Mixpanel’s Real-Time Analytics Show How Social Games Grow and Die

Pricing Mixpanel Real-time Web Analytics, Funnel AnalysisWhile many larger developers have built their own, in-house analytics tools, Mixpanel offers a real-time service that pinpoints interactions in apps — especially gaming apps — like buying or sending items, battling and other mechanics. For many developers, it might be a better alternative to building their own analytics tools.

Mixpanel is already working with “more than 5” gaming companies plus one unannounced larger company, according to cofounder and former Slide employee Suhail Doshi. Some clients have nearly one million monthly active users in their games, and Mixpanel is getting an interesting look inside. In the average game, 48 to 65 percent of users play initially then come back a week or two later. The average role-playing game (think: the Mafia genre) has a user life-span of around six weeks. However, others can go as long as 18 months. Given Mixpanel’s subset of data, one has to wonder what sort of churn larger game developer shops are seeing.

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The company also has more details on how to use Facebook’s own features to bring in new users. Users who come to an application through the news feed tend to convert the best, nearly 5 percent better than a user coming from a notification. Invites, meanwhile, do better than notifications by 2 to 3 percent. The conclusion, according to Doshi: “Developers should really focus on taking advantage of utilizing the newsfeed in creative ways.”

In terms of geography, the company has also noted strange discrepancies between the United Kingdom and other parts of the English-speaking world. “We see users from Australia and U.S. convert into games better than those from international countries (no surprise),” Doshi adds, “but for some reason UK visitors seem to be converting worse than some international ones.”

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By real-time the company is speaking pretty literally, showing updates within 10 seconds after they occur, according to Doshi. Features also include a way to track “funnels,” or the path that users take to convert into some sort of goal (like paying for a virtual good), tools for tracking visitor retention, custom tracking, and an API for data export. Long-term, the company wants to analyze any sort of social web activities that more traditional analytics services don’t handle. Mixpanel’s service is also available for web apps, but has more recently made a point of growing along with the social gaming market. On Facebook, it competes against other analytics services from companies, like Kontagent, although the latter company is focused more on A/B testing and honing viral channels.

Mixpanel records every time users create an event, and charges by the volume of these data points that a client developer receives. Plans run from $25 for 100,000 data points per month to $200 for 2,000,000 per month.

It has raised seed funding from Y Combinator.