How do I create a tracking plan?

What is a tracking plan?

When getting up and running with Mixpanel, we recommend creating a tracking plan (also sometimes called an implementation spec) that presents the business goals and questions you're trying to address. The tracking plan should also clearly outline the Events, Properties and People Properties you need to track to collect the right data about your users, product and business. Ultimately, your tracking plan is a map for your developer(s) to implement Mixpanel and a reference for you to ensure you're tracking events and properties that allow you to reach your goals.

What to include in your tracking plan

Start building your tracking plan by laying out:

  1. A business goal (i.e., something you're trying to accomplish to improve your business or product).
  2. A related question about user behavior.
  3. The user flow, or chain of behavior, you would need to look at to answer that question.
  4. The specific Events, Properties and People Properties that define that user flow and those user behaviors.

For example, let's say you work for a photo sharing app, like Instagram, and you're building a tracking plan to get started with Mixpanel. You've decided that the most important metric for your business is revenue, so you'll start by addressing a goal related to revenue:

  1. Goal: Drive more clicks to paid/sponsored posts and profiles.
  2. Question: Who is interacting with paid/sponsored posts the most?
  3. User flow: Log in -> Interact with post -> Interact with profile
  4. Specifics to track:
    • Event name: Log in
      • Property 1: Username | Example Value: (dexter)
      • Property 2: Age | Example Value: (29)
      • Property 3: Gender | Example Value: (female)
      • Property 4: Number of Logins | Example Value: (146)
    • Event name: Interact with post
      • Property 1: Sponsored | Example Values: (true, false)
      • Property 2: Action | Example Values: (view, comment, like)
      • Property 3: Photo filter | Example Values: (none, sutro, valencia)
    • Event name: Interact with profile
      • Property 1: Type | Example Values: (business, personal)
      • Property 2: Action | Example Values: (view profile, follow, unfollow)
      • Property 3: Number of followers | Example Value: (255)

Properties might seem overwhelming at first, but the good news is that Mixpanel’s libraries add many important properties by default, so you don’t have to worry about generic properties like device type, browser, operating system, city, etc.

For your implementation plan, you only need to include Events, Properties and People Properties that uniquely describe your application.

Sample tracking plans and templates

Here’s an example of what an implementation plan could look like:

Here’s a different approach:

And here’s yet another example:

As you can see, the implementation plan can take many forms depending on what makes the most sense for you, your team and your business.

Related topic: Do you have industry specific tracking plans I can use?