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Why are my MTUs higher than expected? 

  • 28 September 2020
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  • Mixpanel Support Engineering
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Did you recently get an email alerting you that you’re approaching your MTU limit faster than expected?

 

Monthly Tracked User (MTU) is a way to calculate your billing based on the number of users that perform a qualifying event each month, rather than individual user profiles or events. MTUs are summed up across all projects under an organization. In general, one MTU is equivalent to one distinct_id that performs at least one qualifying event per project. This includes profiled (users with profile properties) and anonymous users (users without profile properties). 

 

To check your MTU usage across all of your projects, navigate to Organization Settings > Data Usage Details. 

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A few things to remember:

  • This data is updated once per day so the numbers you see may not be in real-time. 

  • Only Organization Owners / Admins have the proper permissions to view Organization Settings! 

  • You may not be a member of all the projects in your Organization. 

 

Now, let’s move into a few scenarios that could have recently increased your MTU count.

 

Event Tracking: 

  • Did you recently start tracking new events? 

    • You may find that your MTUs increase when you start tracking new events as your users may be performing events that you didn’t previously track.  

  • Did you recently push out a large product update or a marketing campaign?

    • Typically, MTU counts increase when you have an increase in users in your app. Occasionally, large updates to your product or a marketing campaign can lead to an increase in tracked users as those users may not have been active prior.

  • Did you run into an implementation error that led to a large spike in activity at some point during the billing period?

    • Maybe you didn’t mean to track a certain event, ran into some bot activity or you imported some events incorrectly. If you’ve identified the cause of your MTU increase to be related to an implementation error, we recommend reaching out to our Support team for further assistance. 

    • Some other common implementation issues to check: 

      • Are you calling reset()? -  Calling reset() effectively wipes the current distinct_id of the user and makes it appear as though there’s a completely new user. We recommend only calling reset() on shared devices. 

      • Are you following our recommendations for ID management? Here are some resources related to ID management:

  • Did you import any events for timestamped for the current billing period? 

    • If you’ve imported events for users who haven’t performed any qualifying events for the current billing period, those imported events will be considered qualifying events and those users will be counted towards your MTU usage. 

  • Are you using Segment’s web integration to send data over to Mixpanel? If so, are you tracking the “Loaded a Page” event?

    • This event has oftentimes been the source of high MTUs as anonymous users are able to trigger that event by visiting your site. 

 

Report Building:

  • Are you looking at MTUs from only one of your projects?

    • Your total MTUs are calculated across all projects within your Organization. You wouldn’t really be able to get the big picture if you only look at MTUs from one project. You can deep dive into a specific project if you’ve identified that project as the one with the most MTUs (say you have a development project and a production project) but this is just important to keep in mind. (Like mentioned above, you might not be a member of all the projects within your organization!)

  • Are you comparing the number of Explore User Profiles to what your MTU count says? 

    • MTUs look at both profiled users (users with profile properties) and anonymous users (users without profile properties). When you open up a new Explore report, the default filtering is to look solely at User Profiles. If you were to toggle “User Profiles” to “All Users”, you might find that those numbers look different if you allow anonymous user events to be tracked.

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      • Are you looking at an Explore report based on the profile property $last_seen in X time? 

        • $last_seen (Display name: Updated at) is a reserved user profile property that records the date of the most recent update to a given user profile. As your users can perform events without having their profile properties updated, we would not recommend this as a good approach to examine your MTU usage. 

  • Are you looking at MAUs in an Insights Report to examine your MTUs?

    • Mixpanel doesn’t use MAU in order to calculate the number of MTUs you have a month. Instead, we recommend that you build an Insights report like the following example, using Event A to examine your MTU usage and Event B to analyze how specific events impact your MTU count. Of course, you should set the date range of the report to be the billing period in question. Alternatively, instead of examining an Event B, you can apply a breakdown for “Event Name” to examine which event(s) impact your MTUs the most. zYdQrxFEIXxTAecTKisJpHwADIAKmf7et9dNm2F_xnk4TFdOcE5fGXCSgLzuHyi_dW-V1-q6v6WgthZQLSoEiVNafaog1rJJNQ46m7UUGtlkZw8AC-cMvJ1uENKdBVg5Aw83whY

  • Are your users averaging over 1000 events each? 

    • In most cases, the tally of MTUs is equal to the number of distinct_ids who have performed a tracked event this month. The only exception to this rule is that if your users are averaging more than 1000 events each, MTUs are equal to:

      • Total number of events / 1000

    • You can build an Insights Report looking at the Average number of events per user like so:

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Other Scenarios:

  • There are some situations where a user will appear as multiple users if they do not authenticate again and get identified / mapped back as one user:

    • If your users clear their cookies / local storage

    • If your users visits your site on a different browser - each browser will have their own distinct_id for the user

    • If your user visits your site incognito / in a private browser 

  • Are you comparing MTUs to another analytics tool?

    • Mixpanel and other analytic tools may be tracking users in different ways - it’s particularly difficult in these types of settings as we are unable to compare apples to apples. For example, Google Analytics tracks users as sessions and Mixpanel uses distinct_id. 

 


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