Lifecycle Metrics allow you to group together a set of users by date and measure churn. Of all the users who came in once over a specified period of time, how many of them are still around 3 months later? Understanding how quickly users drop off is crucial for you as you assess the vitality of the product. Lifecycle metrics becomes even more powerful when filtered by a segment. Do females of a certain age range drop off from using your app faster than males? Do users who make an in-app purchase within my app stick around longer?
Within Lifecycle Metrics, you’ll see two selections from the drop down, Rolling Retention and Sessions Per User:
- Rolling Retention displays the percentage of users still active N or more days after they first installed and launched your application. It is calculated as the ratio of the number of users whose last day of activity is past day N to the number of users who could have been active on day N.
- Sessions Per User displays the ratio of the number of sessions generated on the Nth day after a user’s first launch to the number of users considered active on day N.
The date range filter at the top right of the page will help you isolate users based on when they first installed and launched your app.
Figure 1. Rolling Retention via Lifecycle Metrics
The chart above displays the rolling retention (viewed by day) for an application. You’ll first notice that Day 0 Rolling Retention is at 100%. Day 0 is the day that a user first launched the application on their device. This might be last month for User #1, last week for User #2, and so on. This bar is at 100% because it includes all users from the date range filter selected, and they have all launched the app at least once.
To understand the mechanics of rolling retention, let’s say User #1 opened the app for the first time on Day 0 and only opened the app for the second time four days later on Day 4. This user would be added to the tally for Day 4 but also to the tallies for Days 1-3. This is because even though it took this user 4 days to come back to the app, it was still part of their consideration set and they had not churned.
If we look at Day 1 rolling retention for this app in the chart, it shows as 60%. This means that 60% of users return to the app on Day 1 or after. The converse is that 40% (or 100%-60%) of users do not return to the app at any point after Day 0, the day that they first opened it.
Rolling retention can thus be helpful in understanding key drop off points. You can further view this data for a particular segment (e.g. Females, In-app Purchasers) by selecting the desired group from the “All Users” dropdown at the top right of the page.
One-Session Users: The number of users who used the app only once since installation.
Users Active on Only One Day: The number of users who only used the app on the day they installed it and never used it again.
Users Who Returned the Day After Install: The number of users who used the application again the day after their first session.