[GA4] User lifetime

Analyze user behavior and value over their lifetime as a customer.

The User lifetime technique shows how your users behaved during their lifetime as a customer of your site or app. The user lifetime technique can help you find specific insights such as:

  • The source, medium, and campaign that drove users with the highest lifetime revenue, as compared to revenue only for the selected month

  • The active campaigns that are acquiring users who are expected to be more valuable, with higher purchase probability and lower churn probability, as calculated by Google Analytics predictions models

  • Unique user behavior insights, such as when your monthly active users last purchased a product from your site, or when they were last engaged with your app

Create a user lifetime exploration

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
  2. On the left, click Explore.
  1. At the top of the screen, click Template Gallery, then select the User lifetime template.

User lifetime data

Lifetime data is available for users who have been active on your site or app after August 15th 2020. For these users the scope of data in the user lifetime technique includes all of their data since they first visited your site or app. For example, a user who first visited your site in December, 2019 but who was last active on August 14th, 2020 is not included. If that same user was active on August 16th, 2020, then all their data going back to last year is included.

The User lifetime technique displays aggregated data for users of your site or app. Specifically, this technique can show the following information for each user:

  • Initial interactions: data associated with the first time the user was measured for a property. For example, their first visit or purchase date, or the campaign by which they were acquired as a user.
  • Most recent interactions: data associated with the last time the user was measured for a property. For example, their last activity or purchase date.
  • Lifetime interactions: data aggregated over the lifetime of the user. For example, their lifetime revenue or engagement
  • Predictive metrics: data generated through machine learning to predict user behavior:
    • Purchase probability
    • In app purchase probability
    • Churn probability
Note: The sampling limit for the User lifetime technique is 1M users for the free Google Analytics product and 10M users for the paid product. When the selected date range includes more users than the sampling limits, Google Analytics will use a randomized sample of those users (1M or 10M based on the type of property) and then upscale the results to provide complete results.

Date ranges in user lifetime explorations

When you select a date range, the exploration displays users who were active during the selected range, and provides information about these users' entire lifetime, including data from before the start of the specified range.

You can't change the end date in a user lifetime exploration. It is fixed to "yesterday."

User lifetime explorations and reporting identity

The User-ID feature gives Google Analytics 4 properties two ways to identify and report on your users across platforms and devices. The reporting identity method used by your property affects user lifetime data as follows:

By User-ID, then device

This method uses the more accurate user ID if it is collected to identify a user and unify all related events in reporting and explorations. If no user ID is collected, then Analytics uses a device ID, either the client ID for websites or the app-instance ID for apps, to identify a user.

When a given user has both signed-in and unsigned-in activity for the selected date range, the exploration only uses the signed in portion of the user lifetime data. This provides a more accurate representation of your user data: user count are not duplicated, and metrics like average lifetime value (LTV) are more accurate with User-ID based usage. Activity that occurs while the user is not signed in is not included in the exploration.

Note: If your property has user-provided data collection (beta) enabled and it also collects user IDs, be aware of potential data discrepancies in User lifetime explorations. Specifically, you may see duplicate user counts or low per user lifetime metrics. This issue arises if your exploration's date range overlaps with the date when user-provided data collection was enabled. You can check this activation date in the property’s change history. Additionally, for these properties, we currently do not support User lifetime explorations based on user IDs. 

By device only

This method uses only the device ID (either the client_id value of the Analytics cookie for websites or the app-instance ID for mobile apps), to identify a user, and ignores any user IDs if they were collected. With this method, user lifetime data is aggregated at the device level.

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