Build a Retention Report

Mixpanel’s Retention allows you to analyze the rate at which their users are re-engaging in certain behaviors over a fixed period of time. Learn about the basics of retention reports in this article. 

Access the Retention Report

To view the Retention report select Retention from the Analysis section of Mixpanel.


Select Type of Retention

Select either Recurring, First Time, or Addiction from the drop-down list at the top left of the query builder.


Select Users

Select either All Users or one or more cohorts from the drop-down list to filter who you would like to analyze in this report.


Choose whether to view the report by day, week, or month, as well as absolute values or percentages, all from the top bar of the chart.


Multiple Cohorts in Retention

When you select multiple cohorts to track you are segmenting the report by those cohorts, with each bucket being the average number of users in each cohort who performed the event within the date period. When you select one cohort, that will apply a filter to the report to only show users within that cohort.


You can also choose to compare these results to users who are not in the selected cohorts. Simply check the box at the bottom of the query builder to do so.


Next, select the event you would like to analyze or select "Anything" if you would like to measure how often your users do anything in your app.


Select the date range you would like to see. By default, Retention shows all users who did anything, then came back and did it again within the last two weeks. 

Filter by Property

When you select an event other than “Anything”, you will have the option of filtering the retention report by one or more properties. Hover over the property to remove it or add another property line.


Segment by Property

When you select an event other than “Anything”, you will have the option to segment your retention report by event or people properties. Using this feature you can see how many users with a specific property value are retained compared to other users with a different property value. Compare the retention of users based on their operating system, country, or any other property you send along to Mixpanel.

Click on the + Segment button at the top of the Date column to open a pop-up window.


Select a property from the list. You will have the option to either allow users to only be bucketed to one segment or multiple segments.


If you choose to bucket users by only one segment, they will only be bucketed by the first property they sent with the event. This means that the properties sent with the event will not be used for bucketing their subsequent actions after the first event. For example, if someone played a game on your phone app in Dallas, but then flew to California and played a game in San Francisco the next day, they would continue to appear in the segment for “Dallas”.

If you choose to bucket users into multiple segments, they will appear in as many segments as the number of unique property values they sent with the event in the selected date period. Users may move between different segments as they perform the same action, but they will not appear in subsequent date buckets if they performed the same action with a different property value.

Regardless of your choice, the segmentation bucket will show the average number of users within that segment who performed the action, not the total number. This is because the segment is being tracked across the entire selected date period, rather than each bucket corresponding to a specific day/week/month.


Definition of “Anything” in Retention

In all three Retention reports (Recurring, First time, and Addiction) you have the option to select Anything from the events dropdown:


“Anything” includes:

“Anything” does not include:

  • “Message Sent” events or “Message Bounced” events, which are also generated automatically for some message types.


Alternatives to Filtering by “Anything”

Filtering your Retention report by event or profile properties is only available once a particular event has been selected.

It’s not available for the "Anything" event option as a means to preserve processing speeds and report reliability.

That said, there are a few other ways to get this data:

  1. Instead of using “Anything,” create a custom event to look at a few events you’re interested in and use that custom event in your Retention report. Custom events can be filtered in Retention.
  2. If the property you’d like to segment by stays consistent over a user’s lifecycle, consider using a First Time Retention report instead of recurring or addiction. Look at a bucketing event filtered by the property you’d like, then choose “Anything” in the second event dropdown.
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