What is a DAU?

Daily Active Users, or DAU, is the measurement of the number of users who are active on an app or website each day. It is a tool used to measure the success of an online product or website. The higher the DAU, the more “sticky” or successful a website or product is viewed. In order to calculate a DAU, a business must determine the definition of a user and the definition of an action.

How DAU works

  1. 1. It counts relevant users

    Daily Active Users are what they sound like: the number of daily unique users on a website. Users are defined as a visitor to a website or a user who has downloaded and accessed an app. In order to be considered active, the user must take action on the website or application. They must go beyond simply glancing at a website. But, the actual definition of interaction is defined differently by each company. Let's take a gaming website for example. The user would have to actually play the game to be considered active. This definition would be different on a social media site.

  2. It measures success...sort of

    Many businesses see DAU as a measurement of success. A product or website is considered "sticky" if a high number of users choose to interact with the product on a daily basis. The difficulty with DAU is that it is calculated differently by each company internally. A slight variation in what a company considers an active user, changes the results drastically. Some warn that DAU is not always indicative of a healthy or successful company or product.

  3. It is used in other calculations

    DAU is used to calculate MAU -- or monthly active users. This number is also used to show a company's growth or popularity. MAU will also fluctuate greatly depending on a company's definition of DAU.

Why DAU matters

  1. Its a popular metric

    DAU is a popular metric used by technology experts and investors to measure both the popularity and the potential for growth of an online platform or app. In other words, how many users find the website or app useful enough to access it everyday? That is what DAU measures.

  2. Its useful in context

    Taken at a single point, DAU can be misleading. As we discussed above, a company's definition has a lot to do with the numerical value of DAU. Measuring the change in DAU can be a lot more revealing. If a DAU is continually increasing at a fast rate, that is an indication the app or website is gaining popularity and success.

  3. Its one metric of many

    DAU is an important component in a company's arsenal of metrics. But it cannot be the only one. If a company focuses just on DAU, but fails to notice other signs of doom, they could go down seemingly without warning. It is important for a company to keep an eye on new subscribers, in app purchases, reviews and more -- anything that could indicate a problem. DAU, taken with these other metrics, can help a company keep tabs on their success or need for change.