Mixpanel Trends Report: How will the next generation use computing?

The technology we grow up with has a powerful and lasting impact on the devices, software and products we choose to use. We adults--those born before the 90's--did not have connected devices available at all times as kids. Growing up my mom always made sure I had a quarter to use the payphone to call home, something that never crosses my mind with my kids.

Today kids are surrounded by and have regular access to connected devices starting at a very young age. As a mom, I am amazed to see my two year old pick up our family iPad, unlock it and quickly navigate to her favorite app. She can do this without even being able to say the word "iPad". She calls it the "dooby doo" after her favorite cartoon (what can I say the kid has good taste). Daily use of computers, tablets, mobile phones and other portable learning devices is the norm for this generation. They are growing up connected and have a different level of expectation about what they should expect from a digital service.

To understand this better, we took a closer look at mobile game apps as this is the one vertical with strong usage across all age ranges. We've taken a sample of anonymized data from three types of games running on iOS devices:

  • Games designed for kids under the age of 10

  • Games with a primary audience of adults (defined as age 20+)

  • Games that have strong usage across age groups to act as a control

Kids are not using phones. Instead tablets are the center of action with 77% of activity in game apps for kids taking place on these devices.

Comparatively, adults are all about their mobile phones (no surprise if you walk down any city street and look at the people around you). The game apps with a primarily adult audience have 65% of their activity taking place on mobile phones.

To put this in perspective the game apps that appeal to all ages have a much more even spread of activity across devices. The developers of these games need to make sure their apps perform well on all devices.

Now this probably has a lot to do with who is purchasing the devices, but this heavy use of iPads and iPod Touch will impact the baseline expectations of these kids on what their device interaction should be. Are kids today going to be happy with the smaller screens of mobile phones? Or are the "phablets" going to become an even bigger category as kids get older and start purchasing their own devices? Or will kids become true multiple device users, staying loyal to their tablets even after they have their own phones?

Fred Wilson set the bar for retention when he said that most app developers will only see 30% of their installed base come back and use their app at least once a month. But an average of app retention disguises many of the variables and does not give app devs a more precise benchmark for what they should expect. Recently at Mixpanel's DDC2013 event, Omar Hamoui, a partner at Sequoia Capital and founder of AdMob and ChurnLabs, shared how he set their retention goal at 40% when they launched their first app, only to miss the mark within the first week. So does Fred Wilson's 30% benchmark hold steady across age groups?

The short answer is no. Game apps for kids have a markedly lower rate of retention. On average they only retain 12% of their customers after one month. But on the bright side, the majority the customers they retain do stay active after month two.

Game apps for adults solidly beat the 30% benchmark. On average apps with a primary audience of adults retain 41% of their customers after one month. They also keep most of these one month customers for a second month before retention really starts to drop off.

Apps that have a wide spread demographic also have an equally wide spread rate of retention. On average these apps retain 28% of their customers after one month--much closer to Fred Wilson's 30% mark.

Surprisingly all age groups keep their mobile device software up to date. I had assumed, given the difference in devices used across age groups, that the OS software might not be kept up to date on devices used by kids. But people, regardless of age, keep their iOS version up to date.

The data in this report is based on an aggregated set of the more than 15+ billion actions analyzed by Mixpanel each month. In Mixpanel, an action is defined by our customers and can be anything from logging in to an app to making a purchase or finishing a level in a game. The data in this report is segmented by games designed for kids under the age of 10, games with a primary audience of adults (defined as age 20+) and games that have strong usage across age groups to act as a control.

The report analyzes actions during July and August 2013. During this period of time 50% of actions analyzed by Mixpanel took place on desktop devices and 50% took place on mobile and tablet devices, as shown by the Desktop vs Mobile re port on Mixpanel Trends.

Community Tip: All About Time

In this Community Tip we discuss all aspects of time in Mixpanel, including how to set your project timezone, send time properties, and handle timestamps when exporting or importing data. Using these directions, Mixpanel can help standardize how you handle time to ensure your data reflects accurate timestamps. In today’s connected world, a startup can be headquartered in Berlin, Germany, have a core user-base in Beijing, China, and be analyzing their data through an analytics company in San Francisco, California, USA. With all of these different locations in play, seamlessly handling time data being received from around the world can be intimidating. Luckily, with a few of the following best practices, you can ensure your Mixpanel data is time agnostic to the physical location of your users. Setting Your Mixpanel Timezone When you create a new Mixpanel project, your project timez...

Community Tip: Implement Mixpanel in Swift Apps

This Community Tip will describe how to implement the Mixpanel iOS SDK, written in Objective-C, within your Swift app. We will walk through integration using CocoaPods, library set-up, provide code samples, and ultimately save you development time. Requirements: CocoaPods This guide assumes you are using CocoaPods since that is the recommended way to integrate your app with the Mixpanel iOS library . For assistance integrating Mixpanel into Swift projects without CocoaPods, please follow the instructions to build the Mixpanel iOS library from source . Please note the below instructions for integration will only work for Swift apps targeting iOS 8.0 or higher — if you are targeting any versions below iOS 8.0 please jump to the final section of this guide. Integration with CocoaPods With any version of CocoaPods greater than 0.36, integration of Objective-C libraries within...

How HubSpot grows a product into something you can't live without

Did they even open my email? Did they check out my link? Marketers have had tools to answer these questions for a long time. Sidekick , a project from HubSpot, brings this kind of email tracking to one-on-one email communication. For HubSpot, it's a little outside their wheelhouse. Over the last nine years they’ve developed some of the largest and most popular software for marketers. Sidekick is part of a decision to broaden their scope and serve non-marketers. And it's built on the freemium model. "The whole idea from the beginning was to go for really big scale that millions of people could use for free," says Dan Wolchonok. "And then to have a seamless path for those who want to pay for power features." Dan is a senior product manager at HubSpot. It's his job to get those millions of users. Which is less about finding them and more about keeping them around. Being active ...

Mobile A/B Testing: Walkthrough & Best Practices

Using Mobile A/B testing, you can test changes to your app without writing code. You can measure the impact on any conversion, like signups or purchases. In this Community Tip, we'll provide a walkthrough and best practices for running A/B tests in your iOS or Android app. Setup To get started with Mobile A/B testing, all you need is the Mixpanel SDK installed and initialized in your app. If you haven’t done this step yet, you can jump over to our iOS Integration Docs or Android Integration Docs for instructions on installing Mixpanel. To work with complex A/B tests which go beyond modifying UI elements, such as changing view flows, modifying defined constants, and more, you will need to implement developer tweaks ( iOS / Android ) in your app. Tweaks allow you to adjust actual variables in your code from the comfort of your Mixpanel dashboard. Once you add a Tweak to your...

Geolocation Error on 7/9/2015

Incident Summary: No geolocation was being performed on events and people requests between 5:00PM PST 7/8/2015 to 1:30AM PST 7/9/2015. This affected all customers. Timeline: On 7/8/2015 at approximately 5:00 PM PST, a change was deployed to consumers that migrated our geolocation system from a Python module to a C replacement as part of our systems optimization plan. After this point, all geolocation requests made to the Maxmind DB began failing. Around 7/9/2015 1:00AM PST, Mixpanel began reverting the change and by 1:30AM, all consumers were reverted back to the Python Maxmind DB reader, which resolved the issue. Root Cause: The migration from a Python module to a C replacement proved not to be a direct drop-in replacement and generated errors (TypeError) when fed a value other than a string. We typically send IPs in the format we receive them, which can sometimes be a long...

A/B testing comes to Android

So you've got an idea. "We have all these awesome features most users just haven’t tried yet. I bet more people would use them if they couldn't skip the tutorial. " "I know more people would create an account if our button just said 'Get Started'." "Our game's too easy. People want a challenge. If it were a bit faster, it would keep users coming back." Great, but a good idea alone isn’t gonna cut it. Especially when opinions differ. What you really need is cold, hard data. You need to put that hypothesis to the test and see how it fares with real users in the real world. That's where A/B testing comes in. Previously, you've been able to use Mixpanel to experiment and improve your iOS app. And we've seen how useful it has been to our customers. Today, we're expanding Mixpanel A/B Testing to Android. All the capabilities that enable you to experiment and improve your iOS a...

Community Tip: Benefits & Best Practices for Cross-platform Apps

In this Community Tip, we highlight the benefits and best practices for accommodating all of your varied products, environments, and platforms under a single Mixpanel project. Using this guide, your team can decide how to best track your cross-platform app data within Mixpanel. If you're one of the many users working with cross-platform apps, you may have wondered whether it's best to combine everything into one Mixpanel project or split everything up and analyze it separately. We've found that creating separate Development and Production projects to avoid cluttering your Production data is a great best practice, but the question of what to do with cross-platform Production apps is a matter of preference. The good news: Mixpanel is flexible enough to handle cross-platform scenarios in any configuration you'd like to implement. The choice is yours, and each approach comes with its...

Introducing Codeless Mobile Analytics

Tracking how users are interacting with your app just got easier. Now you can get Mixpanel's advanced mobile analytics without writing a line of code. Let's face it, everyone's dealing with limited developer resources. If you've got to add a tracking request to the growing queue of dev needs, it'll probably take some time. With Codeless Mobile Analytics , you can focus your development time on what matters - making your app better. With a simple point and click setup, Codeless makes tracking events a breeze. Want to know if people are using a new feature? Skipping that tutorial? Changing a setting? After you've installed the Mixpanel SDK you can just fire up Codeless Mobile Analytics (it's that icon on the bottom of your sidebar). Select your platform - iOS or Android. Then connect to your app using either a phone or an emulator. That's it. From right there in your bro...

How Cozi got a 38% increase in signup completion

Tara Pugh, product owner of Cozi, stopped by our June Office Hours to explain the process for improving their UX through many small, data-driven steps. Cozi helps bring order to the chaos of modern family life with an app that gets the entire family on the same page with shared calendars, to-do lists, and shopping lists. Digging into their conversion funnel data with Mixpanel, they identified opportunities to improve user experience by streamlining the account creation flow. Testing hypothesis after hypothesis, Tara and the team at Cozi were able to incorporate bits of learning into the flow: lighter background, different calls to action, pre-populating name and email forms. No single change resulted in a huge increase in conversions, but all together, the improvements raised the signup completion rate from 55% to 76%—a 38% increase. Check out Tara's talk for all th...