Making Sense of the Cohort Analysis

analysis

If you are a master marketer, you already know the importance of analytics, and Google is a top contender is performance metrics. Not too long ago, the friendly folks at Google added another report to their list for your review. Cohort analysis refers to users on a specific date. The practice started, according to LunaMetrics, as a tactical unit in the Roman Legions. They would group men together into legions they called cohorts and the name stuck.

In marketing, a cohort is also how we group people together, but based on a date. The date of first click or the date they made a purchase. Why do you need to be this specific in metrics analysis? It is a tool the same way creative copywriting is a tool or social media monitoring is a tool. It tells you something about your audience, your customers and your marketing strategy.

What is the Cohort Analysis?

It is a measure of interactions –who interacted in a specific way on a key date. Consider this scenario. You have a new client who is looking to up their game this holiday season. How soon do you start pushing holiday-themed ads or promoting seasonal discounts? How important in Black Friday in the scheme of things?

You can create a cohort using the previous year’s information to get some answers. How many people made their first online purchase on the Friday after Thanksgiving? What about Saturday? Maybe you would do better planning a Christmas in July sale. That is another cohort. Cohort analysis is tracking based on one action and a date range.

How to Use Google’s Cohort Analysis Tool?

Google does a pretty good job of explaining their new report. To access it, sign into your Analytics account and click on “Your View.” From there, you select the “Reporting” tab, then “Audience” and finally “Cohort Analysis.”

Once you get the platform open, you can make some choices for your report.

  • Acquisition Date – Right now, you have limited choices, but apparently, Google is still working out the kinks. Acquisition date refers to the first time a customer does something like visited your brand website or use an app.
  • Cohort Size – This is the time metric such as a day, week or month. How many users did this one thing in a day, in that month or during that quarter?
  • Metric – This is what data you actually see on the report. How many page views, for example?
  • Date Range – This is the range used to construct the cohort – from January 15 through the 30th. If you selected day for Cohort Size, you will get numbers for every day in that range.

What you actually see is a chart and a columnar report based on your configuration. Sessions are listed as rows. If you chose a day as your Cohort Size, then each session is a day. The individual cells reflect the relevant values – how many page views occurred during the session.

The Cohort Analysis report is just one more thing you can use to measure the performance of your brand. It is up to you to decide if you actually need it or not, but it may offer interesting insights that you would otherwise miss.

darla fWriter Bio: Darla F is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in helping agencies meet their goals by developing creative and engaging content.


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