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Interview: Tim Trefren, Co-founder and VP of Customer Success, Mixpanel

Tim TrefrenI recently caught up with Tim Trefren, Co-founder and VP of Customer Success at Mixpanel to discuss the company’s new Autotrack feature that automatically collects every action on a customer’s website and allows customers to easily access that data.

Daniel D. Gutierrez – Managing Editor, insideBIGDATA

insideBIGDATA: What are the biggest challenges customers face when planning and implementing their analytics strategy?

Tim Trefren: We have worked with thousands of customers and the most challenging part of integrating analytics is the implementation process. Historically, users had to plan their analytics strategy from the onset and if they did not track the “right” data, they had to start from scratch. Additionally, if you wanted to add a new event to track, you needed to wait for developer resources. For product managers and marketers working for large enterprises, technical updates can be slow and technical resources are scarce. This has created friction and fear when implementing analytics.

We created Mixpanel to empower any user to find meaningful insights from their data, and now it is easier than ever. Our new feature, Autotrack, automatically collects every action on a customer’s website and allows any user (technical or not) choose which actions they would like to track. With a simple Point & Click Editor and full access to historical data, Autotrack enables customers to implement a powerful analytics solution and focus on making data-driven decisions.

insideBIGDATA: How does Autotrack simplify analytics implementation for customers?

Tim Trefren: Mixpanel’s existence has made it dramatically easier for companies to integrate data tracking. What used to take months with some of other competitors, now only takes a few days. And the only reason it takes that long is because we invest time to help our customers develop their data strategy.

Autotrack takes this a step forward, it alleviates friction and allows your data strategy to be flexible. You ship code once and from there it is all configurable. This means you can update your data tracking and have it immediately go live. It still requires some work, but is easier than ever.

insideBIGDATA: How does this product differ from what is on the market today?

Tim Trefren: Our biggest competitors, Google and Adobe Analytics, do not have anything on the market like this. We believe Autotrack is the simplest and easiest to use solution for people looking to integrate analytics into their website or web app. Autotrack also benefits from the full power of Mixpanel, allowing users to get extremely deep insights. While there are other analytics solutions on the market that offer individual features, Mixpanel, with the addition of Autotrack, is the most robust analytics platform available today.

insideBIGDATA: Do you have any customer feedback on Autotrack to date?

Tim Trefren: We received a lot of positive feedback from our beta program, which included dozens of customers tracking millions of data points. Owler, a crowdsourced competitive intelligence platform, found Autotrack to be a complete game changer for their team.  While developing a new product, the Owler team was able to iterate quickly and change the events they wanted to track and test. Autotrack is hugely beneficial in the product development process.

insideBIGDATA: How much will Autotrack cost?

Tim Trefren: As with all Mixpanel solutions, customers are only charged with the data they use, and not all the data Mixpanel is collecting on their behalf.

insideBIGDATA: Some people are still building internal data analytics team, why should someone use Mixpanel’s platform instead of building their own?

Tim Trefren: There is a smaller group of companies where it makes sense to have an internal team. If data is your true competitive advantage, then it is crucial. For example, Amazon and Netflix are companies that may need an internal team to make real time predictions and recommendations. That’s not our goal.

At Mixpanel, we want to help everyone in your company access and question your data. Internal analytics teams are not accessible or open. Analytics teams answer specific questions and cross functionally there is very little overlap in terms of the questions users want answered. There is a time and a place for the analytics teams at certain companies, but the vast number should be using Mixpanel.

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