There are two primary ways to measure user retention:
1. Users who used the app for the first time and then returned to the app
2. Users who did an event in the app, then returned and did another
As you can see, one is based on tracking sessions and session interval, while the other is based on measuring two different
app events. This is meant to highlight how often users return to the app and how many actions they take within the app – both important indicators of engagement. In both cases, your retention tracking will identify the start of the session or event, along with the total number of users and their repeat behavior.
In nutshell, Here it is what to track
The first date associated (with the session or event)
• The number of users
• What percentage of those users
returned after 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 + days
Session-based cohorts give a high-level overview of app user retention based on app opens, while event cohorts allow you
to take a more granular look at which specific events continue to engage users over time.
For example, you can see which users added an item to their carts on June 1st, 2014 and then returned seven days later and completed their checkout. Or, you can see how frequently users who had
their first session on December 14th, 2013 returned within a given time period (to get a sense of how long it takes new users
to decide to come back to the app).
They can also offer complementary insights. If you notice your session-based retention is declining, delving into event-based cohorts can provide insight into the specific areas where usage is dropping off in your app. In a media app, for instance, you may see that retention for the “article viewed” event has fallen, while retention for the “video played” event has been improving. This could be a sign you should be serving up more video content as a way to keep users coming back to the app, boosting session-based retention.
Ultimately, if you’re tracking your number of users and sessions, you’ll want some way to tie those together in a meaningful way. By tracking retention, you can report on not only your basic number of MAUs or app launches, but also how frequently your users return to the app and what features impact retention.