Marketing

Heap vs Mixpanel: Which One Should Your SaaS Choose in 2023?

Sohan Karuna
January 31, 2023

Several analytical solutions are available for B2B marketers to track and analyze data for their businesses. Two of the most popular choices are Heap and Mixpanel. Though both tools share significant similarities, they also distinguish themselves with unique features and capabilities. 

In this article, we introduce both tools, explain how they are set up, and share key features and limitations to help you make an informed purchase decision. 

Without any delay, let’s delve into it. 

What is Heap?

Heap is a unique digital analytics platform that automatically captures customers’ interactions, analyzes them, and generates actionable insights to improve customer experience, retention, and conversions. 

What is Heap

Heap can track user interactions on websites and mobile apps, allowing businesses to analyze their customer's behaviors and generate data-driven insights.

The tool has a wide range of features, including automatic event tracking, retroactive data capture, and real-time reporting. Heap also allows businesses to segment their data by users, sessions, and events, making it easier to identify trends and patterns. 

Heap’s key features include

  1. Customer 360 analytics captures all user interactions and actions on your website and/or mobile app and sends data to your data warehouse to get a comprehensive understanding of the customers' journeys.
  2. Funnel optimization helps remove friction and optimize the customer journey to increase conversion rates.
  3. Intuitive dashboards help track your critical business metrics and coordinate insights-driven action across the organization.
  4. Integrates with 50+ sources/websites ranging from CRM and attribution platforms to marketing automation and user onboarding & adoption platforms. 
  5. Usage Tracking/Analytics, allows detailed tracking and analysis of users' interactions within your website and/or mobile app.

What is Mixpanel?

Mixpanel is a product analytics platform that helps businesses improve user experience by tracking and analyzing user interactions with their website or mobile app

what is Mixpanel

Mixpanel equips businesses with insightful reports surrounding user interactions, monitoring the growth of key user cohorts and even comparing current trends with earlier ones. 

The tool also illustrates the user flow within your website/mobile app, discovering the paths taken by users before they make a purchase. Moreover, the flow helps businesses locate friction in the user journey. 

Some of the key features of Mixpanels are

  • KPI monitoring, keeping track of the status of previously identified performance measurements. 
  • Data integration, integrating or connecting with different sources/apps for analysis and dashboard preparation
  • Customer journey mapping, visualizing every interaction made by the user with the business 
  • Funnel analysis, mapping the user flow to a set of funnel steps that results in conversion [achieve desired results in general]
  • Customer segmentation, segmenting users based on attributes, cohorts or actions to uncover engagement drivers.

Getting started with Heap

Heap is easy to implement as it does not require extensive coding, removing the dependency on software developers. 

To set Heap up, you need to sign up for an account, add a tracking code to your website, and adjust your settings. The time taken to complete the set-up process may vary depending on the complexity of your website and the type of data you want to track. 

Also, after the installation, Heap will automatically track data retroactively.

Setting up Mixpanel

As for the time needed for implementation, the Mixpanel team assures that the entire process will take less than 15 minutes, but it depends on the complexity of the website and the tech stack used. They are also providing codeless implementation by partnering with Freshpaint, in which case, they say the time taken will stretch to 30 minutes.

The tool's main downside is its lack of codeless automation for retroactive tracking, but recently, they have partnered with Freshpaint to allow users to choose between codeless or coded tracking. 

Heap vs Mixpanel: Deep Dive

Heap and Mixpanel are both popular digital analytics tools with unique features and capabilities. So it's essential to understand their key differences before deciding which is the best fit for your business needs.

comparison between heap and mixpanel

1. How Event Tracking Works in Heap vs. Mixpanel

The capability to monitor events, such as individual user actions like button clicks, form submissions, page views, etc., and is an essential feature for all marketing analytics tool. Luckily both Heap and Mixpanel  provides this functionality. The only difference is that Heap automatically tracks them, while Mixpanel requires you to instrument custom code on the website to start tracking events. 

Difference between tracking in Heap and other tools

Even though Heap tracks events automatically throughout the website, they also deliver a custom option for users to manually track and enrich their dataset with flexible APIs that capture clients and server-side events.

As for Mixpanel, like Heap, a tracking code must be installed on the website or mobile app. Once that's done, businesses can set up events to track. This can be done using the Mixpanel JavaScript library, which provides a simple way to track events and send data to Mixpanel.

Mixpanel's wide-range of APIs offers businesses an alternate approach to tracking events across servers, mobile apps, and other sources. 

But the real problem with event tracking is when it comes to tracking non-website events.

Marketing is not just about the things that happen on the website. In a typical B2B customer journey, touchpoints such as webinars, gated content, meetings, sales calls, field events, and so on play a crucial role in moving the customer down the funnel. This function is absent in both of the tools, which limits their applicability in a B2B context.

This is where marketing analytics tools like Factors come into play. The tool can help businesses track both website and non-website events and overcome the said limitation. 

2. Custom Dashboards and Reporting 

A good dashboard requires the ability to customize dashboards with the data you want to track. This helps to provide an overall insight without jumping tabs.

Dashboards in Mixpanel and Heap are customizable, and users can create multiple ones for the KPIs you want to track. They provide options for filtering charts, categorizing dashboards, and so on. 

Following are examples of how each of their dashboards looks like. 

Heap:

Dashboard of Heap

Mixpanel: 

Dashboard of Mixpanel

But even though both tools make these arguments, the most common issues related to them are their slow customer support, the requirement for basic technical knowledge for usage, their limited documentation, etc. 

According to reviews on platforms like G2, TrustRadius, and Capterra, when it comes to dashboarding and reporting, the users have found 

  • The dashboard’s functionality to be limiting as they can’t add certain types of reports,
  • The intuitive UI is found to be confusing and not so easy to use.
  • Creation of dashboards to be time-consuming. 
  • There is a lack of more explicit filters in the dashboard

The above-mentioned are a few of the many suggestions and cons in their users’ reviews. 

While both Heap and Mixpanel are working to address their limitations, there are other options available in the market that may also meet the needs of users. Factors is one such example.

Dashboard of Factors

Factors provide visualization of every bit of information, data-driven insights, and emphasizes any fluctuations or changes from the ordinary, and all are available within a single dashboard. 

3. User Segmentation

Both Heap and Mixpanel offer user segmentation features that allow businesses to group users based on their characteristics and behavior. However, this feature's functionality and ease of use differs between the tools.

Based on Functionality

Heap's Segments feature allows businesses to create custom segments based on events, properties, and time. On top of that, it also allows businesses to track user behavior retroactively.

On the other hand, Mixpanel's segmentation feature allows businesses to segment data by user, session, and event; and create custom reports and dashboards. And based on the segments, the tool allows businesses to conduct A/B testing and in-app messaging as well.

Based on Ease of Use

Heap's Segments feature is comparatively simple, with a dedicated "Segments" option that makes creating and managing segments easy. 

Whereas in Mixpanel, its user segmentation feature is also easy to use though it may take some time to learn how to navigate through the different options to undertake cohort analysis and custom segmentation.

The crucial aspect to keep in mind is that the ability to segment users relies on the data that the analytics tool has about them. Unfortunately, Heap and Mixpanel lack robust integrations with CRM systems to bring in CRM data for segmentation. 

Though both platforms have integration with HubSpot (or, equivalently, Salesforce) for the purpose, Heap only pulls in two data sets from Hubspot, Email Interactions and Contact Properties. And, Mixpanel's integration with Hubspot is even more limiting and only syncs user properties with none of the CRM event objects. 

But both platforms do not provide options for other valuable data sets such as Company Properties, Deal Properties, and Deal Progression, as well as Events recorded in CRM such as Form Submissions, List Additions, Sales Calls, and Meetings, which are critical for B2B companies. 

However, Factors excels in this regard as it supports CRM integration with HubSpot and Salesforce and can help B2B businesses in tracking contact, account, and opportunity properties as well as all events, campaigns, and activities recorded in the CRM.

4. Insights

This is a unique feature Mixpanel has over Heap. The main focus of this feature is to visualize trends and compositions in the acquired data. It allows users to analyze events and user profiles, compare current data with previous data, create custom events, and more. 

Using the insight feature, a business can track and analyze the performance of different UTM sources and identify which source generates more conversions or any desired results. This would further help businesses optimize their marketing strategy and drive more conversions.

In insights, the metrics calculated across the entire time period will be visualized in simple bar graphs, stacked bar graphs, or pie charts. Following is an example of the pie chart. 

Pie chart visualization of data in the Insight feature of Mixpanel.

And for the metrics calculated for segmented time, the feature uses a line chart or stacked line chart for visualization. The following is a stacked line graph for reference. 

Stacked line chart visualization of insight report in Mixpanel

On the other hand, Heap has the Illuminate feature. It utilizes a data science layer to analyze a dataset and automatically identifies insights that lead to significant business results, even for events that weren't tracked previously. Also, the tool can uncover insights that would be missed by other tools, leading to better business results. 

Though this feature is limited compared to Mixpanel's Insights, it helps businesses to find hidden opportunities and frictions and understand whether the user behavior is hurting or helping with conversions. 

How the illuminate feature of Heap works

5. Integrations

Heap and Mixpanel offer integration capabilities with over 50 tools, allowing businesses to combine data from different sources.

The Heap Connect in Heap allows businesses to bring user data into data warehouses such as Snowflake and Redshift. 

Mixpanel allows integration with tools like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. 

Though they both provide integration with common sources like Zendesk, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Segment, the tools also provide some unique integrations as well.

Some unique integrations with Heap are

  1. Shopify
  2. FullStory
  3. Clearbit
  4. RedShift
  5. Eloqua

Some unique integrations with Mixpanel are

  1. Slack
  2. Adapty
  3. Apptimize
  4. Elevar
  5. Microsoft Azure

6. User Timeline

A user timeline refers to the visual representation of a specific user’s actions and behavior over time within and outside a website. It shows each user’s visits to a website, downloads, engagement with emails, and other activities in touchpoints. It is essential to gain insights into the user’s interests, preferences, and behavior, which further helps marketers customize their campaigns.  

The Group Analytics feature is the closest thing Mixpanel has to a user timeline. Though it doesn’t necessarily provide a timeline, the feature enables marketers to track each target account’s engagement within the website. It also allows marketers to identify upsell opportunities and churn risks. 

An overview of Mixpanel’s Group analytical feature

Heap, however, has a User & Session View feature that enables marketers to see granular, user-level data on how each user interacts with the website/app. It also presents a list of users in reverse chronological order based on their most recent activities. 

The timeline of this activity can be adjusted from the last 7 days to the date the user first interacted with the website/app. 

An overview of Heap’s User and Sessions feature

Both Heap’s and Mixpanel’s features do not account for offline touchpoints of the users/accounts or provide an extensive view of the user timeline.

So if you are looking for a tool that can empower businesses with a detailed account of each user’s timeline and engagement with the website, then Factors would be a good choice. 

With Factors.ai, a business can get an account-level timeline as well as user-level timelines through deanonymization. Also, the tool brings in all key touchpoints, including meetings, calls, web data, app data, etc., whereas the others [Heap and Mixpanel] focus only on the web and app data.

Following is a view of the account-level timeline in Factors.

 bird view of the account-level timeline

Following is a view of the user-level timeline in Factors.

A comprehensive view into user-level timeline

Heap vs Mixpanel: Pricing 

The pricing plans of these tools differ based on the features that come with each plan. 

Given below is the pricing plan of Heap. And from it, you can see that there is a lack of transparency in the plans, and you have to contact them to get an idea of the overall expenditure. 

On top of the free plan, they also allow a “7-day free trial”.

pricing plan of Heap

Mixpanel provides a free option with limited features and a pricing of $25 per month for the basic plan. But like Heap, Mixpanel also requires prospects to contact the team to upgrade the plan and get estimated pricing for their enterprise plan. 

pricing plan of Mixpanel

Recap

Heap and Mixpanel are both great analytics platforms with their own pros and cons. To give you an overview of both tools’ strengths and weaknesses, please take a look at the following tables.

Heap: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Automatic retroactive tracking
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Rapid implementation [codeless]
  • Provide necessary integrations
  • Can create custom segments based on different metrics

Cons

  • Does not provide deeper insights into trends compared to Mixpanel’s Insight feature.
  • Though the dashboard is customizable, it is more product analytics oriented. 

Mixpanel: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Can track both event-level, and user-level data
  • The insights feature helps visualize trends and compositions in data
  • Provide necessary integrations 
  • Allows customization of dashboards
  • Can compute retroactive tracking

Cons

  • Requires dedicated developers to implement.
  • Even though they allow codeless implementation with Freshpaint, the implementation can consume more time. 
  • Has intuitive dashboards but is complex from a marketing point of view.
  • Doesn’t have automatic retroactive tracking.
  • Since it requires codes, continuous tag maintenance is required.

Limitations of Heap and Mixpanel

Both these tools provide options for both product and marketing analytics. But at the present day, these tools are best used and known for product analytics. And so, the features they both provide tends to focus more on the product. It means a marketing professional trying to use these tools will need help getting around the tool. 

Also, non-website event tracking is absent in both tools, which limits the data acquired surrounding a business’s users. Considering that every insight made by these tools is based on these data, it’s safe to say that they are not the perfect fit for marketing analytics. 

Still on the Fence? Complete Your Analytics Stack with Factors

In conclusion, Heap and Mixpanel are both popular analytics tools that provide businesses with powerful features for tracking and measuring user interactions and behavior. They both offer a wide range of features, helping businesses with event tracking, event reports, identifying UTM sources, and more. 

Heap and Mixpanel are known for focusing on products rather than marketing analytics. So, it's worth considering other options that may better align with your business needs and goals, particularly when it comes to marketing analytics.

Factors is a marketing analytics tool built for B2B and SaaS marketers with a focus on account-based analytics and robust  CRM integrations. The tool is purpose-built for marketers and has an advanced multi-touch attribution feature at an account level covering website and offline touchpoints. 

Its UI is simple and easy to use, and it takes about 15-20 minutes to set it up. You can sign up for FREE and learn how Factors can transform your marketing operations.

FAQs 

1. What data does Heap collect?

Heap collects user interactions and user behavior data on a website or mobile app. It includes data on events such as button clicks, form submissions, page views, and user properties such as device type and location.

2. Where does Heap io store data?

The collected data is stored on secure cloud-based servers. Heap also uses Heap connect to connect with data warehouses like Redshift and snowflake for the purpose too. 

3. What is the use of Mixpanel?

The primary use of Mixpanel is to track and measure user interactions and user behaviors on a website or mobile app. It allows businesses to understand how customers engage with their products/services and generate actionable insights to improve their UX. 

4. Does Mixpanel require coding?

Yes, it does require coding, which is, in fact, a downside of using Mixpanel. You will need tech support to create/write codes that can help track events. However, recently, Mixpanel has partnered with Freshpaint to make the codeless implementation available for their users. 

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