Creating engagement metrics in Mixpanel

PUBLISHED 4 Jun 2024

Here's how to create three simple engagement metrics in Mixpanel: Average Length of Session, Average Page Views Per Session, and Average Sessions Per User.

Engagement metrics in Mixpanel

Unlike Google Analytics, product analytics tool Mixpanel doesn't come with many engagement metrics such as 'sessions per user' out of the box. However it's very simple to set some up.

In this post, I share the engagement metrics I use the most in Mixpanel. They are a good way to get a snapshot of engagement and provide some simple data points to stakeholders. For each one, start with a blank Insights report (Report > Insights) and just add the events and metrics I outline.

Engagement metrics shouldn't be taken in isolation. For example, a high average session length probably indicates high levels of engagement, but it could also indicate that users are struggling to complete an action or find particular information.

Note as well that any session-based engagement metrics will be influenced by your session timeout setting (under Settings > Project Settings). If this is high, separate visits close together may be seen as a single session - increasing session length and pageviews per session but decreasing sessions per user. If you're comparing two projects, make sure they have the same session timeout setting otherwise it won't be a fair comparison.

Average Length of Session

This engagement metric shows you the average length of a session in seconds.

  1. Go to Reports > Insights to create a blank Insights report
  2. Under Metrics, click on Select Event and select the default event Session Start
  3. Click on Unique Users and change this to Aggregate Property > Average > Session Duration (Seconds)

Average Length of Session in Mixpanel

Incidentally, this engagement metric also works with the default event Session End (you get the same result).

Average Page Views Per Session

This engagement metric shows you the average number of page views per session.

  1. Go to Reports > Insights to create a blank Insights report
  2. Under Metrics, click on Select Event and select your Page View event
  3. For theven you have just added, click on Unique Users and change it to Total Events
  4. Click on Metrics again and select the default Session Start event
  5. Again, click on Unique Users and change it to Total Events
  6. Click on Metrics again and this time add a Formula
  7. In the Formula box that appears, add the formula A/B (assuming A is your Page View event)
  8. Now you can hide Metrics A and B. Click on the 'three dots' icon alongside each one and select Hide Metric. They will now be greyed out in the panel on the left, and won't appear at all in the results on the right.

Average Page Views Per Session

Average Sessions Per User

This engagement metric shows you the average number of sessions per user in the chosen time period. It's a quick way of gauging whether users are returning to your site. To explore this further, you could create a Mixpanel retention report instead.

  1. Go to Reports > Insights to create a blank Insights report
  2. Under Metrics, click on Select Event and select the default Session Start event - this should default to 'Unique Users'
  3. Click on Metrics again and add another Session Start event - change this one to Total Events
  4. Click on Metrics again and this time add a Formula
  5. In the Formula box that appears, add the formula B/A (assuming A is Session Start - Unique Users)
  6. Now you can hide Metrics A and B. Click on the 'three dots' icon alongside each one and select Hide Metric

Average sessions per user in Mixpanel

Next steps

Once you've created an engagement metric, choose how to visualise the results. The 'Metric' option is the simplest, and ideal for comparing one project against another:

Metric visualisation in Mixpanel

Alternatively, the 'Line' visualisation lets you see change over time:

Line visualisation in Mixpanel

Choose a longer interval such as 'Week' or 'Month' if your line graph is too noisy to see any trend.

You could also break down your engagement metric by cohort. This would show you whether a particular group of users are more or less engaged. For example, here I can see that users in the 'staff' cohort are more engaged than non-staff, bringing up the average number of pageviews per session:

Breaking down an engagement metric by cohort in Mixpanel

How do you like to measure engagement using Mixpanel? Do you have any favourite engagement-related metrics?

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James Clark
Hi! I'm James Clark and I'm a freelance web analyst from the UK. I'm here to help with your analytics, ad operations, and SEO issues.
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