Retention report FAQs

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Retention offers valuable insights into user engagement and product growth over time. This article provides guidance on selecting the appropriate filters for your retention report and interpreting the results. For more detailed information and instructions, see our article on Retention.

Why does retention matter?

Retention is a critical metric for understanding the health and growth of your product. It reflects the ability of your product to engage users over time, indicating whether users find value in your offering and whether they're likely to continue using it.

A high retention rate is often indicative of a strong product-market fit, leading to increased customer loyalty, advocacy, and revenue. On the other hand, a low retention rate can signal issues with user experience, product functionality, or messaging, highlighting areas that require improvement.

How are starting and return events counted?

Retention measures the percentage of users who are coming back to your app to use a capability again. Our retention report supports measuring this for an app (or group of apps) or a specific event (Page, Feature, or Track Event).

  • Any activity. If you choose this option, we look for users who visited your app and returned later.
  • Specific event. If you choose an event, we look for users who interacted with that specific capability and then came back and used it again.

What's the difference between new users and all users? Which do I choose?

New user retention only looks at first-time users within a specific timeframe (typically one month or one week). It calculates what percentage of those new users return in subsequent time periods.

You should use new user retention when you’re trying to:

  • Optimize the first-use period (for example, first 30 days, 7 days, trial period, and so on).
  • Have a trial experience.
  • Analyze a product that's early in its lifecycle.

All user retention tracks the percentage of every user returning over time, reflecting long-term satisfaction and loyalty.

You should use all user retention when you’re trying to:

  • Sustain growth for an established product.
  • Identify where you can optimize growth across different segments of users.

How do I interpret the report?

If you’re looking to understand what user engagement looks like with your product as time goes on, focus on the top summary row.

Retention_Cohort_Breakdown_Table_Power_Users.png

This provides a consolidated view of the individual cohort’s information. If you’re noticing that one of the cell values in the summary row is abnormal, move down that column to understand what's driving that abnormality. It might be seasonal traffic, a large customer churn, or something else.

If you’re trying to analyze how you’re doing with retention at a specific moment in the customer lifecycle, focus on the individual cells in that column. For example, if you're tasked with reporting on or improving 3-month retention for a specific app, you'd look at the Month 3 column. (This column reflects how many users returned during their third month of using the app, not the third calendar month.) The Month 3 cell in the top summary row provides a single-metric overview, and if you look at the cohorts in the Month 3 column, you see how your 3-month retention is trending over time.

Retention_Cohort_Breakdown_Table_Month_3.png

This level of analysis is especially helpful if you’ve implemented a campaign or strategy in an effort to improve these numbers. You could see what it looked like before the intervention and after.

What do the asterisks in the chart mean?

The asterisk signifies that the cohort's time period for that given month or week (seen in the column header) is incomplete. This means that there's still time remaining in the specified window for the cohort to be retained. As more members of the cohort come back (or don’t come back) in the remaining time window, the data could change.

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