Why DAU Is the Metric That Mobile App Owners Need to Optimize For

Why DAU Is the Metric That Mobile App Owners Need to Optimize For
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So, you’ve built an app with remarkable features, stunning graphics, and a seamless user experience (UX). You’ve decided it’s time to launch the application on leading app stores. Chances are you can’t wait for people to discover your app and start using it.

But then comes the difficult part. How do you know whether your app is garnering the traction you anticipated? Are you users returning to your app after downloading it? What elements and features on the app are causing users to churn?

These are just a few of the questions that’ll start racing through your mind after you launch a mobile app.

Measuring Mobile App Success: An Overview

Measuring success is one of the biggest challenges that mobile app owners face. They often struggle to identify the right indicators of success.

It’s because an outstanding number of downloads isn’t the surest sign that your app is headed in the right direction. Also, the parameters of success vary depending on the app’s use cases and target audience.

That highlights the importance of tracking the right metrics to measure success. One of the most important metrics that help developers assess the performance of an app is the number of daily active users

Daily active users, or DAU, is defined as the number of users who log into an app and take the desired action in a 24-hour period. In simple terms, it’s the number of people who use your app on an average day.

DAU vs Downloads

Traditionally, mobile app owners have relied on the number of downloads as a sign of traction and success. However, all that’s telling you is that users were impressed with the features, reviews, and ratings in your app store listing.

The average person has more than 20 apps installed on their smartphone. It isn’t surprising, considering that mobile apps have become an indispensable part of human life. 

But research shows that most people only use nine apps per day. That’s less than half of the apps they download on their phone.

If a user downloads your app but doesn’t open it often, it’s simply collecting dust on their phone. And it’s always at risk of being uninstalled. That’s why the number of downloads is nothing more than a vanity metric.

On the other hand, DAU gives developers a sense of loyal app usage. It helps them evaluate various aspects of their app, including retention, engagement, and stickiness. This, in turn, puts them in a better position to determine whether their app is successful.

Key Benefits of Tracking DAU

In the following sections, we’ll outline the main reasons why tracking DAU is important for mobile app owners. Let’s get started.

Assessing Product Health

A steady increase in DAU indicates that your app is engaging users and providing value to them. It means that the features, calls-to-action (CTAs), and copy you’ve used on your app are working in your favor.

On the other hand, a gradual decline in the DAU indicates a major problem with your app. It could mean that people aren’t finding your app useful or valuable enough to open it. Alternatively, it could indicate that users are switching to a competitor’s app.

Evaluating Stickiness

Combining DAU with other metrics, such as monthly active users (MAU) and weekly active users (WAU), empowers you with valuable insights about app usage. For instance, the DAU/MAU ratio helps you understand how many of your monthly active users are returning to the app every day.

A high stickiness ratio suggests that users regularly come back to your app. That, in turn, means the app is addressing their pain points and fulfilling their needs. A low stickiness ratio highlights the need to implement new features that provide more value to users.

Measuring Retention

Modern app analytics tools let you segment DAU into new users and returning users. A higher number of repeat users means your app has been successful in retaining them. 

Otherwise, you’ll need to reinvent your user retention strategies to minimize churn.

Best Practices for Using DAU

Monitoring DAU provides a plethora of benefits to mobile app owners. But you must know the right ways to utilize the metric.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind while measuring DAU for your mobile app:

  • Calculate the average DAU over a specific period to account for normal usage fluctuations
  • Identify the right definition of “active” that’s relevant to your end goals and users
  • Use a competitor’s DAU figures as a benchmark for comparison
  • Continue to monitor other metrics, such as screen visits per session and user retention, for a deeper insight into your app’s performance

In Conclusion

DAU is one of the most important metrics for assessing the success of an app. It helps you understand whether your app is valuable enough to compel users to open it every day. Make sure you use a sophisticated analytics model that helps you track DAU and compare the metric against relevant competitors.

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