MAU stands for monthly active user, it’s the number of users that have done something meaningful in your product in the last 30 days/calendar month.
It’s up to you to determine what the definition of “active” means for your company; it could be visiting your website, logging into the app, viewing a post, or completing a specific event. Most companies measure and track the number of active users within a specific timeframe: month (MAU – monthly active users), week (WAU – weekly active users), day (DAU – daily active users). The desired time period of measurement will vary across different industries and products. For instance, a bank wouldn’t expect their users to check their balance daily, but a social media company would anticipate this type of frequency.
What you can learn from monthly active user metrics
MAU (Monthly Active Users) is considered a key performance indicator (KPI) for many businesses. This metric shows active users who are engaged with your product–beyond traffic, downloads, or installs. MAU can tell you:
- General health of a business
- Success of a marketing campaign in attracting new users
- Level of interest in a product or service
- Retention rate
- Churn rate
- Growth rate and potential (particularly if you don’t have paid users yet)
- Revenue growth and potential
Monthly active users can also be the basis for other metrics, such as the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer and cost per acquisition. Most importantly, MAU can indicate the perceived value of an app, service, or product.
How to calculate monthly active users vs daily active users
Daily active users (DAU) is a related metric that is usually tracked alongside MAU. DAU is the number of unique active users on a given day. DAU can help you identify super users and may be a better barometer of product/service performance than MAU.
How to calculate MAU and DAU
First, you have to define who qualifies as a user and what action designates a user as active. One company can define MAUs as users who like or share a post, while another company may count MAUs as users who view any page of their website. Robust analytics platforms like Mixpanel give you the flexibility to customize MAU using a wide variety of variables so that it’s relevant to a specific business, product or app. Next, define the timeline. Daily active users are pretty straightforward–they are users that perform an action every day for a predetermined period. Weekly active users (WAU) measures users over the last 7 days. You can use the calendar month or any 30-day period when calculating the monthly active users. Each unique user is counted only once, even if they are active numerous times throughout the day or month. You can identify a user by:
- Account name/username
- Email address
- ID number
Don’t be alarmed if your MAU or DAU fluctuates wildly at times. Because outside forces can influence daily and monthly use, you’ll probably see data anomalies. It’s not uncommon for MAU to increase after a successful marketing campaign or positive press sending an influx of users your way. What you want to see is steady MAU growth over time. Growth indicates that retention and acquisition are stronger than churn.
Calculating DAU/MAU ratio
These metrics can also be used to calculate the DAU/MAU ratio. Simply divide DAU by MAU to get the user ratio percentage. Example: If you have 1,000 daily users and 5,000 monthly users, the DAU/MAU ratio is 20%. The DAU/MAU ratio will tell you the rate of returning users (a.k.a. stickiness). A high rate suggests good engagement and perceived value, whereas a low rate indicates a lack of interest that requires further analysis.
Going beyond MAU with user analytics
Monthly active users and daily active users are some of the most commonly used metrics in the Mixpanel system. But MAU is a high-level metric. It tells you how many users are active, but it provides few details about what users are doing and the value they are getting out of a product or service. You’ll want to dig deeper into user behavior data to get a better idea of how engaged users are and what they’re doing in your product. Tracking this data over time will tell you if MAUs and DAUs are becoming more or less engaged. It can also tell you if changes made to a product or service are well received. MAU is a powerful metric, but it’s just the starting point. Once you have a grasp of MAU, go deeper with Mixpanel to deeply understand user engagement and the actions that lead to conversion, engagement, and retention.