Mixpanel: Defining Your Product and Business Goals

How customers engage with your product matters to all teams – marketing, support, engineering, and of course product.

Which is why it's so critical that companies of today have deep insights into how users behave on their mobile or web platform.

Mixpanel has become the go-to product analytics platform, and they’re now on Skillshare, teaching Product Analytics Essentials: 3 Reports to Drive Impact. In this class, Mixpanel product manager Veronica Pinchin teaches us how to create a smart, deliberate analytics strategy. Today, we wanted to share the third lesson from this class around defining the goals of your product!

An Online Skillshare Class by Veronica Pinchin

Below we’ve adapted the transcript of the above lesson. Walk through Victoria’s explanation of setting product and business goals.

The reason that it's important to set business goals is that there are millions of things that you could track in your app or website. And if you track every single one of those, it's going to be very time consuming, super expensive and you're going to end up with a lot of useless data and not a lot of insights.

By setting business goals up front, you can provide a structure and framework for the things that you're going to track to make sure that you're getting valuable insights out of your product analytics.

Some examples of product-focused business goals are things like user activation. So where are people dropping off when they're onboarding onto your product? Things like user retention. Which users are likely to come back and which users are likely not to come back. It's also things like user referrals. Which users are the most likely to invite other friends to use your product? There's also user engagement. Which is which features are people using the most or the least?

Beyond product goals, there are a lot of other goals that you might have for your business. Goals around marketing, finance or sales. All of these goals are part of a continuum that help really drive the success of your business. But today we're really going to be focusing on the product goals.

What are your product goals?

In my own experience, I first start to think about what the business is trying to achieve overall. At Mixpanel, one thing that's really important to us, for example, is making sure that people are coming back to Mixpanel on a daily basis to get value out of the data that they're collecting. So as part of this, one of the goals that we have is around viewing reports. We want lots of people to come back and view a lot of different reports. Because for us, that's a good indicator that they're getting value out of their data.

If we use an example like a Spotify or a Google Play Music. If you think about the business goals of a music app, the things that you might care about are the number of songs that people are playing, how often they're coming back, or maybe the number of people that are upgrading to a paid plan. The next stage of product analytics would be to set up your implementation tracking plan to figure out if you're achieving those goals.

What are your business goals?

When you're thinking about how many business goals you want to track, there really is no right answer. If you're a small website just starting out, you might only have a couple. There might be one or two or three things that you think are really important to driving impact for your business. But as you start to scale, that could blow up to having multiple goals across several teams. And so you could end up with a lot more goals than that in a large product analytics implementation.

So, at Mixpanel, for example, we do have some overarching goals that are really the North Star for our business. But for me specifically, when I'm product managing the Mission Learning team, I have a specific set of things that I monitor, which are likely very different than another product manager who's running the mobile team. So those goals that are specific to the Mission Learning team are really the things that help guide my day to day decisions, in terms of product development.

So, before we move on to the next step, you should take a moment to write down two to three goals that you think are in line with your role and your business. From there, we'll go on to create implementation spec around those goals.

This is an excerpt from Mixpanel’s Skillshare class, Product Analytics Essentials: 3 Reports to Drive Impact. Join here to take the class in its entirety!