MarineTraffic, a global ship tracking intelligence company, switched to Mixpanel for increased flexibility and data accuracy.

Company

Founded in 2007, MarineTraffic monitors the movements of the world’s global fleet. It collects real-time global shipping data, from a network of coastal AIS-receiving stations, supplemented by satellite receivers. It then applies algorithms and integrates complementary data sources to provide the shipping and logistics industries with actionable insights.

The MarineTraffic mission is to bring transparency and meaningful change to the maritime world, which is underlined by partnerships with international organisations and multinational companies on projects dedicated to improving efficiency and reducing environmental impact. Its mobile apps, available on iOS and Android, have over 48,000 raving reviews, putting its app ratings on both platforms at nearly five stars.

Goals

When MarineTraffic wanted to start learning more about how their users navigate their products in early 2016, they started with Pendo, a codeless analytics solution, like many other companies who want to begin to learn more about its users and their behavior. It’s an approach to product analytics that’s fast to implement, does not require significant developer resources, and can provide some quick product insight that can be extremely valuable under limited conditions. 

However, in increasingly complex products, codeless analytics solutions often struggle to deliver the value it once promises of deep product analytics without any development resources. This was no different for the team at MarineTraffic, who have two main lines of product: functionality on a website that’s sold by subscription, and APIs its customers can purchase to integrate MarineTraffic’s data into their own platform.

“We were initially sold on the codeless implementation because it captured all events without us having to define them first, but this also turned out to be its greatest disadvantage,” said George. “We have a unique product, and the auto-tracked generic events made creating some reports very hard, and in many cases impossible.” 

Auto-tracked events are often generic and not customized to the specific needs and use cases of the unique product, leading to inaccurate or missing data, especially as the product continues to grow. As the product continued to evolve and the goals of the organization shifted to become more product-centric, George and his team realized they needed a more custom solution to fit their unique needs. 

“We decided to allocate resources because this was an area we wanted to invest in, so it made sense to find a solution like Mixpanel that’s more flexible and customizable to us,” explained George.

Solution

The decision to invest in a product analytics tool with more customization and flexibility was a relatively easy one for George and the rest of the MarineTraffic team. The next big decision was which solution to go with. 

In the evaluation mix were Mixpanel and Amplitude, two of the leading “best-of-breed” analytics solutions available on the market. After a a few weeks of close evaluation, the MarineTraffic team decided to move forward with Mixpanel for two key reasons: 

  1. Native messaging: allowing the team to react to changes in user segments quickly and engage with their customers based on user activity.
     
  2. Pricing: Mixpanel’s pricing model based on monthly tracked users rather than event-based tracking turned out to be a more scalable and affordable solution.

Overall, Mixpanel gave MarineTraffic greater flexibility, more complete and accurate data, a better user interface, and faster reports—solutions others tools on the market struggled to provide. 

Results

With Mixpanel, MarineTraffic now has a foundation that will scale to its ambitions, while gathering data that is trusted, secure, and at a lower cost than alternatives, including codeless solutions. 

As MarineTraffic internally matures, Mixpanel is up to the job.

George Charikiopoulos, Head of Business Technology, MarineTraffic