Retention Report Basics



The Retention report in Mixpanel is designed to assess user engagement over a specified period of time. Retention of your users is critical to achieving product-market fit and sustainable long-term growth, and this report will help you understand how long users continue to come back and find value from your product.

Sample Questions you can Answer in Retention

Imagine your product is a B2B messaging application. You might use Retention to answer these sample questions:

  • On average, how many users are still active after two weeks from signing up?
  • What percent of all users are still sending messages after seven days?
  • How has my 7 day messaging retention changed over time?
  • What percent of users sent messages in 2, 3, or 4 distinct hours of the day?

Retention Calculations

Users enter into user cohort buckets based on when they first completed an action, and then subsequent date buckets based on when they came back and performed another action.

Retention calculations are based on unique users, not total event count.

Building your First Report

Building a report in Retention takes just a few clicks, and results arrive in seconds. Let's build a simple report together. Continuing the B2B messaging example, imagine you wanted to answer the following question:

Which app version promotes the best retention after signup, for users on iOS?

Feel free to follow along and create your own report right in our demo project, here. To skip ahead to see the final result, click here.

Step 1: Choose Events

Events are the basic building block of a Retention report. In this case, since we want to know retention after signup, choose "Sign Up" in the first event slot. Then, we want to know if users are coming back and using the product, so choose "Any Event" in the second event slot. At this point, your query should look like this:


Step 2: Choose Filters

Filters exclude unwanted data. In this case, we only care about events performed on the iOS platform. Therefore, add a "Platform" filter, where Platform equals "iOS". At this point, your query should look like this:


Step 3: Choose Breakdowns

Breakdowns segment data into groups. In this case, we want to break our report down based on the app version they are using to Sign Up. Therefore, add an "App Version" breakdown. At this point, your query should look like this:


Congratulations, you've constructed your first Retention query! Now, it's time to examine the results.

Visualizing Results

By default, Retention displays a single, multi-part chart type to visualize retention data. It displays retention data as both a line chart, and a table. Data is identical between the two, but while the line chart provides a visual representation of users becoming inactive over time, the table provides a heat map to show which groups have the best retention. In this case, we can select Retention Table to see which App Version yielded the best results. Your report should look like this:


The report also offers a Retention Trends visualization to observe any changes in a particular retention bucket over time.

Now that you've constructed the query, and chosen the ideal chart type, you can easily answer the original question. Finally, save the report for later via the controls at the top right of the report.

Further Learning

While this article covers the basics of the Retention report, you can learn more about its capabilities in the following additional articles:

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