Learn / Guides / Mixpanel glossary

Back to guides

Mastering Mixpanel Funnels: from the basics to advanced conversion techniques

Whether you’re trying to measure how effectively you’re acquiring users or make sense of in-product user journeys, funnels are a great starting point. 

Mixpanel Funnels lets you track how people move through your website or digital product, measuring their progress at each step to help you make informed decisions that improve your users’ experience while increasing your conversion rates.

Last updated

9 May 2023

Reading time

7 min


The best way to build better products faster is to track metrics and understand your users' behavior across each stage of their journey. Mixpanel Funnels empowers you to do just that—and so much more.

This article shows you how to use Mixpanel to analyze user flows and make data-informed decisions that drive results. Dive right in or skip to the parts you need:

Use Hotjar to see what’s happening behind drop-offs

Understand why users drop off by combining Mixpanel Funnels with Hotjar and figure out how to address these issues fast.

What is Mixpanel Funnels?

Mixpanel Funnels is a key report that lets you examine how users convert or drop off through a series of steps they complete as they engage with your product, app, or website.

Let’s say you have a habit-tracking web app that allows users to log their activities, and you want to find out how many people are accessing the app, creating accounts, and subscribing. 

Mixpanel Funnels uses an event-based data model to analyze the actions users take—from accessing the website to setting up an account—that propel them to reach the final goal of your product—purchasing a subscription. This tells you how many users convert across each step of your funnel so you can discover the key drivers of conversion and optimize funnel performance.

#Mixpanel Funnels calculates and displays the number of users who complete a series of events within a particular date range
Mixpanel Funnels calculates and displays the number of users who complete a series of events within a particular date range

The benefits of using Mixpanel Funnels

Mixpanel Funnels is an amazing tool to gain customer insights and boost conversion rates. Here are a few reasons to add it to your tech stack:

Mixpanel Funnels helps me in my day-to-day, sizing the audience for experiments, evaluating those experiments, understanding the impact of product changes, and getting a better understanding of who our (ideal) customers are.

Mark Jack
Senior Product Marketer, Hotjar

5 types of Mixpanel Funnels controls

Depending on your product’s intricacy or the question you’re trying to answer, a funnel can be incredibly simple or highly complex. 

Maybe you’re looking for more granular information on your habit-tracking web app users, like what activities are being logged. This type of data helps you build a more valuable digital product and tells you who fits into your target market. 

To unlock the full potential of your funnel analysis, you need to ensure you’re answering the right questions about your users and their experience. Use these five Mixpanel Funnels controls to fine-tune your data and customize your funnel:

  1. Counting method: count users who entered your funnel as Totals or Uniques. Uniques considers all actions by the same user as one, while Totals counts each action separately. This is useful for calculating repeat conversion, like in a sales funnel.

  2. Conversion window: the amount of time a user has after entering the funnel to be counted as a conversion. Depending on your conversion funnel, this can be altered from seconds to months.

  3. Conversion ordering: reorder the sequence of user actions that define a conversion. ‘Specific order’ allows users to complete each funnel step in the exact order you define, while ‘Any order’ shows the conversion rate for all users in your funnel—regardless of the sequence of steps they take.

  4. Exclusion steps: disregard actions that aren’t relevant to your funnels. Users who take these actions are excluded from your funnel.

  5. Constant properties: holding a property constant in a funnel ensures that conversions are only counted for users who maintain a given property or attribute (like a page URL or a device ID) throughout each step of the funnel

#Mixpanel Funnels controls empower you to correctly define a funnel and get accurate insights from your analysis
Mixpanel Funnels controls empower you to correctly define a funnel and get accurate insights from your analysis

4 types of charts in Mixpanel Funnels

Mixpanel gives you several choices to explore your user data, with multiple visualizations and chart options to help you view the results of your query and get additional insights:

  1. Funnel Steps: displays the percentage of users who advanced to each subsequent step of the funnel

  2. Funnel Trend: visualize changes in your conversion rate, time to conversion, and users entering and exiting your website or product over time

  3. Time to Convert: view a distribution of the time it takes users to convert through the funnel

  4. Frequency: indicates the number of times users complete any step before converting or dropping off

#The Funnel Steps chart automatically displays the UTM medium with the highest overall conversion rate
The Funnel Steps chart automatically displays the UTM medium with the highest overall conversion rate

3 ways to use Mixpanel Funnels to improve conversions

Analyzing Mixpanel Funnels gives you insights and hypotheses about how many and which users complete—or don’t complete—specific actions. However, boosting your conversion rates requires you to act on these insights.

Here are some practical examples of how you can use Mixpanel Funnels to improve your digital product, app, or website and increase conversions:

1. Map a realistic customer journey—and improve it

Each customer has a different way of interacting with your product or site. You might be expecting users to go through a series of steps but the reality might look a bit different. 

A customer journey map helps you understand how people interact with and experience your website, products, or business across multiple touchpoints—like interacting with your homepage, using a new feature, or clicking on a call-to-action (CTA) button. Equipped with the knowledge of your users’ behavior, you eliminate confusing steps—or guide them to the next step more easily.

As you use Mixpanel Funnels to analyze common paths people take, focus your time on optimizing the parts of your user experience that matter most.

For example, you can use onboarding funnels and in-product behavior analysis to understand where people drop off before converting from free trial users to paid customers, or product-qualified leads (PQLs). These insights help you quickly remove friction from your digital experience and increase conversions.

💡 Pro tip: use Hotjar to observe user behavior and collect their feedback on strategic pages to find out what they really need and where they’re struggling.

Metrics only give you half of the story, telling you what’s happening on your website—you need complementary behavior analytics software (like Hotjar👋) to successfully connect the what to the why.

Use the Hotjar-Mixpanel integration to access qualitative and quantitative insights that offer a different perspective on your user’s experience. For example, an exit pop-up survey helps you discover why people are leaving those pages with high drop-off rates and what you can do about it.

If you’re stuck for ideas of what to ask, take a look at our list of the best website survey questions.

Hotjar Surveys helps you gather useful insights about your users, beyond the high-level usage data you have in Mixpanel

2. Identify and create cohorts to see where drop-offs happen

Cohorts are another Mixpanel feature that lets you organize your users into groups based on their behavior or attributes, such as new, active, or power users. 

You can then take a closer look at those users—like the ones who drop off at a specific point in your habit-tracking web app’s onboarding funnel—and dig deeper into the user experience by using them throughout your other Mixpanel reports.

Let’s say the data suggests there’s an issue between steps 1 and 2 of your funnel that doesn’t apply equally to all users. In this case, breaking down your data by cohorts provides more details as to why certain users didn’t complete a step.

Try segmenting by different user or event properties you had previously set up right below your funnel, and look for any discrepancies in your website conversion rate. By taking a closer look at a particular group of users who drop off, you understand the flaws in your customer journey that need to be prioritized and addressed.

💡 Pro tip: use Hotjar to understand what’s happening behind drop-offs in a funnel report.

Get more detailed insights throughout the user journey by analyzing session recordings of users who complete a specific action or event—like customers who left your pages in frustration after rage-clicking, or visitors who followed a specific path around your website. 

Senior Product Marketer Mark Jack leveraged this strategy during the launch of Hotjar in Spanish. Using Mixpanel, he saw positive results and feedback from users throughout the new funnel. However, when comparing the funnel to the flow for English users, Mark identified a drop in users installing the Hotjar tracking code and wanted to understand why:

“We went into Hotjar to watch session recordings of users who started the installation flow in Spanish and didn’t finish. We were able to see the experience from our user’s perspective, and spotted a bug in our translations during the installation flow—something that we couldn’t see from the high-level charts in Mixpanel."

Session recordings help you segment your audience by session attributes, technology, and behavior

3. Run A/B tests to optimize conversion funnels

Make your funnel data actionable by running experiments in Mixpanel to validate which changes to your funnel have the biggest impact on conversions.

The entire idea behind using Mixpanel Funnels is to figure out where and why you’re losing customers—then optimize those areas to increase your conversion rate. Mixpanel’s built-in experimentation feature helps you do just that by letting you run A/B tests directly from the platform.

Conducting A/B testing or split-testing—a method of comparing variations of web pages, app interfaces, ads, or emails—on your entire user base is great. But Mixpanel Funnels data lets you deploy segmented tests—like only addressing users that complete certain steps in your funnel—to hone your product faster.

These tests provide more actionable data, allowing teams to make informed decisions triggered by user behavior, and measure that impact on key product metrics—insights you can use to optimize sales funnels and acquisition strategies. There’s a reason why companies that use A/B testing insights are 5.5 times more likely to report 20% growth rates than others that are not. 

❗Note: this functionality is limited to mobile apps, so you'd need another A/B testing tool to run tests across websites or web apps.

💡 Pro tip: A/B tests tell you which version of your product converts better, but they don't provide insight into why users behave the way they do. 

Hotjar is designed to give you actionable user data so you can spot common areas of friction in the user experience on your website or web app (Mixpanel can only A/B test mobile apps), get ideas for improvements, and find out if your fixes are working (and why or why not). Here’s how:

  • Use Heatmaps to identify elements that convert or frustrate users: see where visitors click, scroll, and move their mouse on individual pages; analyze how users are interacting with a new feature; and prioritize bug fixes that improve UX

  • Use Recordings to find out why people are dropping off: spot opportunities to reduce bounce rates and keep people engaged by watching session replays from users who left without converting. Look for patterns of user behavior—did they navigate erratically? Did they miss an important link? Did they encounter a bug? Answer these questions and you’ll know what needs improving.

Understand what users really do on your site with Hotjar Heatmaps

Next steps to using Mixpanel

Setting up Mixpanel and building and analyzing funnels are just the first steps to understanding the value you deliver to your users.

Combining these insights with qualitative data from a digital experience platform like Hotjar helps you go beyond the surface-level data you get from Mixpanel Funnels—giving you a deeper understanding of key user flows and behaviors in your digital product, website, or web app, so you know exactly what’s driving your numbers.

Take a look at these chapters for more opportunities to guide your users through your product's value and deepen engagement: 

Use Hotjar to see what’s happening behind drop-offs

Understand why users drop off by combining Mixpanel Funnels with Hotjar and figure out how to address these issues fast.

FAQs about Mixpanel Funnels