Interpret a Retention Report

Mixpanel’s Retention allows you to analyze the rate at which your users are re-engaging in certain behaviors over a fixed period of time. This article explains how to interpret a Retention report. Learn about Retention report basics in this article. Learn about how to build a Retention report in this article.


User Cohort Buckets

Retention counts users; not event totals. In other words, each of the user cohort buckets will include every unique user that did the "A event" criteria in that time window, starting at 0:00 of the first day of the bucket and ending midnight of the last day. A customer can only be counted once per bucket, but can be included in more than one bucket.

The first column (Date) indicates the day/week/month when the user performed the "A event". The Size column indicates the number of users that performed the "A event" within the time period.

For example, if you are bucketing based on your "Item Purchased" event and creating weekly buckets, a customer who purchased at least one item each week will be in every bucket, not just the bucket of their first purchase.

Retention Time Unit Buckets

Choose a time unit for the report (day, week, or month) as well as absolute values or percentages, all from the top bar of the chart.


*Note that a month is defined as 30 days, while two months is defined as 60-89 days, and so on.

    Each numbered column of the report represents one time unit you've selected (either day, week, or month). For example, in the image below, each column represents a 24 hour period of time, because “day” is selected.


The beginning and ending of each time unit bucket will be different for each user in the user cohort bucket. Users that are counted in the time bucket marked "1" have qualified as retained between 1 and 2 time periods (in this example 24-48 hours) after the "A event" was sent. If a customer sends an "A event" at 3pm on Tuesday then bucket 1 for them begins 3pm Wednesday and ends at 2:59pm Thursday.

Color Mapping

Each box within a row is assigned a shade of blue. The shading gets darker the higher the percentage retention. It's important to note that the scale is relative to each cohort row. 

Incomplete Buckets

White boxes indicate that the data is still in flux and not set yet because the time is still ongoing. Hover over a white box to see when the last qualifying date for that bucket will occur.

Types of Retention

Report results vary based on the type of retention you select, either Unbounded Retention (on or after) or N Day Retention (on). View the types of retention in this article.

Retention Trends


Select Trends from the report drop-down list to see how the percentage of retained users has changed over time for any of the retention time unit buckets. You can change between the different time unit buckets (i.e. <1 Day, Day 1, Day 2, ...) to see if your retention metrics are improving or declining along your retention curve.

Data table

Retention trends charts are accompanied with a table of values to give users another way to consume the trends information. This data table can also be sorted by clicking column headers.

Click on a "data column" header to sort by that column. Click the header again to reverse the sort order. The table below is sorted by event counts on August 2nd:


Results that are segmented (from one or more “group by” clauses in your query) have four different sorting options when you click on the "segment column" headers:

  • Segment Ascending: sort by segment name in ascending order.
  • Segment Descending: sort by segment name in descending order.
  • Value Ascending: sort by segment value in ascending order.
  • Value Descending. sort by segment value in descending order.

When sorting by segments, the sort is carried out left to right.


Clicking on the "Average" data column performs a flat sort across all segments:


Create Cohorts

Create a cohort by clicking on any bucket in the chart and selecting Create cohort. You can choose to build a cohort of users who were retained in that bucket, or users who dropped off at that bucket. This feature is not yet available for Frequency Retention reports. Learn more about this feature here.


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