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 data.
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.