Build 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. Learn about the basics of Retention reports in this article. Learn how to interpret a Retention report 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 the Retention or Frequency icons at the top left of the query builder.


Select Events

Depending on the type of Retention you have chosen, you will be able to select one or two events to analyze. For standard retention you can select an event you want your users to perform first, then the event you want them to return to perform.


By default Retention will show “Any event”.

“Any event” includes:

“Any event” does not include:

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

Filter by Property

Filter each event by one or more properties by clicking on the icon beside an event and clicking Add filter. Select an event or user profile property from the drop down list.


Click the x button beside the property filter to remove it.


You can also add custom properties here using this guide.

Advanced Query Settings


N Day Retention

N Day Retention calculates the percentage of users who come back on a specific time unit (e.g. day, week, month).

After a user completes the “A criteria”, they will belong to a time unit cohort that corresponds with when they did the "A event" and the Retention report will start the clock counting from the time that particular user performed that "A event". When using N Day Retention, that same user must return to fulfill the “came back and did B criteria” on a specific and exact time unit relative to when they did the A criteria to be counted as retained.

For example, day 5 retention is the percentage of users who “came back and did B” exactly on the fifth day after they did the A event.

N day retention is useful to understand high-level usage patterns.  We also recommend using N Day retention when your product relies on users returning in each and every time unit.

Unbounded Retention

Unbounded Retention calculates the percentage of users who come back on a specific time unit (e.g. day, week, month) or any time unit afterward. A user can fulfill the "came back and did B criteria" on a specific time unit or any time in the future to be counted as retained in Unbounded Retention.

Unbounded Retention gives you a better sense of how long you are holding on to your users in an absolute sense. It will tell you how many users used your app and then ever returned to find more value. In other words, it's the opposite of the overall churn of your user base.

We think unbounded retention is a better fit for most businesses and it is the default calculation for the Retention report. This is because it’s more common that a product doesn’t require users to come back in each time unit to achieve the product’s value proposition, and more often than not when doing retention analysis we don’t only value the user coming back in a specific time unit as long as they eventually do. However, if this is important to you and your business, please utilize N Day Retention.

Global Filters and User Cohorts

Click on the Filter button under FILTERS and select an event property, user profile property, or cohort to filter the entire report by. Unlike the filters described above which only filter each event, global filters apply to the entire report.


By default Retention will analyze all users who performed the selected events. To filter to specific user cohorts select one or more cohorts from the drop-down list.

Select USERS IN at the top of this list to choose whether you want to filter users in a cohort, or not in a cohort. You can add multiple filters.


Click the Breakdown button to select properties or cohorts to breakdown your results by.


The buckets of the Retention report will be broken down by that cohort or property, rather than the date. Each bucket shows the average number of users in each cohort who performed the event, or the number of users with that property who performed the event within the date period.


When you breakdown the report, all of the users who performed the event with a given property value or in a given cohort are grouped into a single row. This is different from the default Retention report, where rows in the selected date range are divided by day, week, or month intervals.

You can also add custom properties here using this guide.

Select Date Range

Select the date range you would like to see by clicking on Last 7 days at the top of the chart and selecting from the drop-down list. Learn more about the date and time selector here.


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