As the web becomes increasingly real-time, so real-time analytics are becoming an important tool for Internet companies to track usage on their sites and apps and visualize it as it’s occurring. What if those companies could offer their end users and advertisers easy access to those tools as well, to see how their content, comments and interaction were being received? That’s the promise of Mixpanel’s new Platform service.
The new offering from the analytics startup gives customers the ability to offer real-time data to their users — letting them see who’s commenting on their posts, what the click-through rates are on ads, and how quickly apps are downloaded. For example, a blogging community like Posterous (a Mixpanel customer) can offer its users a way to see how many comments, subscribers, likes, shares, and page views they’re getting on a personal dashboard, complete with graphs and charts tailored to their interests. It’s a step toward making real-time analytics a broader tool that individuals can use, and could be a valuable service for content companies to offer their users to add value.
Mixpanel, a Y Combinator venture with backing from PayPal co-founder Max Levchin and Bebo co-founder Michael Birch, is one of a number of start-ups such as Chartbeat, Crazy Egg and Reinvigorate, who are all trying to take advantage of the growing importance of real-time data analysis created by the explosion of information from blogs, social networks and other online sites. Twitter is also getting in on the act and has said it will offer real-time analytics to its users. Mixpanel is hoping it can make it easy for other companies to do the same. BitTorrent and Yammer are among the first customers who will be utilizing Platform. By adding one line of code, Yammer, a social network for companies, was able to let its client Zendesk see how many tickets or issues were being generated in its Yammer network.
Companies could conceivably do this themselves, building out this functionality in-house like Twitter or turning to other analytics providers, and individual users in many cases can already employ analytics tools themselves. But Mixpanel believes its new feature is an easier way for trusted properties to extend these tools to their community of users without having to worry about set-up or hosting. It’s unclear how companies will see this as desirable, but some could offer it as a premium add-on while others could make it a free feature to entice members. Mixpanel offers a free version that must get upgraded to a paid account based on the amount of data it analyzes, which varies based on the metrics used.
As users increasingly exchange more and more data online, expect this kind of tool to become more common. It feeds people’s desire to see their impact on the web — and if nothing else, it creates some pretty mesmerizing charts.
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