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Guest Post: Why I chose Mixpanel over KISSmetrics

This is a guest post by Celso Pinto who is the Founder & CEO of SimpleTax, which aims to make tax simpler and easier to understand. With nearly 15 years of professional experience, he consulted for the Public Administration on critical projects and was also a cofounder in a previous technology startup. Holds an EMBA in Project Management.

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I started a company called SimpleTax. Our mission is to create the smart, free way for taxpayers to get their taxes done properly.

Given the nature of our business, we strive to be extremely data-driven, and the most important metric we focus on is long-term retention – we are a seasonable business and we want to make sure our users come back. We also care a great deal about users moving through the tax filing process, which we track with funnels.

We initially started with Google Analytics, but were quickly frustrated by the difficulty of tracking events rather than pageviews, the inability to generate retention reports, and the lack of event-based funnels. After that, we tried out KISSmetrics, which initially seemed to fit our needs, and we committed to a couple of year-long contracts.

However, we found that KISSmetrics was at times unreliable, and the reporting was far from real-time. At the peak of the tax season we need to run a large amount of tests and sometimes being forced to wait to get the reports feels like a straight-jacket. Additionally, quite often KISSmetrics failed to find our users in its database, it gave us event timelines that were incorrect or even empty. There is generally a huge lag between information going into KISSMetrics and the software being able to report on it. As we need to rely on the analytics to be the canonical source of event information, it’s really hard to overlook these flaws. We found ourselves on the hunt for a new analytics tool fairly quickly.

We decided on Mixpanel because we found that the reporting was instant, and the information to be more accurate. Frankly, the differences in reporting time and data accuracy between the two products was staggering. Here’s a real life example from a few weeks ago: a user submitted a ticket to our help desk, and we were able to look at the user’s journey immediately in Mixpanel to see where we failed, giving back precise instructions on how to work around the issue that turned out to be on the tax authority’s gateway. As you can imagine, this makes a huge difference on our users’ perception of our customer service. The testimonial left to us says it all: “I think I love you, I spent ages on the internet and HRMC site trying to find a fix. Thanks very much!”

Overall we’re very happy with Mixpanel’s funnels, the new custom events, its retention reports, and especially its user activity feeds. I’d certainly recommend other data-driven founders to try out Mixpanel.

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