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Unbounded retention going up

  • 1 June 2021
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Hey guys! So the unbounded retention (currently “now and after”) represents the number of users that did an event on a particular time bucket or after. So how is it possible that the retention for N+1 day is higher than Retention in day N?

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Best answer by kgaidis 14 November 2021, 15:54

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Response from Mixpanel support (Donna):

 

With the On or After Retention, the buckets in the row do not increase however the Average Unbounded Retention (top row of the table) can increase.

For example, let's look at this example Retention Report from our Demo Dataset: https://mixpanel.com/s/4Ft9m0
We'll see that <1 Month Average Retention is 63% and Month 1 Retention is 65%.

This occurs because the Average Retention Row is the weighted average of finalized retention buckets in the column.

The Average Retention calculation does not include the incomplete buckets.
Incomplete buckets are the boxes that are white in the table (not colored) and indicate that users will have the opportunity to count as retained: https://help.mixpanel.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005707803-Interpret-a-Retention-Report#color-mapping

As the average is only calculated for buckets that are already completed, if there are groups of users (i.e. the last complete bucket in the column of <1 Month: 56.84%) that is underperforming (not retaining), that will bring down the average of the column (brings down <1 Month).
However, the groups of users did not bring down the average Month 1 because the 55.88% bucket is not yet included in the Month 1 Average Retention calculation.

A gist of the above is the Average Unbounded Retention for later months can go up due to the calculation only includes complete buckets, and later months/days have buckets that are still incomplete thus not yet included in the calculation.

 

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