Glossary
Mobile App Terminology

Active user


What is an active user?

An active user is someone who is using your mobile app. Typically, mobile marketers treat active users as a critical measure of how well their app is engaging users and/or customers.

Active users can be measured daily, weekly, or monthly, giving you three common metrics:

  • Daily Active Users (DAU)
  • Weekly Active Users (WAU)
  • Monthly Active Users (MAU)

The most common are daily active users and monthly active users.

Counting active users by a period like a week or a month is important because most apps don’t monetize well on single or infrequent usage. Most apps monetize better when users engage frequently, or at least regularly. An app with high daily active users can monetize with advertising or with in-app purchases. An app with high monthly active users but poor WAU or DAU likely isn’t a good candidate for ad monetization or in-app purchases.

Apps with high daily active users are highly engaging, and likely have high retention, superior user lifetime value (LTV), and superior monetization.

DAU and MAU are relative to vertical, however. You would not expect to find a banking app with high daily active users. But if your casual game doesn’t have good weekly active users, you likely have a problem.

Make sure you are measuring your active users the right way!

Learn how Singular’s analytics platform can help

What are the uses of active users?

The main reason to track the number of active users in an app is to understand how people are actually using the product. In the development stage of an app, you can only theorize how users will actually interact with the app. After launch, however, you want to be tracking as much data as possible to see the number of active users on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. In addition to simply tracking the number of active users, you can go more in-depth and look at which features people are interacting with more than others. In short, active users is one metric to assess the overall health of the product.

Another way to use active users is to look at its “stickiness”, which is a measure of how often users are returning to the app and can be calculated by dividing DAU/MAUs. As Pendo highlights, there is a lot of value in looking at the ratio between these metrics:

Rather than looking at these metrics in absolute terms, a more useful measurement is the ratio between these numbers, usually DAU/MAU, known as the stickiness ratio. It’s one thing to say, “We had a 20% increase in MAU,” but for your product to get traction and drive growth, you need users logging in more than just once a month.

With this in mind, let’s look at several ways that apps can go about increasing active users. As Profitwell highlights, below are several common tactics to improve your active users:

  • Focus on customer success: By taking a proactive approach to customer success through things like consistent communication and support, this helps reduce churn and will likely increase active users.
  • Optimize for retention: Acquiring a user is only the first step to building a successful app. By determining which customer activities lead to user retention, this allows you to build your customer experience around these in order to increase active users.
  • Understand your customer lifecycle: By consistently reviewing your customer lifecycle, this allows you to determine opportunities to add value to the user through upsells or cross sells.

As you implement each of these tactics, tracking your user activity and ad monetization efforts with the right analytics tool is crucial to your success.

Make sure you are measuring your active users the right way!

Learn how Singular’s analytics platform can help

How Singular improves active user attribution & reporting?

In order to accurately track active users, Singular provides a suite of marketing analytics and ad monetization tools for app businesses. In terms of the marketing analytics tools, these allow you to take a scientific approach to growth by exposing new optimization opportunities. With granular performance and ROI insights, this allows marketers to efficiently allocate budgets in order to acquire users at the best possible ROAS.

After user acquisition, the ad monetization attribution and analytics suites reveal insights and optimization opportunities to increase revenue. Specifically, the platform automatically collects, normalizes, and aggregates ad revenue across monetization partners into a single, holistic view. With this data in hand, marketers are able to better allocate ad inventory by comparing monetization partners. In short, both the marketing analytics and ad monetization tools allow marketers to measure, optimize and increase the quantity and value of their active users.

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