We are helping the world answer 81 million product questions every year: Scott Pugh, Mixpanel

Product innovation is tough, and it takes several iterations for companies to get their product strategies right. This is even more relevant in the digital era. As more companies go digital, product analytics has become extremely important and vital for a company’s success. Mixpanel, a leading product analytics software company, has found great acceptance in this scenario, and the company says that it is currently helping the world answer 81 million product questions every year.

Scott Pugh, Regional VP & General Manager – APAC, Mixpanel, shares his perspective on some important trends and tells us how his company’s event-based tracking solution gives product teams the ability to gain insights into how to best acquire, convert, and retain their users across web and mobile platforms, in a detailed interview

Some edited excerpts:

How important is product analytics in the current scenario?

Product analytics has become mission-critical to a company’s success. Whether it be digital native companies that are born with a data-centric approach to growth, or larger enterprises that are going through a digital transformation, having a deep understanding of the user journey and customer life cycle in addition to core metrics like revenue and financial data are key indicators of a companies growth and potential.

Most companies probably have some kind of analytics and business intelligence already in place but they’re not necessarily the best at answering the kinds of questions that product teams need to answer, e.g.:
– Who are your power users? And how do their behaviours differ from other users?
– Why do some users convert, while others don’t?
– How does retention differ by user cohort? Is it higher or lower when people engage with a particular feature?
– What are the top drivers of user engagement and retention?
– Did that new feature release cause the desired change in behaviour?

In fact, our survey of over 160 product professionals in India saw 43% of respondents indicate that the analytics tools they’re being provided aren’t designed for product teams, and 28% have access to data but lack the technical skills to answer the questions they need to answer. A product analytics tool like Mixpanel fills these gaps. We’re made for answering user behaviour and product questions in a self-serve manner.

How is Mixpanel trying to help companies address some of their product related issues and questions?

We are a leading product analytics software company, currently helping the world answer 81 million product questions every year. Our pioneering event-based tracking solution gives product teams the ability to gain insights into how to best acquire, convert, and retain their users across web and mobile platforms.

Product, data, engineering and marketing teams in digital-focused companies are using Mixpanel to answer questions like:
● User activation – Is there a drop-off where users are signing up but not playing any videos?
● Time to action – What is the length of time taken for a new user to arrive at the value moment? Can this be shortened?
● Social engagement metrics – Is engagement on the decline? Is this reducing the number of videos being discovered via shares on the platform?
● User metrics – Is this user group increasing over time? Who are these users? Are they new, retained, or re-engaged users?

What are the ways in which organizations can grow their businesses through innovation by leveraging a product analytics platform?

We at Mixpanel like to “drink our own champagne”. Here’s an example of how we use product analytics ourselves.

We worked on defining our focus metric. We analyzed various data sources (including user data from Mixpanel) and realised that users who did a specific action at least three times in the last seven days within our product retained three times the baseline.

We consistently monitor this focus metric within Mixpanel and also looked at how product innovation is impacting the metric. This is key to making sure product innovations drive the right and desired outcomes like happy users and customer retention. For example, by monitoring qualitative data through an NPS score and feedback in addition to the quantitative approach from using Mixpanel enabled us to triple our NPS in 18 months by completing transforming our UI/UX.

What are the barriers that businesses face in understanding and moving these metrics, and the struggle faced by many to realize the value of their data?

The biggest barrier companies face is the common “People”, “Process”, “Technology” challenge.

“People” is about having the right people that are data-driven and have an inbuilt curiosity to understand the “why” around their company’s metrics. They also need to have the drive and motivation to innovate and impact these metrics. Teams also need to be structured in the right way, either through scrum or squads, to combine expertise from the product, data, engineering, and UI/UX teams to be able to truly take action on the data.

The “Process” revolves around managing and having strict governance of your data. This is also paramount. Without clean and relevant data, the different teams within an organization will not be able to trust it. Having data you don’t trust is almost as bad as having no data at all. It causes teams to question and second guess, slowing down innovation.

Finally and maybe most importantly, there is a need to have the right technology to put the processed data in the hands of your data-driven people. The technology needs to enable the democratisation of data. In other words, everyone in the organization needs to have the ability to ask questions of the data with the most amount of flexibility and depth possible. This will increase the overall efficiency of the business and enable teams to move quickly to iterate and innovate.

MixpanelProduct Analytics
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