Retention

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Retention helps you understand whether users are returning to your product over time, providing insights into your product's growth and customer engagement.

Retention analysis, also known as cohort analysis, groups users based on shared characteristics or behaviors, such as new visitors within a specific time period. This approach helps product teams track user behavior trends and assess the effectiveness of retention strategies.

A high retention rate indicates that users find value in your product and are likely to continue using it, leading to increased customer loyalty and revenue. In contrast, a low retention rate might signal dissatisfaction or disengagement, prompting the need for improvements or adjustments to your product or user experience.

Within retention analysis, you have two cohort types to measure by:

  • New user retention. This measures the percentage of first-time visitors or accounts who return to your product within a specified timeframe, providing insights into the initial user experience and the effectiveness of user acquisition strategies.
  • Overall user retention. This measures the percentage of all visitors or accounts who continue engaging with your product over time, reflecting long-term satisfaction and loyalty within your user base.

Note: The retention report presents data for identified users only. Anonymous visitors aren't included.

Open the retention report

To create a new retention report, select Behavior from the left-side menu, then select Create report > Retention.

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By default, the retention report displays data for each new, unique visitor in the last six months using a 1 Month cohort size for any activity across all of your apps.

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Each row in the report represents a cohort, which is why retention analytics is often referred to as cohort analytics. Cohorts are defined by their type (new or all, visitors or accounts) and their size (week or month). The default view of the report focuses on new user retention among identified visitors within each cohort. As you refine your filters, the data in the chart adjusts accordingly.

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Define a source

Your Source selection determines the app and activity included in your retention analysis.

If you have more than one app, all apps are selected by default in the first dropdown menu. If needed, modify your app selection by selecting a specific app group (for example, all web apps or all mobile apps) or a single app.

In the second dropdown menu, select the type of activity that you want to measure retention for: Pages, Features, or Track Events. (This is the only dropdown that shows if you only have one app in your subscription.) By default, the activity source is All activity, which includes any activity for all Pages, Features, and Track Events for the selected apps.

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When you choose a specific event type in the first dropdown menu, another dropdown appears, allowing you to select the particular event to measure. This selection serves as both the starting event, indicating the visitor or account's initial interaction, and the return event, indicating subsequent engagement.

Retention percentages increase only when visitors interact with that specific event, enabling precise measurement of a particular Page, Feature, or Track Event for any segment.

Select a cohort type

For Cohort Type, you can choose to measure retention for new visitors or accounts, or for all visitors or accounts. This distinction categorizes cohorts into two specific types: new user retention and overall user retention.

New user retention focuses on visitors or accounts who interacted with your app or a specific event for the first time. Measure by new user retention if you want to assess the effectiveness of your onboarding process and user acquisition strategies.

Overall user retention measures retention for all users included in the selected segment, regardless of whether they're net new users or interacted with an event previously. Measure by overall user retention if you want to know how many visitors or accounts are continually returning to your product.

Note: If you choose to measure retention for accounts, this requires at least one visitor from that account to interact with your specified app or event.

New user retention

New user retention measures the percentage of first-time visitors or accounts who return to your product or engage with a specific event within a specified timeframe.

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When measuring new user retention for Any activity in the app, the "First Visit" value for visitors and accounts determines which users are included in the retention analysis.

When measuring new user retention for a specific event (Page, Feature, Track Event), a visitor or account's first interaction with that event determines which users are included in the retention analysis.

To calculate new user retention, we divide the number of first-time visitors or accounts who have returned to the selected event or app in the subsequent period by the visitors who have had the possibility of being retained until that month. (This means that we exclude visitors from the denominator who haven't been around long enough to reach that month in their product lifecycle.)

Overall user retention

Overall user retention tracks the percentage of all visitors or accounts who continue to engage with your product or event over time, regardless of whether they're new or returning users.

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When measuring overall user retention, we measure retention for everyone included in the selected segment, rather than net new visitors or visitors who first interacted with an event.

To calculate overall user retention, we divide the number of people who have returned to your app in that cohort period by the visitors who have had the possibility of being retained until that month. (This means that we exclude visitors from the denominator who haven't been around long enough to reach that month in their product lifecycle.)

Choose a cohort size

For Cohort Size, choose if you want to divide your user base into Month or Week cohorts.

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In retention analytics, a month is defined as 30 days, and a week is defined as 7 days. This means that each individual visitor or account has its own 30-day or 7-day timeframe that rolls up into a cohort.

Here's how each visitor or account's timeframe is calculated when using a 1 Month cohort size, which shows data in 30-day increments:

  First visit Month 0 Month 1 Month 2
User A April 15 April 15 to May 14 May 15 to June 13 June 14 to July 13
User B April 30 April 30 to May 29 May 30 to June 28 June 29 to July 28

Similarly, here's how each visitor or account's timeframe is calculated when using a 1 Week cohort size, which shows data in 7-day increments:

  First visit Week 0 Week 1 Week 2
User A April 15 April 15 to April 21 April 22 to April 28 April 29 to May 5
User B April 30 April 30 to May 6 May 7 to May 14 May 15 to May 21

 

Select a date range and segment

The Date Range determines the time period over which retention is measured and what displays in the chart. Depending on your cohort size selection, you can choose weeks or months.

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When using a cohort size of 1 week, the default date ranges of Last 6 weeks, Last 9 weeks, and Last 12 weeks are adjusted to ensure that the cohorts include an entire week of data, with each weekly cohort starting on a Sunday.

For example, if today's date is Wednesday, May 6 and for a cohort size of 1 week and a date range of Last 6 weeks, the retention chart shows data for the following 6 weekly cohorts:

  • Sunday, March 22 to Saturday, March 28
  • Sunday, March 29 to Saturday, April 4
  • Sunday, April 5 to Saturday, April 11
  • Sunday, April 12 to Saturday, April 18
  • Sunday, April 19 to Saturday, April 25
  • Sunday, April 26 to Saturday, May 2

Sunday, May 3 through Wednesday, May 6 aren't included in the default Last 6 weeks date range since those dates would only create a partial week.

The default Segment is everyone who visited your product or app. Update your desired target group as needed.

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When using a segment with an account-level based rule (for example, Account ID = Acme Org), you're measuring the retention for visitors under accounts that meet the specified criteria. For example, consider the retention filters are set to All activity, New visitors, 1 week, and Last 6 weeks (April 1 to May 13).

  • If Visitor A first visited your app on March 1 with Account ID = Globex Co,  they wouldn't show up in the report if the segment was set to everyone. 
  • However, if the segment was set to Account ID = Acme Org and the first event that had Visitor A attached to Account Acme Org was May 1, then Visitor A would appear in the report.

Interpret your retention report

Each cell within a row of the retention report represents the retention of a specific cohort, indicating the percentage of visitors or accounts who returned to your product or app after each week or month passed.

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The color scheme in the report corresponds to different retention percentages:

  • Darkest blue: 80 to 100% retention
  • Second-darkest blue: 60 to 79% retention
  • Middle-shaded blue: 40 to 59% retention
  • Second-lightest blue: 20 to 39% retention
  • Lightest blue: 0 to 19% retention
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The first week or month (Week 0 or Month 0) always displays 100% retention since all visitors within the cohort accessed your app or specific event. (Otherwise, they wouldn't be eligible for that cohort.)

The second week or month (Week 1 or Month 1) indicates how many users returned to your product in the following 7 days or 30 days, depending on your selected cohort size.

For example, if you had a total of 10 visitors in November 2023 and the retention report indicates that 20% of your visitors returned in Month 1, approximately 2 out of 10 visitors used your product or app again during the subsequent 30-day period, which falls within the 30 to 60-day window of their product lifecycle.

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All cells are independent of each other, so you might notice an increase in percentage in some instances, indicating more visitors used your app during that timeframe.

Tip: When you observe an increase, investigate the cause. For example, did you publish a guide to prevent users from leaving your product prematurely? Did your support team resolve more issues, encouraging users to return? Identifying the reason for the spike can guide future strategies.

An asterisk (*) next to a percentage indicates that the number is subject to change because there's still time remaining for the month (30-day increment) or week (7-day increment) for that cohort.

In new user retention, a visitor or account appears in only one cohort since they can only be a net new visitor or account or interact with an event for the first time once. Thus, the top row in the chart represents a sum of all visitors in each cohort.

In overall user retention, visitors appear in each cohort where they interacted with your source. In this case, the top row in the chart doesn't reflect a sum of all visitors in each cohort, as a single visitor might appear in multiple cohorts if they return to your app over multiple months. Instead, the top row reflects all unique visitors who interacted with your specified source in that time period.

View retained and dropped users

If you select a cell within the chart, a panel opens and displays the list of unique visitors or accounts that were retained for the given period. The list displays the total number of unique users that form that particular cohort percentage and list preview of up to 250 Visitor or Account IDs. Selecting a Visitor or Account ID directs you to the visitor or account's details page.

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Similarly, you can select the Dropped visitors or Dropped accounts tab to view everyone (up to 250 visitors) who was present in the previous period but didn't return in the subsequent period.

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At the bottom of the panel, select Export CSV to download the entire list of Visitor or Account IDs from the selected cohort with your preferred metadata values in the CSV file. Add your preferred metadata, then select Generate CSV.

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Save your retention report

To save your retention report, select Save in the top-right corner of the page.

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Enter a Report Name and Description, update the Visibility to Everyone if you want other users in your subscription to view and edit the retention report, and then select Save Report to save the report.

After you save the report, you can access the retention report through Behavior > Retention or Behavior > View all reports.

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