Mixpanel Flow Helps Companies Visualize User Activity

Analytics startup Mixpanel is launching a new product today called Flow, which allows companies to see exactly how users are moving through their websites. In fact, co-founder Suhail Doshi says Flow has already helped Mixpanel fix an all-too-common problem with its login process.

Doshi demonstrated the product for me yesterday. When you use Flow, you see a simple flow chart showing all the visitors to a certain web page, and what pages they clicked to when they left. Clicking on any of the subsequent pages will bring up a new chart showing similar information for the new page.

Doshi says Mixpanel Flow has two big advantages other flow visualization products. First, the data is in real-time, so you can see how people are clicking on your site right now, not what they did a day ago, and you can see the immediate results of any changes you’ve made. Second, it’s simple and beautiful. Doshi showed me slides of the flow visualization tool in Google Analytics and other competing products, and compared to Mixpanel, they looked like complicated technical diagrams, not an easy-to-read chart — Doshi went even further, calling them “outdated and gross-looking.”

Mixpanel has already been using Flow to analyze the activity of its own users. One of the discoveries, Doshi says, was the number of visitors who keep returning to the login page. Presumably, they’re having trouble remembering their password and trying different options, but instead of using the “forgot your password?” option, many people just give up and leave.

Doshi says he investigated further and found that this is a common problem across the Web, but one that Facebook seems to have solved. So Mixpanel now mirrors Facebook’s solution — if you try and fail to login a couple of times, even if you don’t select the “forgot my password” option, the site will send you an email with a link to automatically login and change your password.

Flow will be available for free — Doshi is hoping that some of the companies using it will eventually be tempted to try Mixpanel’s pay products. (It’s also available for free to existing customers.) And since mobile analytics are a part the company’s business, it’s also working on a version that supports mobile apps.

flow screenshot