What is a cohort?

In marketing, a cohort is a group of people who share common characteristics like age, gender, or location. Or they might receive common events. Cohorts are often used in marketing research to track the behavior of a group of people over time, segment markets, and target marketing campaigns.

Cohorts can be broken up in terms of recency (e.g., “users who signed up in the last 10 days”) or acquisition or conversion time and channel (e.g., “consumers who purchased through the mobile web in September” or “customers acquired through Facebook ads in the last week”), among other segmentation methods.

Cohorts become particularly relevant and important in the context of cohort analysis. Cohort analysis is a subsection of behavioral analytics that separates people into smaller units rather than looking at all of your customers. These insights are important for any marketer to understand a units’ behaviors or patterns to optimize on their experience and can produce incredibly illuminating results that would be missed in a high-level review of acquired data. Finally, it’s important to remember that cohort analysis can provide value on a variety of levels and with many different types of data, from data surrounding mobile user acquisition to data surrounding mobile user retention.