Heap vs Mixpanel: A Deeper Dive
Heap and Mixpanel are both event-based analytics tools used by thousands of websites and
mobile apps today. Both tools are real-time, have advanced conversion funnels, segmentation analysis,
and other ways of analyzing data that are important to modern apps.
Beyond that, however, there are significant differences. Heap's entire philosophy is based on providing
users with a complete data set to answer ever changing questions as your business needs evolve. Mixpanel
introduced autotrack on web in August 2016, but autotracked
events are not integrated across their entire suite of analysis features. Autotrack is not
available on mobile, so manual instrumentation and maintanence is still required.
Automatic Event Tracking
One of Heap's main features is its ability to track events on
your website or mobile app automatically. On web, Heap tracks every pageview, click,
form submission and more without any work on your part. On mobile, Heap automatically tracks
every touch, swipe, tap, and other gesture events. As a result, with Heap, you can start
generating conversion funnels after a 1 minute installation.
Time to Insight
Heap's point and click event visualizer and user friendly UI means everyone can get insights
quickly. Heap drastically improved Crunchbase's time to
insight. "Tracking new events used to take a month. With Heap, we can get the
information we need in just an hour." Customers like Naturebox boosted conversion 5x in just 6 weeks.
Complete User Histories
Heap offers the ability to drill down into individual users. The
List view offers individual user histories, which show a comprehensive picture of every single
thing a given user has done on your website or mobile app. With Mixpanel, however, you must
separately purchase the Mixpanel People add-on to view user-level reports. Additionally,
Mixpanel will only display actions for each user that you've explicitly chosen to track.
All events defined in Heap are applied retroactively. If you've only defined a "Like Article"
event today, but have had Heap installed for the past five months, then you'll view the past
five months of data on this interaction instantly. This allows you the flexibility to define
events and run queries whenever they're needed, rather than accounting for every possibility
from the outset. Mixpanel's track events only begin tracking data once you've written tracking
code and deployed it live. Furthermore, Heap's ETL process to Redshift is completely retroactive
- you can always export a complete data set. Mixpanel's autotracked events does not work with
JQL or their export API, meaning you can not do any additional analysis with autotracked
All-in-One or Best-of-Breed?
Mixpanel's approach is an all-in-one suite that offers analytics, notifications, surveys, and A/B
testing. Heap, however, focuses on data collection and analytics, and integrates with
best-in-class third-party tools. Heap automates data collection across every part of the user
journey–not just your website or mobile app–by bringing in data from tools like Salesforce and Marketo. Heap also frees your data to power
insights in SQL via Amazon Redshift, or in BI tools like Tableau or Looker. Explore dozens of
integrations with these tools as well as Optimizely, Mailchimp, Stripe, and more.
When Should I Use Mixpanel?
Mixpanel focuses on product managers to provide an all-in-one solution, integrating non-analytics
features such as Surveys and A/B testing. Heap also sells to marketers and customer success,
integrating best-in-class tools like Optimizely, Mailchimp, Stripe, and more.
When Should I Use Heap?
Heap is well-suited for any marketer, product manager, engineer, or data analyst that wants to
better understand their users without spending engineering time on implementation. The automatic
event tracking in Heap eliminates engineering work, plays well with constantly changing apps,
and enables retroactive analysis. Additionally, Heap excels with an ecosystem of integrations
with best-in-class third-party tools. The Event Visualizer makes analytics accessible to anyone
in a business.