Mixpanel Streams: Watch What Your Users Are Doing On Your Site, In Real Time

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If you’re running a website, you’ve probably tried a lot of things to optimize the experience for users: tools like A/B tests, analytics trackers, and feedback forms. But even with these tools, it can still be tricky to figure exactly how people are using a site. And most companies can’t afford an eye-tracking lab.

Now Mixpanel, the real-time analytics startup that just raised $1.25 million from Sequoia and top angels, has a solution. Today it’s launching a new feature called Streams that will let you visualize exactly how people are navigating through a site in real-time. Pick a user, and you can see a history of which pages they’ve visited, and where they went next.

You can use custom filters and color tagging of each content type to help identify trends — are people clicking the ‘Home’ button when they really wanted their profile? Does a certain page lead people to reach for the ‘Help’ section? And so on.

Yes, there’s definitely a creepiness factor involved here — on large sites Mixpanel will draw a random sample of users and doesn’t show their real names, but with smaller sites it’s easy to track exactly where everyone is visiting. If you wanted to, you could actually tag specific users with their real names and monitor how they’re using your site.

But Doshi says that this is all up to the site administrator — there’s nothing forcing you to be creepy. And it’s actually been possible to do similar things using site logs, though Streams obviously it easier to generate and visualize the data.

Mixpanel isn’t the first service to offer real-time tracking like this — we’ve previously written about Reinvigorate which offers similar tools with the same creepiness factor. Another competitor (which we use at TechCrunch for traffic monitoring) is Chartbeat.

Doshi says that Mixpanel Streams is, and will always be, a free part of the product. The hope is that users will start using Streams, and get hooked on some of the premium features as well.