User Profiles and Identity Management

User Profiles and Identity Management

In addition to events, you may need to create user profiles or update some user profile properties.  User profile creation and updates mainly use one specific group of methods:

    1. People methods  (set, append, set_once, etc.) - sends user profile property information to Mixpanel.  Client-side SDKs require an identify call to flush people operations to Mixpanel.  Each client-side people call will also set or update default user profile properties automatically.

As a best practice, Mixpanel recommends only creating a profile once the user is known.  Creating profiles for anonymous users can lead to some issues if you are merging multiple distinct_ids together.  If you will be using a server-side SDK to update profiles, check out this article to make sure geolocation data is handled correctly.

Authenticated users and the identify function all relate back to the topic of identity management so it is a good time to consider this as well.  Refer back to the Identity Management Cheat Sheet for advice on implementing in the most common scenarios.

As you add code for creating profiles and managing identities, you can check to see if things are working in two different places.  The Explore report will show any profiles that have been created. Explore is located in the Users tab in Mixpanel.  Profiles will contain a list of all distinct_ids whose events map to that profile.  

If a profile is not available or you want more insight into how the identity management methods are working, $identify, $create_alias, and $merge events can be seen in Live View to see what is being merged along with whether or not it was successful.

Pro-tip: Navigate to Profiles from Live View

Clicking the value in the Distinct ID column in Live View will take you to the profile associated with that distinct_id.  Even if you have not explicitly created a user profile for that user you can still see the event activity and cluster of identities mapped to that distinct_id from this view.

It is important to note that although distinct_ids appear to be merged in the Explore report immediately, it will take Mixpanel 60 minutes to fully merge identifiers in other reports.  Unique numbers in reports like Funnels and Insights will not reflect the merged state until 60 minutes after the successful merging event was ingested.

ACTION ITEM: Add tracking related to user profiles and identity management.  Check the Explore report to make sure profiles and properties are being created correctly.