Mixpanel Cohorts: An In-Depth Review [+ Alternative]

Mixpanel Cohorts: An In-Depth Review [+ Alternative] cover

What are Mixpanel cohorts and how to use them to gather actionable insights?

That’s the key focus of this article.

We also look at the pros and cons of using Mixpanel cohort reports and the reasons you may want to consider an alternative product analytics tool for this job!

Ready to dive in?


  • Mixpanel cohorts are groups of users who share certain properties and/or have completed specific events in a particular period of time, for example, a day or week.
  • They are more specific than user segments in Mixpanel and static so when analyzing their data, you are always looking at the same users.
  • The easiest way to create a cohort in Mixpanel is through the retention report.
  • After choosing the report from the top menu, choose the critical events you want to base the cohort on. Also, select the time window, for example, a day, week, month, etc.
  • For more detailed insights, filter the data by user properties or use the breakdowns for side-to-side comparison.
  • By comparing different cohorts, you can identify patterns in their behavior that contribute to their success or failure.
  • Cohorts, when used with retention and funnel analysis, can also help you find friction in the user journey that leads to drop-offs.
  • Cohort analysis allows teams to find areas for improvement and evaluate the effectiveness of new initiatives.
  • Mixpanel is one of the most intuitive analytics tools but it can still be overwhelming for non-tech users.
  • Mixpanel cohorts enable in-depth analysis of user behavior but are time-consuming tedious to set up, and difficult to organize.
  • The free Mixpanel plan doesn’t allow users to save their cohorts for future use.
  • Userpilot provides better value for money and is a user-friendly no-code solution that allows you not only to gather insights but also act on them. Book the demo to check it out!

What are Mixpanel cohorts?

Mixpanel cohorts are clearly defined groups of users sharing specific characteristics, for example, behavioral, demographic, or technographic ones.

For example, a cohort may consist of users who interacted with a specific feature a set number of times over a period of time. Like ‘sent 5 video messages this Monday’.

What is the difference between segment and cohort in Mixpanel?

The terms ‘segment’ and ‘cohort’ are often used interchangeably because they both describe a group of people with common characteristics. However, these two are not the same.

Segments are simply a broad group of users defined by a property.

For example, a segment could consist of all the users who performed an action, like completing an onboarding checklist or engaging with a feature.

Such grouping is dynamic. Whenever new users complete the same action, they’re added to the segment.

Cohorts, on the other hand, are more specific because they group users based on both events and time periods. For instance, a cohort could be made up of users who signed up for a free trial in the week commencing on 16 October 2023.

The clearly defined time makes cohorts static – once the time period is over, new users can’t join it anymore. This means a specific cohort will always consist of the same users.

Different types of cohorts you can monitor in Mixpanel

Mixpanel allows you to create cohorts based on events and user attributes.

Events are the actions that users complete while user attributes are people’s properties like their geographical location or the device they use.

What’s important is that you can use multiple criteria to define your cohorts. For instance, you could group users who completed an onboarding flow in the last 7 days and did it from a Windows PC.

Here are some cohorts examples:

  • Power users – used the app every day this week.
  • Active users – used the app at least once this week.
  • Inactive users – used the app last month but not this month.
  • Free users – users who are on the free plan.

How do I create a user cohort report in Mixpanel?

The easiest way to create user cohorts in Mixpanel is through reports.

Let’s see how to do it through the Retention report.

Step 1. From the top menu, click on Reports and choose Retention.

Mixpanel retention report.

Step 2. Define the events, for example, Sign Up or Open App.

Step 3. Define the retention criteria.

That’s where you choose the time frame (Daily, Weekly, Monthly or custom).

You can choose from ‘On or After’, which is better for general retention analysis, and ‘On’ if it’s important for the event to take place on a specific day, for example, On Day 3 after sign-up.

Mixpanel retention report
Mixpanel retention report.

For more granular insights in the retention table, you have the option to filter the data and break it down by specific criteria. For example, your breakdown could be based on the department where users work.

Mixpanel retention breakdown
Mixpanel retention breakdown.

Step 4. Save individual cohorts for further analysis.

Mixpanel cohort analysis use cases for understanding user behavior

What are the benefits of using Mixpanel cohort analysis?

Let’s look at a few common use cases.

Compare how specific cohorts engage in-app

Cohort analysis can help you identify differences in in-app engagement between different user groups and/or a broader user population.

This can help you answer questions like ‘Are new users adopting a feature faster than existing ones?’ or ‘Are power users upgrading to premium plans more than active users?’

Comparing cohorts in Mixpanel
Comparing cohorts in Mixpanel.

Identify where groups of users drop off from the journey

Cohort analysis can also help you pinpoint where users drop off the user journey and how.

For instance, if you see that user churn dramatically increases on certain days, you can trace it back to specific events or product changes.

When combined with funnel analysis, cohort analysis can also help you identify the exact stage in the user journey where users experience friction and its causes.

It can also help you find solutions. For example, if one user cohort doesn’t experience the same drop-off rate as others, you can analyze the behavior to identify key differences in how they interact with the product.

Determine where improvements are needed in the product experience

Cohort analysis can help identify the areas for improvement and then evaluate the effectiveness of changes.

Let’s imagine that your new users churn en masse only a few days after signing up. This could be an indication that your onboarding doesn’t deliver and users fail to activate.

You decide to modify the onboarding flow by adding a checklist.

After launching the reviewed onboarding process, you compare the retention figures from the past with data for the cohorts that sign up afterward to see if it works.

Pros and cons of using Mixpanel cohorts

What are the main strengths and weaknesses of Mixpanel cohorts?

Here’s a breakdown of the main ones.

Pros of Mixpanel cohorts

  • You can create cohorts based on multiple events and a whole host of user properties.
  • In conjunction with Mixpanel reports, cohorts enable a granular analysis of user behavior to inform product improvements.
  • It’s one of the most intuitive analytics tools around and boasts a clear and user-friendly UI.

Cons of Mixpanel cohorts

  • Creating cohorts can be time-consuming and tedious.
  • In general, Mixpanel has a steep learning curve and may not be suitable for non-tech teams.
  • In the free plan, you can create cohorts but not save them for future use. This reduces its usefulness for smaller SaaS businesses.
  • The pricing structure is inconsistent and can be confusing.

How much does Mixpanel cost?

Mixpanel offers 3 pricing plans. Here’s what the pricing page shows:

  • Free – allows tracking of up to 20M events a month and includes all core reports.
  • Growth – starts from $20/month for up to 100M monthly events and unlimited saved reports and cohorts.
  • Enterprise – starts from $833/month for up to 1T monthly events, unlimited advanced analytics reports, and advanced data governance controls.
Mixpanel pricing plans
Mixpanel pricing plans.

Looks transparent, right?

Well, click on the Build Your Plan button.

It takes you to a calculator, where you can customize your usage limits. It turns out that the Growth plan goes only up to 20M, not 100M, events.

Talking about events… Do you know how many you will need to track?

You may have an idea of how many users you want to track, but events are way more difficult to estimate accurately.

Mixpanel pricing
Mixpanel pricing.

What do users say about Mixpanel cohorts?

Mixpanel enjoys an average rating of 4.6/5 on G2, which is higher than its main competitors like Amplitude or Heap.

Mixpanel cohorts are mentioned a lot in user reviews.

For example, users find it particularly useful for in-depth user behavior analysis and reporting:

The cohorts feature is especially useful for creating reusable groups for analysis and reporting.

Mixpanel cohorts review
Mixpanel cohorts review.

The cohorts feature also helps companies to target their users more accurately with ads and messages.

However, some users also report that the functionality isn’t easy to set up, and it takes a lot of time to get the insights they need:

Cohorts handling is tedious – creating cohorts is slow and painful. Filtering and breaking down by cohorts is time-consuming (selecting each cohort twice, default setting of ‘not in XYZ cohort’ is pointless to me).

Mixpanel cohorts review
Mixpanel cohorts review.

What’s more, users mention that it keeps cohorts organized if there are a lot of them, and the filtering options aren’t always reliable.

Why should you choose an alternative tool for cohort analysis?

There’s no doubt that Mixpanel is an excellent analytics solution that offers top-notch functionality and this includes the cohort analysis features.

However, non-technical teams with limited experience in data science may find it overwhelming. It may also not be very affordable for smaller and medium-sized companies.

If you’re considering an alternative analytics tool, Userpilot may be worth exploring.

Userpilot vs. Mixpanel: The better product analytics tool for cohort analysis

Userpilot is a product growth platform that offers a whole host of advanced analytics features:

Let’s look at the last two as they’re most relevant in this context.

With Userpilot segmentation, you can group users based on properties like:

  • User attributes (like name, ID, plan, web sessions, device type, or signup date)
  • Company data
  • Tagged features they have engaged with
  • Custom events they’ve completed, both those set in Userpilot and API ones
  • In-app experiences they’ve engaged with like flows or checklists
  • User feedback (both quantitative, like NPS scores, and qualitative, like NPS responses)

Can you replicate the Mixpanel cohort functionality with segments? Yes, by segmenting users based on multiple criteria.

Once you have your segments, you can create a Retention report for each of them, just like in Mixpanel.

Retention analysis in Userpilot
Retention analysis in Userpilot.

Userpilot allows you to filter the results too.

Retention analysis in Userpilot
Retention analysis in Userpilot.

What’s the main advantage that Userpilot has over Mixpanel?

It offers features that allow you to act on the insights.

For example, you can use it to improve activation and retention with contextual in-app messages.

How much does Userpilot cost?

Userpilot’s transparent pricing ranges from $249/month on the entry-level end to an Enterprise tier for larger companies.

Furthermore, Userpilot’s entry-level plan includes access to all UI patterns and should include everything that most mid-market SaaS businesses need to get started.

userpilot pricing new april 2024
Userpilot has three paid plans to choose from:

  • Starter: The entry-level Starter plan starts at $249/month and includes features like segmentation, product analytics, reporting, user engagement, NPS feedback, and customization.
  • Growth: The Growth plan starts at $749/month and includes features like resource centers, advanced event-based triggers, unlimited feature tagging, AI-powered content localization, EU hosting options, and a dedicated customer success manager.
  • Enterprise: The Enterprise plan uses custom pricing and includes all the features from Starter + Growth plus custom roles/permissions, access to premium integrations, priority support, custom contract, SLA, SAML SSO, activity logs, security audit, and compliance (SOC 2/GDPR).


Mixpanel is a powerful analytics tool and its Cohorts features, when combined with retention and funnel analysis, offer product teams in-depth insights into user interactions and journeys.

However, the Free plan offers limited functionality when it comes to cohort analysis and the paid plans may not be affordable for small or medium-sized companies. What’s more, non-technical users may find it challenging to set up and use.

If you want to see how Userpilot better solves the same problems as Mixpanel cohorts, book the demo!

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