Is Mixpanel Tracking You?

July 11, 2012

A pair of articles highlight the ways in which Mixpanel is taking tracking software to new levels. Whether those levels are highs or lows depends entirely upon your perspective.

VentureBeat exclaims, “Mixpanel Now Lets Apps Target You—Yeah YOU—on a Deeply Personal Level.” Reporter Jolie O’Dell notes that Mixpanel is regarded as a provider of quality analytics. Now the company is working on tying data to individual users, a departure from the don’t-worry-this-data-isn’t-tied-to-you-personally convention we’ve grown used to. The aim, of course, is to target advertising with ever better accuracy. Reminds me of that scene from “Minority Report.”

Search Engine Marketing and Website Optimization’s blog is a bit more matter-of-fact than VentureBeat, stating simply, “Mixpanel is Tracking More Than Actions Now, Introduces User Analytics.” That piece also mentions that Mixpanel ties to individual users, and discusses related analysis:

“Specifically, when customers open up their Mixpanel dashboard, they’ll see a new menu under the ‘actions’ section called ‘people’, where they can get data about all of their visitors, such as gender, age, and country, and then correlate that data with user activity. . . .

“[Mixpanel's co-founder Suhail Doshi] says the new features should be useful to companies of all sizes. If you’ve got a brand new website and only a few hundred visitors, you can look at the individual profiles. If you’re more established, with millions of users, you can still look for patterns among those users, and also target messages to specific groups.”

Great. I can’t say I’m surprised things are progressing this direction. I also can’t say I don’t appreciate not seeing ads about things I’m not interested in. Still, the whole trend leaves me a bit unsettled. Better get used to it, I suppose.

Cynthia Murrell, July 11, 2012

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