You Ask, I Answer: Tracking Retention with Google Analytics Cohort Analysis

Will asks, “I want to track people from a specific event and see how many return after the event is over. How do I do this?”

This question has two parts to the answer. The first is appropriate tagging; without correct UTM tags, you won’t be able to track anything. If you’re using ads, you have the opportunity to set codes for every individual ad. Check this blog post and video for a breakdown of UTM tagging.

The second part of the answer uses Google Analytics Cohort Analysis. Watch today’s video for a walkthrough of Cohort Analysis.

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Listen to the audio here:

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, we’ll ask I want to attract people from a specific event. And the ads I’ve run and see how many return after the event is over. How do you do this? So this question has two parts to the answer. The first part is that you need to have tagged correctly, those people with UTM tags in the ads themselves if you’re using those ads set individual codes per ad, there’s a video that I did a blog post from back in January called best practices for Google Analytics UTM tracking codes that goes through how to set these and there’s also a spreadsheet that is involved as well if you want to keep consistent tagging, but that’s the first part of the answer is you need to have an audience specifically tagged with certain UTM tags so that you can isolate them. So let’s go ahead I’m going to go into my Google Analytics here and I’m gonna actually set up a custom segment.

For an audience for a very specific audience, so let’s go ahead and call this almost timely. And this,

I’m going to save that I’m going to go to Advanced conditions. And I want you’ll notice all the different things like campaign or in here, content, add content, which is UTM code keyword. If you use the UTM term for this, I’m going to do a source because I use my newsletter, it has the source of almost timely, right. But again, if you had an ad specific campaign to just choose campaign, or term or content, depending on what it was that you were doing. So this is my segment that I want to keep track of. No, no, that’s 2.74% of my users. And let’s go ahead and choose from January onwards. You can obviously do this for when the event occurred, and then after the event. And now the second part of the answer is Google Analytics has what is called cohort analysis. This is taking a look at a group of people and seeing how that group change.

changes over time. So let’s click on cohort analysis.

And we are on track by acquisition date. If the event was like this week, you’d use by day, otherwise could do by week or by month. I’m going to do by week here. And retention is one of the metric. You can also track goals. How much conversion to do get out of this, how many page views in this case retention as a metric of returning users. How many people returned during this time period, and we’re going to look at the last six weeks

and what you can see as for people who enrolled in this audience, the week of January 20, the 26th some pretend that was the event week.

The first week after that event over the first week was 94% of the users within this cohort were in that week. Zero that that week, the second week, 2.67% return. So that second week, so the week after January 26 was January 27 for this week’s audience. 6.67% returned after we three 4%

After week for zero, week five, 1% week six zero. So the people who joined my newsletter this week in January here kind of fell off after the third week. So that was that’s indicated that the people who joined my audience that we were not great, right in the sense of they were not super loyal. If we look down here, the week of January 27, 8.5%

people returned after week one 1.43 2.86 2.86

so they got to four weeks out before they stopped returning based on the newsletter they got about four weeks of content out of the newsletter before they kind of fell off. Now we can obviously change this range to be up to 12 weeks or you can do by month as well. So let’s go ahead and do by month here.

So let’s do by 12 weeks here. So now looking out 12 weeks.

Let’s go back to that same week, January twice 20th to the 26 you can see here there’s really a decade

And that week, that was not that was not a great week. If we look back and look out here, the people who join my newsletter the weeks of December 16 of December 22 or December, 20 seconds, December 29 there 10 weeks out there, still loyal they’re still at 2% here I’ve retained those folks so something whoever joined the list that week those people are sticking around, they’re sticking through there. They are loyal to this campaign code.

If you were doing this for your event, you would do exactly the same thing what week was the event and then track the loyalty of that cohort that specific group of users like seven users or however many were in your campaign over time to see how they indicate now we’re This is gets really interesting is if you have that audience tagged very clearly. And then let’s put it in a different audience here. I’m going to use let’s use my Twitter so let’s use my Twitter audience.

Organic Twitter audience I want to exclude Pay Per Click traffic here.

And just for clarity sake, I’m gonna switch this back to six weeks. Otherwise the screen gets really hard to read.

And now we can compare side by side, the newsletter audience versus the Twitter audience. So what we see here is, once you get out to week five, there’s still are some users within my newsletter audience, they’re coming back, but I lose all of my Twitter audience after that, that week five, and we also see the numbers 8%, 6%, 9%

versus 1231.

My Twitter audience is not as loyal and I can keep fewer of them then I do my newsletter, but it’s also a smaller audience. If you look at newsletter audience, 538 users, Twitter audience 369 users. So

remember that the whole point of analytics and metrics the whole way to get value out of these things is to compare and contrast to compare and a metric to something else. So if you’re

event was that week and this is your ad group event. And then maybe this is your social media group for the event, which audience was the better quality audience was at the ad group? Or was that the the Twitter group. Now, one thing you want to do is make sure that you have exclusion setup, so that you’re not double dipping. Somebody who is in your ad group and you know, organic social group, you have to decide which group you want that person to end up in by excluding the other in the in the segment settings. So we saw that I had a segment setting in there for eliminating PPC. So CBC PPC, anything with those codes, I want out of this or Twitter organic audience so that I’m not double dipping on paid versus unpaid Twitter users. So that’s how you do this. The easiest way to report on this is simply to take a screenshot then, and just sort of highlight like this is the audience and this is compared to another audience. And remember, because it’s controlled by Google Analytics segments. You can have up to four audiences side by side here. You can compare them over time.

Let’s see how did this unit this this group of users do overtime for from a loyalty perspective. Now

this also compares to people who are in other weeks around that that event. If you just want to look at the decay of that audience overall

and you don’t want to do the cohort reporting, then the easiest way to do that would actually just be to look at new versus returning users.

That’s a knockout Twitter we don’t need to compare on this and take that that campaign group and look at the new versus returning over time and what percentage comes back over time. You can also if you wanted to just report on the sheer traffic from that segment only you would do source contains or campaign if you’re if it’s an ad campaign and


user type contains returning

visitor and that will only show the people who are in this campaign and who have come back to the website. So my save that you notice it was 2.73. Now it’s point seven, two. So I’ve lost about what,

three quarters of that audience now you can track just that audience over time and apply that that segment to any of the tracking metrics acquisition behavior and stuff within Google Analytics to see like, what content does that group of people view versus you could add that segment back end for organic Twitter to compare and contrast but this would be how you would track those people just those people who have returned from the ads even running. So a great use case the cohort analysis is really super it’s an easy way to visualize the performance of an audience versus other audiences or other other groups in a campaign if you want to just drill into that that segment that cohort itself make sure that you have

The campaign tag and the returning visitor tag setup in your segment and then you can compare and contrast and use Google Analytics just with that segment over time. So great question. Well if you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments. Otherwise, please subscribe to the YouTube channel and the newsletter will talk to you soon. One help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems. This is trust today and let us know how we can help you

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