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?
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 onboarding variant promotes the best retention after signup, for users on iOS?
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 Native". 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 various onboarding versions we're presenting to users. Therefore, add an "Onboarding Variant" 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.
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 onboarding variant 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.
While this article covers the basics of the Retention report, you can learn more about its capabilities in the following additional articles:
- Types of Retention Calculations - learn the difference between N-Day and Unbounded retention
- Build a Retention Report - learn to use the advanced features of the Retention report
- Interpret a Retention Report - learn how to read the results of your Retention report
- Use Cases for Retention - learn more reasons to use Retention
- Frequency Best Practices - learn to use the Frequency component of the Retention report