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Cohort analysis is the process of analyzing user behavioral data by segmenting them into specific groups. You use this tool to compare how different user groups behave over time in lifecycle stages such as onboarding, registration, purchasing, and uninstalling.
Cohort analysis allows companies to see patterns and general trends within each grouping, allowing them to adapt or pivot its services according to the needs of its users.
The simplest explanation is: a cohort is a grouping of users who have a common attribute over a specific period of time.
For example, a cohort might be all users who downloaded your app between January and March of 2018. Or all users who signed up for a trial account in the last 3 days.
The point here is: instead of looking at thousands (or millions) of users as a single list of people, you break them up into easily identifiable cohorts in order to figure out how best to engage with each cohort.
Even before you perform a cohort analysis, there are three questions you need to answer: