Community Tip: Use Property Types to Turbocharge Reports
This Community Tip includes three ways to leverage property data types to turbocharge your filtering, segmentation, and cohortizing power across Mixpanel reports.
Events are the atomic units of Mixpanel analytics. The true power of Mixpanel’s reporting, however, comes from properties. Any detail of an user’s action (like an adverb) or a fact of about a user (like an adjective) can be provided as a property. There are three high level kinds of properties: event properties, event super properties, and People properties. You can understand the differences between these three by reading the Community Tips dedicated to each. This Community Tip will focus on the best ways of using the different property data types.
Properties are incredibly powerful because they enable you to slice and dice, filter and segment, or roll-up and divide your data to get actionable insights. People properties are also essential to target People Notifications. Depending on what question you’re hoping to answer with your data, you’ll want to use the appropriate property type. Mixpanel supports five different options of data types: String, Numeric, Date, Boolean, and List. To get a basic overview of the functionality of each type, check out this article.
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Contains? Is less than? True? False? Operators are your friends!
Every data type has a different set of operators to choose from when filtering by properties. Depending on what question it is you’re hoping to answer, you may want to use a certain operator. If you have a string property, you can check to see if it “is set” which would check to see if the property exists for the event or People profile. If you’re looking for all users who have a specific value of a property (maybe “Account Type” contains “Premium”), then you would use the “contains” or “equals” operators (Side note: “contains” is usually a better operator to use than “equals” especially for properties with lots of values).
Typecast to get what you want!
You can change the data type if you want to take an existing property and use it for a different purpose. The act of changing types is commonly called “casting.” Rather than limiting yourself to the operators available for that data type, you can manipulate the type to make your filter more inclusive. For example, you may be an e-commerce site that has a number typed property, “Item Number”. If you want to see users who purchased a specific item, you may want to typecast the property to a string, select the “contains” operator, and then select the different values. It’s possible to select multiple values – you’re not limited to just one!
Here’s an example of typecasting a string typed property as a string, a number and then as a boolean – true and then false. You can see that in 2 and 4, the chart appears to be 0, because the Product ID isn’t recognizable as a number and as a false boolean. However, you can see that when the boolean is set as True in 3, the chart is identical to 1 where the string type is set. If you had the product ID as a number, you could typecast it as a string to view all instances that contain the character “5”.
Properties help you find the needle in the haystack!
Think about how the property data type impacts what you’re looking to do. Event properties will get you insights into user actions, whereas People properties let you target users for Notifications to engage them. Use the data type that’ll give you the greatest understanding of your users and their behavior.
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