Cohort Building Best Practice

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This article is designed to take you through some of the best practices to consider when building cohorts.

Cohorts are used to group your users, and are based on any combination of behaviours (Events) that they have performed on your website using the Cohort Builder.

Understand your Events

Permutive collect a standard set of events, and also has the ability to collect custom events. Understanding your events by knowing exactly what you are collecting and how they are triggered will help you build out varied cohorts based on your rich first-party data.

Permutive Browser Extension

To explore your site and watch which events are fired and when, use the Permutive Browser Extension

This will help you in finding out more about your events and properties, in turn allowing you to increase the complexity of your cohorts, helping you to capture the audience required:


Cohort Building Best Practices

Once you have a better understanding of what events you are collecting, building cohorts becomes a lot easier, especially if you follow some of our best practice tips:


1. Naming

Each cohort needs to have a unique name and one that makes it easy to find or group with similar cohorts

  • Differentiate between first-, second- and third-party cohorts Eg. 1P,  2P, 3P
  • If you work with multiple domains, you could clarify  which domain this cohort is targeted to 
  • Make sure to use keywords to describe what kind of audience you are building - are they ‘engaged’, ‘enthusiasts’, 'subscribers', or coming from  ‘social traffic’’

2. Tags 

Tagging your cohorts makes them easier to group together in the analytics

  • You could tag with the vertical (eg. demographic, sports) and with first- or third-party

3. Description

Give your cohort a relevant description

  • This is useful when working in big teams or over different geos.



Permutive cohorts use Boolean logic, although our queries enable further expressiveness. 

The following example shows how to build a cohort based on the Pageview event and aims to capture ‘Users who have viewed at least 5 sports-related pages (titles) in the last 30 days on the Permutive domain.'


 1. Event

Choose which event (behaviour) you want to cohort your users by

  • Permutive captures standard events but make sure you learn about your custom events too

2. Recency and Frequency

Select the recency and frequency (if required) to capture your audience in their window of interest

  • Permutive works in real-time, meaning you can cohort and target your audience in the moment, as they perform an action. To do this, choose “in session” when setting the recency 

3. Selecting Properties

Choose a property to cohort by and decide whether you’d like the keyword you enter to “contain” or match the keyword exactly using “is”. When inputting keywords make sure to input all possible options to increase your audience reach.

  • Each keyword is separated by an OR, so the more you have, the greater your audience expansion


Decide if you want the properties selected to be separated by an ‘AND’ or an ‘OR’, by changing this criterion to ‘all’ or ‘any’

  • To focus your audience pool, choose AND
  • To expand your audience pool, choose OR

5. +OR

Use the ‘+OR’ option to expand your cohort using first-party or third-party data

  • Eg. Use a third-party ‘Sports Interest’ cohort to widen your reach

6. +AND

Use the ‘+AND’ option to focus your cohort using first-party or third-party data

  • Eg. Use a third-party cohort to specify age or gender
  • Remember when you select ‘+AND First-party’, the builder is creating cohorts on a new event and therefore, a new statement. This means that recency, frequency and properties must be set again for this new event.


If you have any questions, please contact customer support by emailing or chat to the Customer Operations Team via the LiveChat icon in the bottom right corner of your screen.


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