Cohort and Retention Reports

Cohort and Retention Reports are two of the most popular features in the AppsFlyer dashboard. These reports allow marketers to determine how specific segments of users (cohorts) behave over time. These fundamental insights answer core questions such as: Which campaigns or channels deliver strongest user retention, which media sources or regions drive the most meaningful engagement and which engagement campaigns drive the most revenue.

Cohort Reports

A cohort is a subgroup of users that share a common characteristic. Cohort reports allow marketers to slice and dice their users through deep segmentation. Marketers use cohort reports to uncover the common indicators of success (e.g. geography, campaign, user engagement), which cohorts are underperforming and where corrective action such as campaign optimization or user re-engagement is needed.

Early in a marketing campaign, marketers typically use cohort analysis to identify, define and refine their KPIs (key performance indicators). For example, in this case study, a highly successful mobile app used AppsFlyer’s cohort reports to determine which segments of new installs were likely to remain active, loyal users thirty days later (based on user-engagement data and in-app event tracking). Based on these insights, the marketer began sending automated postbacks whenever users met specific engagement thresholds. This allowed their ad networks to better optimize their lookalike targeting, improving the quality of their installs at remarkable scale.

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Marketers commonly use cohort reports to both improve their users’ lifetime value (LTV) and their scale. AppsFlyer’s dynamic cohort reports provide marketers with maximum flexibility, so they can group and regroup their users in dozens of potential configurations. Revenue events and clear data visualizations help marketers identify performance trends, pockets of opportunity and early indicators of success. Marketers can even define their minimum cohort size (the minimum number of users needed to for a cohort), define custom date ranges and multi-select from a variety of filters, advanced filters and groupings. The entire cohort report can then be further sorted based on sessions or any measured in-app events. Furthermore, just like in the Overview Dashboard, marketers interact with the live graphics, adding and removing cohorts by clicking on their name in the legend, hovering over trend lines for additional data, clicking on column headers to sort the table by that column, or export the entire cohort dataset to CSV.
Here are a few more helpful resources to help you make the most of your cohort reports:

Retention Reports

User retention is one of most important KPIs (key performance indicators) mobile marketers obsess over – and with good reason. It costs far more to attract a new install or user than it does to maintain an active user. User retention is of particular importance in highly active or addictive app verticals, such as gaming and utilities. Mobile app marketers, product managers and investors typically look at Day 1, 7 and 30. Please note that in industry shorthand, these segments are commonly written as D1, D7 and D30. Other common retention slices include D3 (day 3), D5 (day 5) and D14 (day 14).

Certain markets (e.g. China) use retention as a paid media performance metric, where media sources are paid based on their ability to deliver users that meet predefined retention goals. As such, mobile marketers in these regions pay particularly close attention to their retention reports.
Please note Retention Reports compare installs based on app launches, whereas Cohort Reports look at install dates.

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How retention is calculated

Retention is calculated by taking the active users on a given timeframe (days or weeks) since the installation, as well as the total number of users that launched the app on the date specified in the range.

What to look for

When reviewing the Retention Report use the color coding and performance data to determine which media sources deliver the strongest retention. Media sources with strong early retention but weak overall retention may need to be further optimized.

Dive Deeper With Dynamic Retention Filters

Although the default report is a helpful first-indicator of an app’s retention health, the real value will come from this reports dynamic filters. These deep filters provide remarkable insight into potential retention criteria including: minimum cohort size, multiselect by media source, campaign, ad_set, ad_group, geo, SiteID (sub publisher), custom criteria, wifi state, geo by city, app version, OS version, device brand and more. Diving deep into these dynamic sub-filters allow marketers to discover which segments have the strongest retention, and which outliers warrant further investigation. For example, weak retention on specific devices may signal a possible technical issue whereas weak retention in specific regions may present opportunities for marketing optimization. 

These insights are key to understanding and optimizing app and marketing performance to improve your core KPIs.

Retention for Agencies

Working with an agency? It’s now easier than ever to monitor the retention rate of each campaign. Agencies can easily access retention data from their campaigns right from their dashboard, without needing to ask clients to download data and manually send it to them.

For more detailed information about retention reports, please check out the following resources:

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