The Cohorts feature is available only in the Enterprise Edition.
A cohort is a group of users that share certain Events together for a certain period of time, for example: users who make a payment for the first time in the last 30 days, or that added 7 friends in the last week. In other words, a cohort is a group of people with similar behavioral characteristics.
The Cohorts feature lets you group your users based on certain actions. In addition to the ability of grouping users, Cohorts lets you can see their progress over time, such as those who performed the "add to cart" Event in the last 7 days but did not perform the "checkout" Event.
The list of users who are part of a cohort is automatically kept up-to-date, and you can segment funnels, retention, user profiles, flows, push notifications, and drill data based on cohorts you create.
Benefits of Cohorts
If you are a mobile app developer or product manager, all the actions users take within your mobile app are crucial to evaluate the lifecycle of your mobile app. Specifically, you need to track the number of installs of a mobile application, the opening rates, clicks, whether the customer is interested or whether they uninstall your app, among others.
- In mobile-related apps, a cohort can be a group of users who complete a specific operation (like installation or opening) within a certain period of time. You can evaluate a number of data samples, such as the proportion of active users, and you can also set up cohort events with various in-app events to determine the degree of user interaction with your mobile application.
- In the e-commerce industry, Cohorts is a great tool you can use to see the timeout period, revenue per visit, or average order value. Once you start undertaking cohort analysis you can look back over the past several months, segment specific groups of users, and develop retention or feedback strategies.
First of all, make sure that Cohorts is enabled. To do so, in the Sidebar, go to Management > Feature Management, and enable the Cohorts toggle.
Upon creating a Cohort, you will be able to use it across other Countly features, which also need to be enabled in the same View. These other features can be enabled as you evolve your product analytics strategy (i.e., the Cohorts feature functionality will not be limited).
Outcomes of Cohort Analysis
Setting up a cohort analysis is a highly effective way of working since it helps you distinguish customers individually. You can access highly accurate information by clustering and following the individuals who are registered to your product during a certain period. This way, the analysis and change over time of their interaction are not affected by the rest of your audience, giving you the power to target your strategies better and to understand users at both an individual or segment level.
“Engagement” vs. “Growth”
Separating users or customers into cohorts is also effective when clearly identifying the difference between growth and engagement metrics. These two metrics can be confused with each other, because growth is the increase in the number of customers using a product or service. Generally, increasing numbers of users or visitors will automatically increase general participation (i.e., the engagement), but bear in mind that you will need to differentiate between sustained engagement (i.e., returning users) and the increase in numbers due to new customers (i.e., new users).
Comparison Between Different Behaviors
Cohort analysis also helps when comparing the results between two or more groups. For example, if the hypothetical “first seen in March” cohort engages with the product more than the "first seen in January" cohort, an analysis of any changes between the two months may be necessary. In addition, more analyses can be done on both cohorts to see if the product is attracting a particular group within each.
Cohort analysis also helps determine times when logins to the site decrease. Due to time-consuming work, quick decisions can be made to correct problem areas that may cause the decrease.
Cohorts Use Cases
As stated above, you can use Cohorts to segment your users in User Profiles, Drill, Retention, Flows, and many other features as well. Let's see some examples.
In the User Profiles section, you can observe the details of cohorts in more depth. For example, you can get detailed information about the country distribution of the users included in the "iOS users with at least two sessions" Cohort and the platforms, devices, genders, and ages of these users.
You can visualize the users who have not logged in since March 25. Then, you can reach out to them with a push notification using the Create Message to users and trigger them to use your app again.
You can see, in a single page, all the details of the customers who have purchased and shared products in your eCommerce application. Or you can find users who have added items to their cart, but have not completed an order.
From this User Profiles View, you can access the information about your users’ country, total time spent, last seen, as well as their device information. By observing the common features of your users with a particular pattern from a single View, you can make improvements in your product development process or in your content.
Drill and Retention
You can also use Drill segmentation to observe the retention rate of your cohort’s users. For example, you could observe the Retention information within 2 days of your registered users with Facebook Login in only two steps, as shown below:
Depending on the behavior of the users, you can organize campaigns for these user groups by segmenting them and better understanding them, and you can make improvements to your product.
Drill and Push Notifications
Another option is that you may want to use a drill to interact with your users based on the decrease or increase in their engagement. For example, your non-iOS user group who had been using your application actively in recent days, but then this number has dropped in the last week:
By sending a push notification to your users, you can prevent this decrease and bring them back:
Before diving deeper, let's get to know the Cohorts feature that consists of 3 views: Main View, Detail, and Compare.
This is the welcoming screen of Cohorts. It gives you summarized information about your cohorts. In addition to that, you can create, edit, or delete cohorts using this view. You can navigate to each cohort's detail by clicking its row as well.
- + Create Cohort button: Opens the drawer to create a new cohort.
- Cohort's Name column: Display of the cohort's name, when it was last updated, and its visibility setting. You can also add the cohort to your favorites using the star icon, which you can then use to filter the list of cohorts. Clicking the Cohort's name will lead you to the Detail View.
- Segmentation column: Selected segmentation(s) that apply to the cohort, grouped by Property and Behavior types.
- Current Users column: Current number of users in your cohort.
- Today's change column: The number of increasing or decreasing users occurred in the current day and a 30-day trend graph of the number of users in the cohort.
- Compare button: Takes you to the Compare View.
- Cohort filter: Toggle between seeing all cohorts created (All cohorts button) and seeing only those cohorts marked as favorite (Favorite cohorts button).
- Other controls:
- Edit columns button to personalize which, and in which order, the cohorts' information is shown. Note that the Cohort's Name column cannot be edited.
- Export button
- Search bar
- Cohort menu: When hovering over a cohort in the list, you can click the 3-dot ellipsis menu to see the selected Cohort's Detail View (Show detail button), visualize the list of users that belong to the Cohort as shown in the User Profiles view (View Users button), see the Cohort editor drawer (Edit button), or Delete the Cohort.
When you click on each cohort's name or click on the ellipsis menu > Show detail, you will access the Cohort's details. This view provides you with in-depth information about a Cohort. While charts help you to understand the enter/exit behavior of users, metric distributions show you a detailed breakdown of selected segments.
In this detailed view you can see:
- A brief description of the cohort at hand, including a star icon to mark this particular Cohort as a favorite one.
- A summary of the property and/or behavior segmentations that define the Cohort.
- A button to make edits.
- Widgets with the number of users (net value) and with the entering and exiting users of your Cohort. It includes a time bucket selector.
- Shows metric distributions of your users.
- A button to add or remove metrics.
Sometimes a side-by-side comparison of your cohorts might be handy. The Compare View is designed to meet that need.
In this comparison view you can see or do the following:
- Choose up to 4 different cohorts to compare.
- Select a time period.
- Result type selector:
- Number of users entering each Cohort.
- Number of users exiting each Cohort.
- Table showing statistics for each Cohort.
Creating a Cohort
Some notes on Cohorts before moving forward with how it works and how to add one:
- The Cohort User list, i.e., which users are included in a particular cohort, is generated upon creation.
- This list is regenerated when you edit a cohort.
- The list is also regenerated at least once a day or at most once every hour, depending on the cohort generation time.
- Cohorts are not retroactive. Hence you will not see any information for a Cohort for the period before it is created, but only from the date of creation.
A Simple Cohort
To create a new cohort, go to the Main View and define a cohort by clicking the + Create Cohort button.
Cohorts provides you with a 2-fold segmentation mechanism. The first, user property segmentation, helps you to narrow down your target group of users on the basis of user properties. For instance, you may want only iOS users to be present in your next cohort. To do that, you can use the query builder in the USER PROPERTY SEGMENTATION panel, as shown in the image below. You can always extend your query to make your target even more specific using the + Add property button. If you do not want to specify any user properties, you can also choose to skip this stage.
The second segmentation mechanism is user behavior segmentation, which allows you to narrow down target groups of users depending on whether they perform the actions you select or not. The slight difference between this filtering and user property segmentation is that user property segmentation is not dependent on an event. So once you are done with user properties, you can start adding behavioral conditions using the User Behavior Segmentation panel. First, you must select the people who have performed or not performed a certain Event(s) or Session(s), and after that, you set the frequency and time range. Again, you can be more specific with a certain behavior using the + Add property button.
You can additionally specify other behavioral segmentations using the + Add Condition button.
Lastly, you can make your cohort visible to everyone, or keep it private with optional sharing.
As in the above example, you can observe users who logged in using iOS and Facebook over the last 30 days, and offer them special campaigns.
More Complex Behavioral Scenarios
As you add more conditions, you will see
AND/OR selectors appearing between condition rows. For a user to be included in the Cohort list, all of those conditions must be true. By selecting
OR, however, you can loosen up this hard requirement. If at least one of the items in the OR group is true, then others being false will not matter and the final value of the group will be regarded as true.
The order of the conditions does not matter.
This example reads as "Crashed at least once AND (didn't make a bill payment at least once OR didn't view at least once in the last 6 months OR didn't fill in a survey at least once since Jan 9, 2022)". That is, only one of the conditions in the OR group being true is sufficient for that group to be considered as true.