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Analytics Startup Mixpanel Expands Into Mobile Surveys

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Mobile-focused analytics company Mixpanel is growing its offerings today with the launch of Mixpanel Surveys, a product that allows developers to integrate user surveys into their mobile apps.

Currently, co-founder Suhail Doshi said the options “kind of suck” for developers who want to find out more about what their users think. Usually, they end up emailing a giant list of user addresses, an approach that isn’t particularly well-targeted and doesn’t necessarily result in many responses.

With Mixpanel Surveys, the questions can be integrated into the app itself, so users are being surveyed in a context where it’s relevant, which should lead to “conversion rates that are much higher,” Doshi said. He gave me a quick demo of the editor, and it took only a few minutes to create a survey that looked like it was a native part of the app.

The surveys that Doshi created only had one question per screen, and he said that mobile surveys really shouldn’t be longer than a few questions. Nonetheless, Doshi argued that the results can still be quite meaningful, especially when paired with Mixpanel’s audience segmentation capabilities. For example, if a developer wanted to know if level 10 of their game was too easy, too difficult, or just right, that’s a one-question survey that could be targeted specifically at players who just finished that level.

When I asked whether other companies couldn’t do the same thing, Doshi replied that the makers of most survey products aren’t “mobile first”:

The technology that you’re asking about, it’s not so much that SurveyMonkey couldn’t go and build this UI, but I don’t think they have the DNA to go and build it. They don’t have the design DNA and the mobile DNA. That takes a long time to build.

One specific technical challenge that Doshi said Mixpanel has solved is the ability to integrate these surveys “at scale” while minimizing any effect on the performance of the mobile apps in question.

He also argued that surveys are a “natural, tangential” area for Mixpanel to move into, and something that many of the company’s current customers have already expressed interest in. The existing analytics product helps developers understand how their users behave and how much money they’re worth to the business, but with surveys, Mixpanel can also “help companies measure how people think and feel about things.”