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DAU vs. MAU: Everything You Need to Know About App Stickiness Metrics

Subharun Mukherjee 18+ years of experience leading product strategy, Go-To-Market (GTM), new market entry, value-based sales, analyst relations, and customer experience programs. Expertise in Financial Services, eCommerce, on-demand services, and the SaaS industry.
DAU vs. MAU: Everything You Need to Know About App Stickiness Metrics

As a mobile marketer, these questions probably crossed your mind at some point:

  • How many users use my mobile app within a single day? Within a month?
  • How do I use these metrics? 
  • How do my numbers compare to other apps?

These questions can be answered by measuring the stickiness of your app with metrics like DAU and MAU. 

What is DAU? 

Daily Active Users (DAU) measures the number of active users who visit your app in a single day. 
Keep in mind this metric tracks usage based on individual, not sessions. For example, if a single user launches your app multiple times a day, the DAU for that user would still only be one. 
This gives you an accurate reading of how many unique visitors you’re getting on a daily basis.
Here’s how you calculate DAU

What is MAU? 

Monthly Active Users (MAU) measures the number of unique users to your app over a 30-day period. 
This stickiness metric indicates your app’s ability to attract and retain users over time.

How to Use DAU/MAU 

In order to measure DAU/MAU, you’ll have to first identify what it means to be an active user for your app. Active users could do something as minimal as launching your app, or as significant as making a purchase or building a profile. 
While tracking DAU/MAU goes back to the dawn of user engagement, mobile marketers are advised to use this metric with caution. These numbers on their own don’t provide an accurate assessment of growth. 
For example, let’s say a celebrity mentions your app in an Instagram story and app downloads skyrocket. Looking at the DAUs and installs for that day, you’re crushing it!
However, what DAU doesn’t reveal is the number of users who download your app but never use it after the first launch, or those who get no value out of it and churn after a few days. 
So while these numbers on their own can be classified as superficial vanity metrics, pairing them with meatier metrics that track conversions, revenue, and retention provide you with a more accurate reading of app growth. 

What is Considered a Good DAU/MAU?

A good DAU/MAU benchmark varies based on what type of app you have. Generally, you want to focus more on how your DAU/MAU is trending over time rather than the actual number. 
Generally speaking, apps over 20% are said to be good, and apps that reach 50%+ (like Facebook) are excellent.1 

What is the DAU/MAU Ratio

The DAU to MAU ratio measures the proportion of monthly active users who engage with your app in a 24-hour time period.
The DAU/MAU ratio calculation looks like this:

So, if you have 3,000 DAU and 9,000 MAU in the month of June, your stickiness ratio is 33%.  
This metric helps you understand how valuable your product is to your users by measuring how often they return to your app. This percentage can also help you forecast traction and potential revenue over time. 
Although this metric gives you some insight into retention, you have to remember it does not take into account users who have churned. Cohort analysis is a valuable tool you should use to gain a comprehensive understanding of app retention and growth. 

Bonus: What About WAU? 

Weekly Active Users (WAU) is often interchangeable with DAU depending on when users tend to engage with your app. The main difference is that WAU avoids the variances that might occur between days of the week. 
For example, if you’re a B2B instant messaging app like Slack, you might have a really high DAU during the workweek, but see a dip on weekends. With WAU, you can see weekly activity within the app without having to account for low activity on specific days. 

Learn More About DAU vs. MAU

Ready to go beyond DAU/MAU/WAU and get actionable insights into how to gain and retain your users for life? Download our Mobile Engagement & Retention Guide. 

Mobile Engagement and Retention Guide

Mobile Engagement and Retention Guide

Create campaigns for each stage of the user lifecycle to retain users, drive engagement, and win back lost customers.

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Last updated on March 26, 2024