Segmentation: How do I explore a Segmentation change over time using Fixed Time Points and Relative Date Rules?

The Segmentation tool in FastStats allows you to define your segment selection criteria and then investigate trends over time, examining membership of segments either at Fixed Time Points, or from a reference point individual to each record - Elapsed Time Points. These time points are defined within the Reporting Points dialog accessed via the Segmentation toolbar.

When creating a Fixed Time Points segmentation, the Reporting Points dialog is where you define both the frequency of reporting points and the period of time on which you wish to report.

Rather than defining a specific From/To date period, you can instead apply a relative date rule.


Let’s consider this in practice, using segments defined according to a person’s booking frequency and value in the last year – i.e. best being High Frequency High Value (HFHV) customers, through to those making no bookings:

  • Open a new Segmentation and add the segment selections

  • From the toolbar, select Reporting Points

In the middle of this dialog, you can now select to use the default Fixed Date Schedule or, alternatively, determine a Date Rule Schedule:

  • From the Type drop-down, select Date Rule Schedule

In the Rule drop-down, you can select from pre-defined options, or choose Custom Rule to define your own, using the Edit Date Rule button to access and amend the rule, as necessary.

  • Select The Last Month

  • Complete the set-up as per the screenshot below – Weekly / Every 1 week on / Monday

  • Click OK

This results in 5 date points being created.


Time Report

  • Select the Time Report tab and build

The results presented in the above screenshot satisfy the Reporting Points definition on the particular date this report was built (03/11/2020 in this example), but the use of a relative date rule determines that the results you subsequently see will differ according to when you re-run the report in the future.

This applies to all the reports generated in a segmentation which uses a relative date rule.


Migration (2 points)

When you look at the Migration (2 points) report using a relative date rule, rather than being presented with a list of fixed From/To dates to select from, instead you have a relative list:

  • Set From 2nd Last point and to Last Point

  • Build the report

Again, the dates displayed correspond to the dates shown in the Reporting Points dialog and are based on the relative date rule defined:

Migration (All points)

For the Migration (All points) report, FastStats calculates the migrations for each segment combination across the 4 spans and 5 reporting points in effect:



In the Journeys report, you must specify the journey start and end points, as well as defining the number of times you want FastStats to sample segment membership within that period.

  • Set the Journey start as 1st point – i.e. the first date in the list

  • Set the Journey end as Last point – i.e. the last date in the list

  • Set Intermediate points as 2 – i.e. sample membership twice between the first and last points

  • Build the report

FastStats calculates which segment a person was in at each data point and reports on the journeys between segments. Based on the reporting points generated from the relative date rule defined (i.e. within the last month), you can see, for example, that there are currently:

  • 17,069 people who have remained in segment A (HFHV) throughout

  • 127 people who began the journey as ‘best customers’ but ended it in segment B (HFLV) – indicating that, whilst still booking frequently, the amount they were spending on their bookings has started to fall….etc.

Note that you can see a more detailed view of the journeys by selecting to Show raw journey results in the Segment Settings dialog:



To report on retention, you must specify a single reporting point - most typically this will be the most recent.

Based on the above settings, you are asking FastStats to:

  • look at the most recent time point on the list (the latest date according to the date rule definition)

  • sample the data at 3-monthly intervals

  • calculate that, of all the people in each segment at that last time point, how many and for how long they have been in that segment

  • present the results, banded into 0-3, 3-6 months…etc.

The report is produced as of now (here the Last point is 02/11/2020) but, again, because a relative date rule has been used, when you run the report in the future, FastStats will pull through and report on the latest date at that point in time.


Not only does the use of relative date rules reduce the need for repeated manual user intervention but, where appropriate to do so, by selecting to Trust results... in the Segment Settings dialog, you can also reduce the amount of processing FastStats needs to do when re-running the report.

In this example, running reports weekly would allow results for the first date point to be discarded, the next 4 date points to be trusted, and the latest to be calculated and added.


Back to Segmentation Overview