The Lifecycle chart: track the growth of your product's user base

  • Updated

This article will help you:

  • Set up a Lifecycle chart
  • Switch between chart types
  • Interpret the results of your Lifecycle chart

Amplitude's Lifecycle chart gives you a quick, easy-to-understand overview of the growth of your product's user base over time. It does this by breaking out your active users into subgroups: new, current, and resurrected (formerly inactive) users. All your total active users will fall into one of these categories. It will also show you a count of your inactive, dormant users.

Much of the power of a lifecycle analysis depends on an understanding of your product's critical event. What's the one thing your users need to do in order to get value from your product? For a food delivery app, this might be placing an order. For a healthcare app, it might be starting or booking a session. When you know that critical event, you can build a Lifecycle chart around it and see how your user base is interacting with that event over time.

You can also get a bird's-eye view of engagement and retention by building your analysis around any active event. This will keep you aware of more broad-based trends with your product's usage patterns.

NOTE: This feature is available to customers on the Enterprise, Growth, and Scholarship plans only.

The idea is to grow your current and resurrected user counts, either by keeping them engaged or by giving them a reason to become active again. You'll also want to keep an eye on your dormant users: if this category starts growing, you may have an engagement problem on your hands.

Before you begin

First and foremost, events will not appear in any Amplitude charts until instrumentation is complete, so make sure you've got that done. You'll definitely want to read our article on building charts in Amplitude, as this is where you'll learn the basics of Amplitude's user interface. You should also familiarize yourself with our helpful list of Amplitude definitions.

You'll probably get more out of a lifecycle analysis if you fully understand your product's critical event, and its usage frequency. And you may want to check out our blog post on the retention lifecycle framework.

Set up your lifecycle analysis

To build a Lifecycle chart, follow these steps:

  1. In the Events Module, select the starting event. You can choose a specific event that is instrumented in Amplitude, or you can tell Amplitude to consider any event as the starting event for this analysis, by selecting Any Event from the list of available events.

    NOTE: You can only include one event in a lifecycle analysis.

  2. If desired, add properties to your starting event by clicking on + where, selecting the property name, and specifying the property value you’re interested in.
  3. In the Segmentation Module, identify the user segment you want to include in this analysis. You can import a previously-saved segment by clicking Saved Segments and selecting the one you want from the list. Otherwise, Amplitude begins from the assumption that your analysis will target all users.

    NOTE: You can only include one user segment in a lifecycle analysis.

  4. If you do not want to import a previously-saved user segment, you can start building your own by adding properties. To do so, click Users next to ..performed by to choose the type of property you'd like to segment by (i.e. Users, org ID(s), or inventory ID(s)).
  5. Then click Select property..., choose the property you want to include, and specify the property value you’re interested in.
  6. You can narrow your focus even further by telling Amplitude you only want to include users who have already performed certain actions. To do so, click Select event..., then choose the event you’re interested in.
  7. In the Metrics Module, set your usage interval. If a user fires your selected event within the usage interval, Amplitude will consider them current; otherwise, for the purposes of this analysis, they are considered dormant. Your chart will display the results in the interval you've selected.

growth lifecycle.png

This example shows a daily lifecycle chart with an interval of 7 days (August 1 to August 7). Each day includes blue and red buckets defined as active users (blue) versus dormant users (red). Users cannot be in more than one bucker per interval. 

Interpret your Lifecycle chart

The Lifecycle chart's default display is a histogram with two buckets for each of your usage intervals. The blue buckets contain active users, while the red bucket contains dormant users.

This is your Growth chart. It shows the distribution of active users and the count of dormant users for a particular day, week, or month. This allows you to see which group of users affects your active user counts the most.

Earlier, we mentioned that all your active users would fall into one of three groups: new, current, or resurrected (formerly inactive). Each of these groups is represented in the different shades of blue in the histogram's blue bar. Let's define the three active user groups by looking at days 1 and 2 from the above Growth chart:

  • A new user (light blue) is one who is new in Amplitude as a whole within one usage interval of whenever they performed the event. Amplitude will count that user as new for one full interval after their first event is received. Since our example looks at daily usage, a user will be considered new on August 1st if they fired the event and were new to Amplitude on the same day - August 1st.
  • A current user (medium blue) is one who logged the specified event in the current interval and also in the previous usage interval (day, week, or month). Using the same example, a user who fired the specified event on August 1st and August 2nd would be considered a current user on August 2nd.
  • A resurrected user (dark blue) is a user who logged the specified event in the current interval but did not log the event at any other time (previously inactive). In our example, a user who was new to Amplitude on August 1st, but didn't fire the specified event until August 2nd would be considered a resurrected user on August 2nd.

Screenshot 2023-08-08 at 12.01.00 PM.png

We also have dormant users, represented by the red bar. A dormant user is one who did not log the event you've specified, but who was had logged the specified event during the previous time period (day, week, or month). For example, a user who was active on January 1st but not active on January 2nd would be considered a dormant user on January 2nd.

There are also two other views for your Lifecycle chart: Dormant, and Pulse.


The Dormant chart shows the distribution of dormant users for a particular day, week, or month. For example, a dormant new user on November 21st (shown in the bar between November 20th and November 21st) is a user who was new on November 20th but became dormant on November 21st.

dormant lifecycle.png


The Pulse chart shows the ratio of incoming (new and resurrected) users to outgoing (dormant) users for a particular day, week, or month. The ratio shows how many active users you gain for each user who goes dormant.

Specifically, Pulse uses the following formula:

(# of new users + # of resurrected users) / (# of dormant users)

Broadly speaking:

  • Pulse > 1 means you're gaining users faster than you're losing them—your product is experiencing growth.
  • Pulse < 1 means you're losing more users than you're gaining—and your product isn't growing.

For example, in the chart below, pulse was 0.95 between December 5th and December 11th. This means we lost more users in that interval than we gained or resurrected.

pulse lifecycle.png

Breakdown table

Below the chart is a breakdown table of lifecycle data. You can export the data table as a .CSV file by clicking Export CSV.

lifecycle breakdown table.png