in the form of a funnel. While both Google Analytics and Mixpanel offer you funnel visualization, Mixpanel’s approach is far more intuitive and user-friendly.
What is also important to note is that it’s really easy to set these funnels, which is far simpler compared to Google Analytics.
- It will give you actionable data
At the end of the data, all of the analytics and data are useless if you are not taking action based on them. What is unique and very interesting about Mixpanel is that it offers you the ability to test hypotheses based on collected data.
You can create product experiments, and personalize your product to different user segments.
- The features are not cheap
While Mixpanel offers a free starter plan which gives you up to 1,000 monthly tracked users, as soon as you start to scale, Mixpanel starts to become a little more expensive.
The minimum estimation is around $779 a year, which will continue to grow if you keep adding on users to track. Also, you will need to pay additional fees for the messaging and experimenting feature mentioned above.
This approach is different from Google Analytics, which is completely free unless you’re a massive Enterprise company.
- Less effective traffic attribution
While Mixpanel does measure attribution channels, it’s severely lacking compared to Google Analytics. While Google Analytics can pull in all of your data from Google Ads, offering seamless and comprehensive integration, Mixpanel simply can’t compete with that.
If you’re more interested in measuring where people are coming from, rather than what they do, then Google Analytics is a better tool.
- Steep learning curve
Ask any Mixpanel user and they will tell you that it can take a bit of time to get used to how it works. On the other hand, while Google Analytics may look a little complicated, it is relatively easy to use and understand once you start using it.
Which Should You Choose?
While both Mixpanel and Google Analytics occupy the same product area, both of them are different depending on what you want to use them for. In other words: It would depend entirely on your business and long-term goals.
When looking at SaaS companies that are purely web-based, Google Analytics should provide all of the information for your needs.
We also think that the best use case for Google Analytics is to monitor where your website traffic is coming from. Simply put, this tool will show you whether the traffic was organic, direct, and also whether it’s through social or paid ads. Once you look at the data and find which source would work best for you, that will impact your overall marketing strategy.
You can also set up conversion tracking, you’ll be able to see where those conversions came from. The main limitation is that Google Analytics won’t track product usage or engagement.
Ob the other hand, Mixpanel shines when you use it as a product analytics tool.
Mixpanel will track everything a user does inside your app or product. That includes every button the uses presses, every scroll, every single action they take. The information that Mixpanel gathers is going to be useful for your product managers and customer success teams.
It means you can track product and website usage, and feature activation all in the same place. At the same time, you see why some users stopped using your product or app. Simply put, Mixpanel enables you, if you have a SaaS company, to be more proactive when it comes to improving product engagement and reducing churn.
Did you find this blog post useful? Which analytical tool are you using? Let us know in the chat section below!