Developers

What are Monthly Active Users or MAU?

by AppLovin on Jan 15, 2021

Monthly active users, also known as MAU, is a key performance indicator (KPI), used to examine user engagement. It’s important for your business to keep track of their MAU to see the overall growth and performance. 

A high number of active users over a long period of time is an indicator that customer engagement is solid. Conversely, a low number of MAU could show signs of business slowing down, or user churn.

By measuring MAU, your company sets itself up to better shape future marketing strategies and improve customer experience. For example, you may have an email marketing or push notification reactivation strategy to target the large base of users who are no longer active. 

Tracking MAU helps you better understand the health of your business and how it performs from month to month. 

Making higher profits from your users is important, and you can only do this if your users are actually using your product. So it’s a good idea to measure users who interact with core features of your product. 

Why is MAU important?

MAU indicates the number of unique users who have performed some kind of action in your app within 30 days. What determines the action may differ depending on the type of business and app, but typically an active user will be counted after logging in, clicking on a new post, or completing a certain event. 

When calculating MAU, a user who performs an action in your app during a 30-day period is typically counted only once, no matter how many times they logged in or performed various activities. 

MAU vs. DAU

It may behoove you to also look at daily active users, or DAU, in addition to your MAU. Keeping track of your DAU metric can help you get more granular with your data on a daily basis, rather than monthly. 

Knowing how many active users is important, from a business standpoint. You can gauge how useful your app is and how frequently people interact with it. Active users can also be used to determine how effective your marketing campaigns are, which could help drive important business goals and help calculate key metrics. 

The data from MAU may help uncover other important metrics, which rely on active users, including:

MAU also tells you how many people are repeat users, which may help future retention campaigns and initiatives your team or company may have. 

On the flip side, the data from MAU can indicate how many users are churning. Both factors could have an important impact on revenue growth and potential.

Disadvantages of MAU

When it comes to examining MAU, you have to do it with a grain of salt, meaning, the numbers may not be super accurate or in-depth. The issue of inflating MAU is a problem and it’s not the most accurate way to measure such an important metric. 

To illustrate, some companies base their active users on whether a user has logged into their app. It doesn’t account for the user engaging with the app beyond that. This means that MAU may not necessarily be the best way to measure whether users are actually engaged. (Note: Not all companies’ requirements for a user to be labeled as an active user. For example, an active user at X company may need to log in and perform an action in order to be labeled as a MAU.)

The quality of your users is also difficult to gauge. Depending on where your users are coming from, you may get users who are not engaging with your app’s key features, which may again, inflate your numbers. 

Sudden increases or decreases in MAU

Although MAU doesn’t go deep in helping you understand the quality of your users, it’s a great way to monitor sudden spikes, increases, or decreases in users. If your app is featured in the featured section of the Apple App Store, for example, you may see a high volume of installs, which may increase your monthly active users. 

MAU is a high-level metric

Tracking your MAU over time will tell you how engaged your users are and what parts of your app they find most interesting or helpful. You’ll be able to understand how new marketing initiatives or product or feature launches are received by your users. 

You can use MAU to calculate or predict how your users will churn and factor this into your strategy. Doing this can help you improve your overall monthly engagement.

Ready to learn more about how to increase MAU through marketability and engagement? Watch part two of our App Hacks series. (Here’s part one, in case you missed it.)

Learn more about marketability, engagement, and driving profits, with AppLovin’s Head of Games, Keith Kawahata.
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