See returning users (excluding new users)

  • 5 November 2021
  • 6 replies


Hey guys! How can I see returned users only? I want to see their behaviour excluding new users. 

I need to better understand the difference in behaviour between New users vs returned users. Is there a way to do this in Amplitude (I can see this thread which essentially asked this question here- but found it confusing to follow)

Thank you,



Best answer by Yuanyuan Zhang 11 November 2021, 10:52

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Hi @CaraDavies,

This is Yuanyuan from the Amplitude Support team - thank you for writing in!

Amplitude defines a new user as someone who has logged an event for the first time (this includes inactive events), and we have a default Amplitude event ‘New User’. With this event in mind, I made an example chart to differentiate new users and returning users for you. Is the what you were looking for? 

Please let me know. Looking forward to hearing back from you!



HI @Yuanyuan Zhang thank you!! So just use New User = 0 to graph only returning users ?

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Hi @CaraDavies,

Yes, ‘New User = 0’ is to gragh returning users. Also, just noticed that a small adjustment is needed in the example chart I provided: it should be New User >= 1 , instead of New User = 0. Hope this clarifies. 

Please let me know if you have any questions!




Hi @Yuanyuan Zhang 

I am still having some problems - our database is indicating 

On Nov 18 we had 316 new users and 419 returning users. Amplitude is indicating 301 new users and 391 returning users. 

On Nov 17 we had 302 new users and 454 returning users. Amplitude is indicating 284 new users and 432 returning users.

Is it normal to have slight discrepancies like this? 

Just really important that we are dividing returning and new users correctly so we can clearly differentiate the time on platform and behaviour of these two groups. 

Here is my amplitude graph along with screen shot below


Cheers! 🎉


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Hi @CaraDavies,

Apologies for the delayed reply.

In all honesty, it’s probably going to be very hard to come to a conclusion on why the numbers are different between Amplitude and other vendors as we just don’t have knowledge/access to how the other vendors work.

There can be differences in New users and other metrics for multiple reasons such as instrumentation or how a daily is defined. We calculate new users at a user level and not device level. Also, we are able to merge anonymous users to when they log in instead of having two separate users. So, for example if a user was already on your product as an anonymous user, and then signs up one day (assigned a User ID), then we are able to merge those to a single user. Or if a user was on 2 devices and then logged on (assigned a User ID) on both devices, then we are also able to merge those to a single user. That actually reduces the user count but makes it more accurate. Here is some more documentation on how we track unique users:

Different analytics vendors will also calculate different metrics differently. For example, in Amplitude our daily retention has hourly granularity. As a result, the numbers you see may be slightly different. Here is some documentation that discusses the differences between Amplitude and other analytics vendors:

Please let me know if you have any other questions!



Cheers, will assume that this is 95% accurate which is a great starting point !!