Daily Active Users (DAU): what and how
What is DAU?
To measure DAU, count the total number of unique viewers on a given day. To calculate this, you must know two things: The definition of a user: Most DAU calculations consider a user to be any unique visitor who’s downloaded their app or accessed their site and takes an action. The definition of an action: What constitutes ‘taking an action?’ For each app, it varies. Here are a few common examples:
- Online publication: Visit, login, view a page, save a story
- Mobile gaming app: Create an account, play a game, share with friends
- SaaS application: Add a task, complete a task, invite a team member
- Personal finances app: Add an account, view a report, make a budget
How do you calculate DAU?
Though DAU may sound simple and straightforward, no two companies calculate it the same way. The slight variations in how they each define actions and users change the results drastically. For example, consider two very different types of companies that measure DAU, a B2B security software and a social media app like Facebook. Are the DAUs of these two organizations equivalent? Hardly. The security software has a high barrier to entry because it must be purchased and likely uses two-factor authentication. Facebook, on the other hand, has almost no barrier. It’s free and famously counts any interaction with Facebook’s messages or widgets anywhere across the internet as an action. The DAUs are incomparable.