Cohorts FAQ

In cohort analysis, we examine a group of users who completed a specific action or event within a set time period after their initial conversion date, such as installing an app.

For example, we can see:

  • How much revenue did this specific group of users generate within 7 days of converting?
  • How many of the users are still active by day 14?

One of the goals of cohort analysis is to separate user engagement metrics from growth metrics. It lets us measure the behavior of existing users over time without it being masked by engagement on income that's coming in from brand new users.

Troubleshooting Cohort Data

Why doesn't Singular's cohort data match my internal BI or a third-party service I use?

We don't recommend comparing cohort analysis between different sources unless you can confirm that all the sources are using both the same attribution method and the same method for calculating cohorts. Any slight differences can cause the numbers to look different.

Note the following points in particular:

  • Singular groups users into cohorts based on the install time (not the time they clicked on the ad).
  • In Singular, once a device is attributed, all the events from the device are attributed to the same source. There is no expiration date for the attribution decision - it changes only if the device is re-attributed (see the Re-engagement FAQ for more information).

Do the numbers for the actual date match?

If you are comparing global cohort data (not broken down by attributed source), you may want to check the actual numbers for the event, i.e. how many times the event happened on the actual date.

In Singular, you can get these numbers by choosing "actual" for your cohort period in reporting, or by downloading event logs in the Export Logs page.

If there is a significant difference between Singular's numbers and your platform's numbers, this indicates an issue beyond cohort calculations.


What is a cohort?

A cohort is a group of users with a shared conversion date. Usually, this means a group of users who installed an app on a specific date.

In cohort analysis, we take cohorts and look at their behavior over time. This is a way to measure the success of the campaigns that led to conversions on that specific date. For example, a specific cohort may show better user retention or bring in more revenue in the first 7 days after conversion.


What are cohort metrics?

Cohort metrics are metrics that can be measured in a cohort-based manner. For example, Revenue appears in the Singular Reports page under the Cohort Metrics section because you would usually want to see and compare revenue from different cohorts.

To include cohort metrics in your report, choose the cohort metric and then choose one or more cohort periods. For example, if you define the report date as March 1, select the metric Revenue, and select a 7-day cohort period, you will see the revenue gained from all the users who converted on March 1, within the first 7 days after conversion.


Note that cohort metrics don't have to be measured in a cohort-based manner. You can also choose the "cohort period" Actual. This will give you the revenue gained from all users of your app (regardless of when they converted) on the actual date of the report.

How do I run a cohort report in Singular?

To run a cohort report in the Reports page:

  1. Choose a date range. This will define your cohort(s). For example, if you choose November 1, you will see data for the cohort of users who installed the app on November 1. If you choose November 1-3, you will see data for 3 cohorts.
  2. Select dimensions as usual.
  3. Select one or more Cohort Metrics. These are the metrics that Singular can track in a cohort-based manner, including Revenue and custom events.
  4. Select one or more Cohort Periods. These define the number of days post-install for which you want to track the cohort's behavior.

For example, select the January 1 date, the Revenue cohort metric, and the 7 day cohort period to see how much revenue was generated by users who installed the app on January 1 in the 7 days after the install.


Note that cohort metrics are accumulated. If you select multiple cohort periods, the metrics for the longer periods will include the events and revenue generated in the shorter periods.

Therefore, for the following settings:


The resulting report may be:


This means that the cohort generated:

  • $20 of revenue in the first 24 hours after the install
  • Another $20 between 24 and 48 hours after the install, making a total of $40 for the first 2 days
  • Another $15 between 48 hours and 7 days, making a total of $55 in the first 7 days.

Time Breakdowns

If you choose a date range of more than 1 day and a Time Breakdown setting other than "Day",  the metrics for all the daily cohorts are added up.

For example, the following report includes three cohorts: the group of users who installed on 2021-01-01, the users who installed on 2021-01-02, and those who installed on 2021-01-03. In this example, under the setting Time Breakdown, we chose Day.


If we select the breakdown All Time instead, the metrics for the daily cohorts are added up:


What are cohort periods? What periods does Singular offer?

Cohort periods are the number of days for which the cohort metrics are calculated. If you select a cohort metric, you have to select at least one cohort period. You can select multiple periods.

Cohort Period Description Example
1d, 3d, 5d, 7d, 14d, 30d, 90d*, 360d* A number of days for which to aggregate the data. "14d" is selected by default.
* Cohort periods of 90d and more are available only to customers of Singular's attribution service.
Select the date Dec 1, 2019, the metric Revenue and the period 14d to see all the revenue garnered from users who installed the app on Dec 1, in the 14 days after installation.
LTV Lifetime Value, i.e. aggregation of the data for the period starting in the conversion date and ending today. Select the date Dec 1, 2019, the metric Revenue and the period LTV to see all the revenue garnered so far from users who installed the app on Dec 1.
Actual Select this to get non-cohort data, i.e. aggregation based on the actual date in which the event occurred rather than based on cohort. Select the date Dec 1, 2019, the metric Revenue and the period Actual to see how much revenue was gained from all the users of the app on the actual day of Dec 1.
How are cohort periods calculated?

Singular calculates cohort events based on a 24-hour rolling window from each user's install time.

What is the "Actual" cohort period?

Sometimes you may want to see stats from the Cohort Metrics section, such as Revenue or ROI, without having them analyzed by cohort. Instead, you want to see the stats for the actual day in which the events occurred. In that case, you can select the "cohort period" Actual.

For example, if you select the date range 2021-01-01 - 2021-01-02,  the metric Revenue, and the period Actual, you will see how much revenue was gained from all the app users on the actual dates 2021-01-01 - 2021-01-02, regardless of when they installed the app.

What metrics/KPIs can be tracked in a cohort report?

The default metrics available for cohort reporting in Singular are Revenue, ROI, and ARPU (Average Revenue per User).

You can also add your own custom cohort metrics by creating cohort events. This allows you to track any event that occurs in your app in a cohort-based manner, including registrations, video views, level-ups in a game, different types of purchases, etc. 

To see which cohort metrics (default and custom) are currently configured in your account:

  • In the Singular platform, go to Reports and look under the Cohort Metrics section.
  • If you are using the Singular API, query the Cohort Metrics endpoint.
How do I start tracking in-app events in my cohort reports?

Your organization would usually define cohort events as part of the process of setting up the organization's Singular account. See Defining Cohort Events and the Events FAQ for more information.

To add a new cohort event:

  1. Make sure that the app reports the event to the attribution provider. If you're using Singular attribution, this means having the Singular SDK track the event.
  2. In the Singular platform, go to Settings > Events and create a cohort event. Map it to one or more in-app events coming in through the Singular SDK or third-party tracker.

After you've defined a cohort event, it becomes available in Singular reporting alongside the default cohort metrics.

How is cohort data calculated in cases of re-engagement?

Singular defines a re-engagement event as the user's opening of an app that they have already used in the past, following a click on a retargeting ad.

In-app events and revenue generated following a re-engagement event are attributed to the network and campaign that are responsible for the re-engagement (rather than to the source of the original install).

Therefore, the new events and revenue become part of a new cohort: the cohort of the re-engagement date.


For more information about re-engagement and retargeting in Singular, see the Re-engagement FAQ.