This article is about Google Analytics 4 properties. Refer to the Universal Analytics section if you're still using a Universal Analytics property, which will stop processing data on July 1, 2023 (July 1, 2024 for Analytics 360 properties).

[GA4] Retention reports

The Retention topic helps you understand how frequently and for how long users engage with your website or mobile app after their first visit. The topic also helps you understand how valuable users are based on the additional revenue you generate after their first visit.

Access the Retention reports

To access the Retention reports, click Reports > Retention in the left navigation. If you don't see the topic, an administrator may have removed it from the navigation.

New and returning users

New users are users who visited your site or app for the first time. Returning users are users who have visited your website or app before. Google Analytics identifies users based on the reporting identity selected in Admin.

User retention by cohort

The User retention by cohort graph shows how well your site or app retains users by cohort. A cohort is a collection of users who are grouped by some criteria. In this case, the cohort is the day the user was acquired.

The graph shows up to three lines, one for each cohort. The "Day 1" line shows the percentage of users who returned to the site or app 1 day after they were acquired. The "Day 7" and "Day 30" lines show the percentage of users who returned to the site or app 7 and 30 days after the day they were acquired.

For example, 4 users visit your site on October 1. By October 2, 3 users return so the "Day 1" line on October 1 will be 75%. By October 8, 2 users return so the "Day 7" line on October 1 will be 50%. By October 31, 1 user returns so the "Day 30" line on October 1 will be 25%.

The following graph shows that by August 30, 5.8% of users returned to the website, and by September 5, 0% of users returned to the website. The data in this graph suggests that the website or app isn't retaining users successfully.

The user retention by cohort graph with a data point for August 29

User engagement by cohort

The User engagement by cohort graph shows the average amount of time users spend engaged on your site or app after they were first acquired. In this case, the cohort is the day that the user was acquired.

The graph shows up to three lines, one for each cohort. The "Day 1" line shows average amount of time spent on your site or app 1 day after they were acquired. The "Day 7" and "Day 30" lines show the average amount of time spent on your website or app 7 and 30 days after the day they were acquired.

The following graph shows that by August 30, users spent an average of 1 minute and 47 seconds on the website. It also shows that by September 5, users average 0 minutes on the website. The data in this graph suggests that the website isn't retaining users successfully. If users found the website more useful over time, you would see an increase in engagement 7 days later.

The user engagement by cohort graph with a data point for August 29

User retention

This chart shows the percentage of users who return each day in their first 42 days. The chart starts with 100% user retention when all users visit for the first time. It decreases from the first day as users drop off.

User engagement

The User engagement chart shows the average engagement time of users who return in their first 42 days. Analytics includes only returning users in the average engagement time.

Lifetime value

The Lifetime value chart illustrates the average revenue from new users over their first 120 days. You can use the chart to determine how valuable users are based on additional revenue you generate. For example, a user purchases a shirt and then purchases pants the following week. Lifetime value (LTV) includes both purchases, indicating the overall success of the acquisition.

Continue to explore retention using the Cohort exploration and User lifetime exploration techniques.

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