Cohort Exploration Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Last Updated: November 15, 2022

In this article, I am going to talk about the cohort exploration report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Cohort exploration report overview

In terms of web analytics, a cohort is a group of users who share some common characteristics by any analytics dimension in the report. For example, a list of all active users who share a common (same) acquisition date. 

In other words, cohorts are meant to identify demographics. Cohort exploration provides great insights, especially on broader pictures of returning visitors over time. 

A sample cohort analysis report will look like the below image.

cohort

Note: The cohort exploration report is based on users’ device data and not on User ID.

Each cell in the cohort exploration report shows the total number of users who fulfil return criteria. 

For example, in week 0, which is from June 13th to June 19th, there are a total of 215,973 users who are included in the report. In Week 1 (same row), which is from June 20th to June 26th, you see a total of 17,014 users who met the return criteria. 

week 1

At the same time, you can also see a total of 206,004 users who are included in the report as a starting week (June 20th to June 26th). And then in the same row, the next corresponding week (week 1) shows a total of 16,066 users who met the return criteria.

Week 2

Now let’s create a sample cohort exploration report.

Creating a cohort exploration report

To create a cohort exploration report, follow the below steps.

Step-1: Navigate to your Google Analytics 4 property.

Step-2: Now on the left-hand side navigation menu, click on ‘Explore’.

Step-3: Click on ‘Template Gallery’.

template gallery

Step-4: Click on the ‘Cohort exploration’ template.

cohort exploration template

Step-5: Wait for a few seconds and your first cohort exploration report will load, like below.

cohort report loaded

Congratulations! You have created the cohort exploration report. Now let’s see how you can configure the report.

Configure the cohort exploration report

You can configure the cohort exploration in the following way.

Cohort inclusion settings

This setting involves the inclusion of the initial condition for which users will have to meet to be included in the report. 

You can select the following conditions from the drop-down available under ‘Cohort Inclusion’.

cohort inclusion

The conditions can be following

  1. First touch (acquisition date): This includes the first time a user visited your application or website.
  2. Any event: The first event generated by the user within the date range specified for the cohort exploration report.
  3. Any transaction: The first transaction event generated by the user within the date range specified for the cohort exploration report.
  4. Any conversion: The first conversion event generated by the user within the date range specified for the cohort exploration report.
  5. Others: Any other event generated by the user within the date range specified for the cohort exploration report.

Return criteria

This setting defines the return criteria that have to be met by the user to be included in the cohort exploration report. 

You can select the following conditions from the drop-down available under ‘Return Criteria’.

return criteria
  1. Any event: If the user has generated a single event during the data range specified for the cohort exploration report.
  2. Any transaction: If the user has generated a single transaction event during the data range specified for the cohort exploration report.
  3. Any conversion: If the user has generated a single conversion event during the data range specified for the cohort exploration report.
  4. Others: Any other event generated by the user within the date range specified for the cohort exploration report.

Cohort granularity

This setting defines the initial and return cohort time frame. You can have the following types of granularity. 

You can select this setting by clicking on the dropdown available under ‘Cohort Granularity’.

cohort granularity
  1. Daily: From midnight to next midnight 11:59 PM as per timezone set for the analytics property.
  2. Weekly: From Sunday midnight to Saturday midnight 11.59 PM included, and not on a rolling 7 days.
  3. Monthly: From the 1date of the month to the last date of a month.

Cohort calculation type: 

This setting will determine how each cell will have its metric calculated for the selected period of the cohort exploration report. 

You can do this by selecting the type of calculation by using the drop-down available under ‘Calculation’.

calculation

There are three types of calculation as follows

  1. Standard: In this type of calculation,  each cell will contain the number of users who met return criteria for that period (selected day, week, or month) only regardless of what activity they do in other periods.
  2. Rolling: In this type of calculation,  each cell will contain the number of users who met return criteria for that period (selected day, week, or month) as well as the previous period.
  3. Cumulative: In this type of calculation,  each cell will contain the number of all users who met return criteria for any period (selected day, week, or month) in the exploration report.

Breakdown of cohort

Using this setting you can break down the cohort report into different subgroups based on a particular dimension. This is very useful when you want to compare the changes in cohort exploration among different dimensions.

For example, I have broken down the users based on their gender to see their performance.

breakdown

Cohort values

You can also configure the metric that is shown in the cohort cells by clicking and selecting a metric under ‘Values’.

cohort values

Limits of cohort exploration reports

Even though the cohort report has great significance, there are few limitations of the report as below

  1. Number of cohorts: The cohort exploration report can show only up to 60 cohorts (cells)
  2. Breakdown issue: When you break down the cohort using any dimension then only the top 15 values of that dimension are shown.
  3. Demographics dimension: Demographic dimensions are subject to thresholding. If the numbers are small then it won’t show any number and the reason behind this is to safeguard individual user identity and to protect their anonymity.

Sharing and downloading reports

You can share the report with other colleagues as well (who have at least read-only access to the GA4 property.). Just click on the ‘Share’ icon available in the upper-right corner of the ‘Reporting’ tab.

share

You also get an option to download the report. Click on the ‘Download’ button.

download

A small pop-up will come like below where you can specify the report format type.

download report

Available options are:

  • Google Sheets
  • TSV (tab-separated values)
  • CSV (comma separated values)
  • PDF
  • PDF (all tabs) – this will download all the tabs in the reporting panel in PDF format if you have multiple tabs.

So this is how you can use the cohort exploration report.

#1 Google Analytics 4 Intro

  1. What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – The Apps + Web Property?
  2. Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Setup GA4 – Upgrade to GA4 – Implementation Guide
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the Difference?
  5. GA4 vs GA4 360 – Pricing, Limits, Billing and More
  6. Google Analytics 4 Training & Tutorial with FREE GA4 ebook

#2 Google Analytics 4 Property

  1. Google Analytics Account Hierarchy (Structure Explained)
  2. Understanding Google Analytics Measurement ID (GA4)
  3. Google Signals GA4 – See Demographics (Gender, Age) in Google Analytics 4
  4. Using the GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Test Property
  5. Google Analytics 4 Sub Properties Tutorial
  6. Roll up Property in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – Tutorial

#3 Google Analytics 4 Integrations

  1. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  2. How to link GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  3. How to link Google Search Console to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. How to Install Google Analytics 4 on Shopify
  5. GA4 Firebase Integration – Correctly Add App Data Streams to GA4 Property

#4 Google Analytics 4 Events

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial
  2. Understanding Event Parameters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Recommended Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Enhanced Measurement Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Automatically Collected Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. How to Set Up GA4 Custom Events via Google Tag Manager
  7. Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  8. How to Rename Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. How to Use Google Analytics 4 Event Builder
  10. GA4 Form Interactions Tracking – Enhanced Measurement

#5 Google Analytics 4 Conversions

  1. Google Analytics 4 Conversion Tracking Guide – GA4 Goals
  2. How to Import Conversions from GA4 Property to Your Google Ads account
  3. GA4 Conversion Rate – How to find it and use it

#6 Google Analytics 4 Dimensions

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Dimensions Tutorial
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Dimensions Tutorial
  3. GA4 User Properties (User Scoped Custom Dimensions) – Tutorial
  4. Event Scoped Custom Dimensions in GA4 – Tutorial

#7 Google Analytics 4 Metrics

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Metrics Tutorial
  3. What are Predictive Metrics in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#8 Google Analytics 4 Ecommerce

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Ecommerce Tracking via GTM – Tutorial

#9 Google Analytics 4 Specialized Tracking

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Enhanced Measurement Tracking Tutorial
  2. Cross Domain Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Setup Guide
  3. GA4 Site Search – Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics 4
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Scroll Tracking Tutorial
  5. Self-referral Google Analytics 4 – Referral exclusion GA4
  6. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Data Import Tutorial
  7. Google Analytics 4 Content Grouping – Create Content Groups in GA4
  8. How to Track Single Page Apps in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign Parameters – GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

#10 Google Analytics 4 filters

  1. GA4 filters – Understanding Data Filters in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to Create and Test Filters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
  3. Exclude Internal Traffic in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) via IP Filter

#11 Google Analytics 4 Explorations

  1. Free Form Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Exploration Report
  2. How to Use the User Lifetime Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to Use Path Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Path Analysis
  4. How to Use Segment Overlap Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. How to Use the Funnel Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Funnel Analysis
  6. Cohort Exploration Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  7. How to Create Landing Pages Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  8. How to Create Google Ads report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  9. How to Segment GA4 Data by Data Stream
  10. Organic Search Traffic Analysis in GA4 – Complete Guide
  11. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Outbound Links Tracking
  12. How to Track Email Campaigns and Traffic in GA4 

#12 Google Analytics 4 Advanced

  1. Understanding Google Analytics 4 Sessions
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Measurement Protocol Tutorial
  3. How to Build Comparisons (Advanced Segments) in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Understanding Automated Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Understanding Channel Groupings in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. Understanding Data Sampling in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#13 Google Analytics 4 Reports

  1. How to Create Custom Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  2. How to Use Debug View Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#14 Google Analytics 4 Attribution

  1. Guide to Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  2. How to Change Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Conversion Paths Report in Attribution
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Model Comparison Report in Attribution
  5. Advertising Snapshot in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Attribution
  6. GA4 Attribution Modelling Tutorial

#15 Google Analytics 4 Audiences

  1. GA4 Audiences – Creating Custom Audience in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to Create a Remarketing Audience in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Understanding Audience Triggers in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Predictive Audiences – Tutorial

#16 Google Analytics 4 BigQuery

  1. GA4 BigQuery – Connect Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery
  2. BigQuery GA4 Schema – Send Custom GA4 Data to BigQuery
  3. How to Backfill GA4 Data in BigQuery
  4. How to Connect and Export Data from GA4 to BigQuery

Frequently asked questions about cohort exploration report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

What is the cohort exploration report in Google Analytics 4?

In terms of web analytics, a cohort is a group of users who share some common characteristics by any analytics dimension in the report. For example, a list of all active users who share a common (same) acquisition date. In other words, cohorts are meant to identify demographics. Cohort exploration provides great insights, especially on broader pictures of returning visitors over time. 

How do I create a cohort exploration report?

Step-1: Navigate to your Google Analytics 4 property.
Step-2: Now on the left-hand side navigation menu, click on ‘Explore’.
Step-3: Click on ‘Template Gallery’.
Step-4: Click on the ‘Cohort exploration’ template.
Step-5: Wait for a few seconds and your first Cohort exploration report will load.

What are the limitations of the cohort exploration report?

There are few limitations of the report as below:

1. Number of cohorts: The cohort exploration report can show only up to 60 cohorts (cells).
2. Breakdown issue: When you break down the cohort using any dimension then only the top 15 values of that dimension are shown.
3. Demographics dimension: Demographic dimensions are subject to thresholding. If the numbers are small then it won’t show and the reason behind this is to safeguard individual user identity and to protect their anonymity.

Register for the FREE TRAINING...

"How to use Digital Analytics to generate floods of new Sales and Customers without spending years figuring everything out on your own."



Here’s what we’re going to cover in this training…

#1 Why digital analytics is the key to online business success.

​#2 The number 1 reason why most marketers are not able to scale their advertising and maximize sales.

#3 Why Google and Facebook ads don’t work for most businesses & how to make them work.

#4 ​Why you won’t get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing Google Analytics.

#5 The number 1 reason why conversion optimization is not working for your business.

#6 How to advertise on any marketing platform for FREE with an unlimited budget.

​#7 How to learn and master digital analytics and conversion optimization in record time.



   

My best selling books on Digital Analytics and Conversion Optimization

Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
This expert guide will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of maths and statistics in order to accurately interpret data and take actions, which can quickly improve the bottom-line of your online business.

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and BeyondSECOND EDITION OUT NOW!
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.

Attribution Modelling in Google Ads and Facebook
This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling in Google Ads (Google AdWords) and Facebook. It will teach you, how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to understand the customer purchasing journey and determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

About the Author

Himanshu Sharma

  • Founder, OptimizeSmart.com
  • Over 15 years of experience in digital analytics and marketing
  • Author of four best-selling books on digital analytics and conversion optimization
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Awards for Excellence
  • Runs one of the most popular blogs in the world on digital analytics
  • Consultant to countless small and big businesses over the decade

Learn and Master Google Analytics 4 (GA4) - 126 pages ebook

X
error: Alert: Content is protected !!