Understanding the DAU/MAU Ratio: Key Metrics for Assessing User Engagement

Online businesses often point to two metrics as key performance indicators of user engagement.

Online businesses often point to two metrics as key performance indicators of user engagement: Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU). While these are separate calculations and can suggest different insights into a platform’s user base, they are also interconnected.

The DAU/MAU ratio combines these two metrics to assess the stickiness of an online platform, app, or service. It serves as an indicator of how engaged and loyal users are over time.

This article is a deep dive into what DAU, MAU, and their ratio represent, along with their importance for businesses and influencing factors.

Source: Pexels

Understanding DAU and MAU

Before you can start using the DAU/MAU ratio to assess user engagement on your platform, it’s essential to understand what each indicator represents.

Definition of DAU

DAU refers to the number of unique users who engage with your app or website within a 24-hour period. This engagement can include actions like:

  • Logging in
  • Viewing content
  • Publishing content
  • Social interaction (Likes, sharing, following)
  • Performing transactions
  • Push notification response

Your DAU count provides a snapshot of daily engagement and is particularly useful for tracking short-term usage patterns and the immediate impact of marketing efforts.

It’s important to note that a user interacting with the platform multiple times within the same day is still counted as one DAU.

Definition of MAU

On the other hand, MAU measures the number of unique users who engage with the platform at least once over the course of a month. This metric expands the scope of user engagement analysis, offering insights into longer-term trends.

MAU is critical for understanding revenue growth, measuring the success of objectives, and identifying seasonal patterns.

Similar to DAU, if a user interacts with the platform multiple times within the month, they are counted only once.

Calculating the DAU/MAU Ratio

The DAU/MAU ratio, then, is a way to merge both metrics and create new insights. It is usually expressed as a percentage and calculated with the simple formula:

For example, if your social media app has 300,000 monthly active users and 60,000 daily active users, that day's DAU/MAU ratio would be 20%.

A high DAU/MAU ratio indicates that many unique active users return to the platform daily, suggesting high engagement. Conversely, a low ratio might point to user retention issues or another problem that requires investigation.

A similar calculation is possible with weekly active users (WAU), depending on what kind of period you are monitoring.

Significance of the DAU/MAU Ratio

The DAU/MAU ratio is commonly called the “stickiness” ratio because it directly relates to how frequently users engage with the platform. While most companies keep this information close to the vest, there have been some public examples of its use.

In 2014, when Facebook acquired WhatsApp for nearly $20 billion, the messaging app’s DAU/MAU was listed as a key reason. Sequoia Capital wrote, at the time, that WhatsApp had a ratio of 72%, much higher than the industry standard between 10-20%.

Some other sources have the average for SaaS products sitting at 13% currently, though there is a wide gap depending on industry, product, and clientele. Most companies consider a ratio between 15-40% to be a success.

Source: Pexels

Factors Influencing the DAU/MAU Ratio

Several factors can influence the DAU/MAU ratio, impacting how often users engage. Here are some key factors to consider:

User Experience (UX) Design

At its core, UX design enhances customer satisfaction and drives engagement by improving the ease of use and functionality of every interaction. It’s built on principles like:

  • Intuitive navigation: Users should find browsing the platform effortless, with clear pathways to their desired actions or information.
  • Aesthetic appeal: A well-designed interface will be visually pleasing and aligned with the brand identity. It creates a positive first impression and encourages repeat interactions.
  • Performance: Platforms that load slowly will experience higher bounce rates and lower engagement levels. Users expect responsiveness, especially in mobile applications.
  • Accessibility: All users, including those with disabilities, should be able to use the platform. Things like color contrast, voice commands, and clear labels help cater to a broad audience.

A great UX is constantly improving based on user feedback. Surveys, user testing, and analytics should inform iterative design, evolving the platform along with expectations and needs.

Content Quality and Relevance

The value users receive from a platform largely depends on the quality and relevance of its content. High-quality, timely, informative, engaging, or entertaining content can significantly increase user retention and daily engagement.

This content doesn’t necessarily have to come from you. In fact, user-generated content (UGC) can be a powerful tool. By encouraging users to share their own stories, creations, or recommendations, you enrich the variety of content available and foster a community atmosphere.

Most of the platforms with the highest DAU/MAU ratio also leverage algorithms and user data to personalize the content experience for each user. Stale or repetitive content can lead to user attrition, so there should always be options that align closely with user preferences or past behaviors.

Marketing and Acquisition Strategies

Marketing doesn’t end at acquisition. It needs to also help the transition into active, daily users. That means knowing your audience and targeting only those who will find immediate value in your platform.

The onboarding process must be smooth and intuitive, with simple sign-up forms, tutorials, or guides for new users. Regular communication through email, push notifications, or in-app messages can also improve retention and keep users coming back every day.

Source: Pexels

Seasonality and Trends

Certain times of year may naturally drive more or less activity on your platform, depending on the nature of your service or product. For example, retail apps may see DAU/MAU spikes during holiday seasons, while fitness apps could benefit from the start of a new year.

Understanding these season patterns can help anticipate fluctuations in user engagement and plan accordingly.

Strategies to Improve the DAU/MAU Ratio

Improving your DAU/MAU ratio can be challenging, but here are some actionable strategies that can help:

Enhancing User Onboarding

A user's first experience with your platform can significantly impact their decision to return. Here’s how to enhance user onboarding:

  • Simplify the sign-up: Keep the sign-up process as straightforward as possible. Limit the number of steps and only ask for essential information upfront.
  • Personalize the experience: Use the initial interactions to learn about new users’ preferences and customize their experience accordingly. This could include selecting interests or choosing a user interface layout.
  • Interactive tutorials: Instead of passive instructions, use interactive tutorials that guide users through your platform’s key features. This hands-on approach helps users remember how everything works.

A quarter of users abandon an app after just one use, so making a strong first impression is critical.

Source: Pexels

Implementing Engagement Features

To keep users coming back, your platform must be more than just functional—it needs to be engaging.


Integrate elements of games such as points, levels, and rewards for completing certain tasks. This makes the experience more fun and can motivate users to return more frequently.

Push Notifications

Use notifications to alert users about new content, features, or promotions. Remember, don’t annoy them. Find a balance between frequency and relevance to avoid overwhelming users with constant pop-ups.

Social Features

Implementing social features like commenting, sharing, or collaborating directly within the platform can significantly enhance user engagement. These features foster community and encourage users to return for interaction updates.

Analyzing User Feedback and Behavior

A deep understanding of your users’ needs, preferences, and behaviors is key to improving the DAU/MAU ratio. When analyzing feedback and behavior, look for things like:

  • Usage patterns: Identify when and how often users engage, noting any emerging patterns. This information can help inform features or content schedules to match peak periods.
  • Churn: Analyze the characteristics and behaviors of users who stop using the platform. Is there a key roadblock or piece of content consistently turning people away?
  • A/B testing: Use A/B testing for new features, layouts, and content to see what changes result in higher engagement. This experimental approach allows you to make data-informed decisions.

Overall, monitor metrics like session length, visit frequency, and actions taken per visit. These should offer a granular view of user engagement and highlight success aspects that can be replicated.

Retention-Focused Campaigns

To improve the DAU/MAU ratio, prioritize user retention alongside acquisition. Retention-focused campaigns keep users coming back and solve any obstacles that might be in their way.

Welcome Campaigns

Create a series of welcome emails or in-app messages for new users that guide them through the platform’s features and offer tips for getting the most out of their experience. A warm, informative onboarding campaign can set the tone for ongoing engagement.

Re-Engagement Campaigns

Identify users who have decreased their frequency or become inactive. Target them with personalized messages encouraging a return. Highlight new features, content, or exclusive offers that they may have missed and could reignite their interest.

Milestone Campaigns

Recognize and celebrate user milestones, like the anniversary of their signup or achieving a specific goal. Milestone campaigns can foster a sense of achievement and belonging among users.

Educational Campaigns

Regularly provide users valuable content that helps them better understand or get more value from the platform. This could be tutorials, tips, blogs, or video content targeting features they aren’t using.

Source: Pexels

Final Thoughts

The DAU/MAU ratio is vital to growing and sustaining an online platform. It is a proxy for the stickiness and value you are providing users.

But remember, improving it will demand consistent effort. It requires iterative change, constant monitoring, and user feedback for refinement. Each platform will have unique challenges and opportunities for improvement, so stay flexible and responsive.

Ultimately, by creating a user-centered platform that consistently delivers value and fosters a positive user experience, you improve your DAU/MAU ratio and build a loyal community of users who are more likely to champion your platform to others.


How does the DAU/MAU ratio vary across different industries, and what benchmarks should companies aim for?

The DAU/MAU ratio can significantly vary across industries due to differing user engagement patterns. High-engagement platforms like social media may aim for a higher ratio, possibly over 20%, whereas utilities apps may have lower benchmarks. Companies should analyze industry averages and competitive benchmarks.

Are there any case studies of companies that successfully improved their DAU/MAU ratio, and what strategies did they use?

Specific case studies aren't provided here, but successful strategies often involve enhancing user experience, adding new features, optimizing onboarding processes, and engaging users through notifications or personalized content to improve the DAU/MAU ratio.

How should companies balance efforts between improving the DAU/MAU ratio and other engagement metrics like session length or page views?

Balancing the DAU/MAU ratio with other metrics requires a holistic view of user engagement. Companies should prioritize metrics based on strategic goals, understanding that improving session length or page views may also contribute to a higher DAU/MAU ratio by enhancing overall user satisfaction and engagement.

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