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22 May, 2023

What is Monthly Active Users (MAU) and How to Increase it

What is Monthly Active Users (MAU) and How to Increase it
  • This article provides a brief overview of Monthly Active Users (MAU), including how they’re calculated.
  • We will also discuss why they’re a critical indicator for app marketers, their significance and limitations, and how to increase them.

Advertisers should consider several factors when determining an app's state. Monthly active users (MAU) are one of the most important indicators for evaluating the success of an app. You can gauge the significance of your app marketing efforts by looking at monthly active users, which can offer insightful data on user engagement and app retention.

In this article, we'll discuss monthly active users as a metric, go over its benefits and drawbacks, and offer 12 tips for increasing it.

Let's get going.

What is Monthly Active Users (MAU)

MAU stands for Monthly Active Users. It counts the number of people that engaged with your app meaningfully in the last 30 days or calendar month. It is a helpful indicator that works hand in hand with user engagement and retention to assess an app's long-term performance and growth.

An active user can be identified by their email address, username, or unique identification number, and different businesses may define an active user differently. Monitoring monthly active users is specifically helpful for predicting consumer turnover and proactively addressing potential concerns. It must be compared to Daily Active Users (DAU) to offer more insightful data about user behavior and interaction within an app.

Let's take a look at the three aspects that make up monthly active users so that you can fully understand them:

  1. Users: To be counted as an MAU, a user must engage in some activity within the app during a 30-day period. This could be signing in, finishing a particular task, or reaching a certain threshold of actions. No matter how many times a unique user logs in, they get counted only once.
  2. Action: The actions or behaviors that make a user eligible for MAU can be entirely defined by the business. Typically, opening or signing into an app is a simple measure for comparison.
  3. Time frame: Here, the time frame used is either the last month or the 30 days preceding a specific event.

The significance of tracking MAU

Tracking monthly active users is a crucial measure for apps as it offers an overview of how engaged and active users are with the platform each month. It delivers a sense of the size and health of your user base and might provide insight into how well the app is performing.

Also, it's crucial from a business standpoint to understand how your users use, appreciate, and find value in your app. The fact that your app has active users indicates that they are interested in it and you are providing them with useful services.

Apps can use MAU as a key performance indicator to track the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. By analyzing the trends and variations in MAU over time, you can understand the impacts of new mobile app advertising initiatives and optimize your app.

Combining monthly active users with other engagement-related measures can offer a way to estimate:

  • App engagement
  • Retention rate
  • Turnover rate
  • Success rates for certain user acquisition campaigns
  • Revenue growth rate (potential and actual)

It may also serve as the ground for additional measures like Lifetime Value (LTV). Most importantly, it can help you determine how valuable users think your app is.

Tracking monthly active users is important for the following reasons:

Importance of tracking MAUImportance of tracking MAU
  1. Understanding user engagement

    Apps often use MAU as a benchmark for user engagement for their platform. It reveals the frequency of user interaction with your app and might determine if a feature is valuable enough to be used regularly. Then, you may evaluate performance improvements regularly (often monthly, quarterly, or yearly) and spot any noteworthy changes.

  2. Evaluating revenue potential

    Evaluating your app's revenue potential is necessary while developing its business model. This is especially true for apps that offer both a free and a premium version. In general, a higher MAU of the app yields better revenue. Additionally, high monthly active users can also increase subscription revenue.

  3. Comparing performance with competitors

    Many app companies utilize monthly active users to evaluate the effectiveness of their apps. Comparing the development of an app over time to industry benchmarks and competitors is a helpful KPI. For instance, gaming apps often disclose their MAU, enabling opponents and investors to compare their operations to other platforms.

The significance of MAU metrics increases in the Product-Led Growth (PLG) era. The Product-Led Growth strategy depends on the product itself to drive user acquisition, engagement, and retention. This approach often involves enticing new customers by letting them use the product to experience its benefits personally.

By offering information on user acquisition, engagement, and retention, MAU metrics serve as a measure of the success of PLG. In a PLG approach, user feedback and data are used for product enhancements. A high monthly active user count indicates that users are embracing the changes and finding the product enjoyable to use.

Let's discuss some of its limitations now that we know about its significance.

The limitations of monthly active users

Limitations of Monthly Active UsersLimitations of Monthly Active Users
  1. Overlooks user retention

    One drawback of using MAU as a metric is that it overlooks user retention. An example of this constraint is when an app has a consistent number of monthly active users, but only a small number of those users return to the app each month.

  2. Does not take inactive users into consideration

    It frequently does not consider inactive users. This is because when anyone who logs into an app is regarded as an "active user," even if they immediately log out without actually using the app.

  3. Insufficient understanding of user engagement

    MAU can assist apps in determining how users interact with their platform. However, it falls short in describing other facets of user engagement, such as the precise nature of typical user interactions and the motivations behind why consumers interact with companies in the first place.

    For instance, it ignores alternative marketing channels like email advertising, social media marketing, etc., that boost user engagement with a website.

  4. Does not represent the entire user base

    MAU can reflect a company's user base to a certain extent because it only considers active users and offers little insight into the overall user journey. This is because it only considers active users and does not consider users’ experience, including their motivation to use the product, level of engagement, and retention.

How to calculate monthly active users

To calculate monthly active users, add the total number of unique users for each month and divide the sum by the number of months in the period you are analyzing (usually 12). This will give the average number of active users each month.

Although calculating MAU might seem straightforward, it can become more challenging depending on the nature of your activity.

Start with the following to get going:

  1. Designate standards for an active user is although practically all app companies calculate and report the number of monthly active users, there is still no industry standard for what constitutes an active user. While a direct log-in is simple to track, it doesn't tell you much about whether the user used your app or not.

    Consequently, a user who carried out a particular in-app action would be a more helpful definition. The more ambiguous the data is as monthly active users increase or decrease, the less precisely you can indicate an active user.

    If you understand which users to count as "active users," calculating monthly active users is easy. For apps, you may add all the unique visitors to your app over a specific month (for example, 11,000 visitors from April 1 to April 30 = 11,000 MAU).

  2. Establish the frequency of engagement you want to track.

  3. Sum the number of unique users who fit your active user criteria for the given month after gathering the data with your preferred analytics tool. It's vital to keep in mind that the only thing we are estimating here is unique users.

Monthly Active Users formula:

MAU = Total active users / Total downloads

Top 12 strategies for increasing Monthly Active Users

Here are a few actions to boost MAU. These comprise the following:

  1. Push Notifications

    Push notifications, or alerts created by an app even while it's not open, can assist businesses in ensuring that customers remember their brand. Gaming apps typically utilize push notifications to inform users about new gaming features or when a new online tournament is about to start.

    They are one of the best strategies for getting users to return to an app, but if used inappropriately, they can also be one of the quickest ways to lose users. Therefore, choosing the right frequency for sending push alerts is crucial.

    Push notifications should always be about improving your user experience through targeted and relevant communication, never about quantity. Watch your push notification analytics to understand what works and, more importantly, what doesn't so you can increase your MAU numbers.

  2. Email

    To retain users, it is crucial to provide them with a positive user experience and remain on their minds so they will use your app regularly. Your users might need some time to completely utilize your app after downloading it. Sending occasional emails to newly onboarded users is an excellent approach to maintaining high MAU rates while keeping in mind that onboarding is a continual process.

    Email, for instance, might be used to reach out to users who were active once but have since become inactive. It's the least intrusive user acquisition strategy to remind them that they are valued.

    The following exciting updates could be helpful for you.

    • In the case of content-based apps like Facebook, a user who used to be active every day for seven consecutive days but then stopped using the app for three days could value receiving an email with a link to an in-app trending report or article.
    • A well-segmented audience could make the difference between an inactive and an active user.
  3. In-App Messages

    The better your app experience aligns with the needs and preferences of your users, the more likely they will stay on it.

    In-app messages are often not meant to convey urgent calls to action, but they are still relevant notifications to receive. They may contain alerts on app malfunctions, declined payments, or version upgrades.

    By using customized messages that include real-time updates and links to personalized information, you can assure maximum relevance by segmenting your audience based on geography, preferences, usage, or history.

  4. Boost Engagement and Retention

    An app can increase user engagement in several ways, such as by regularly providing users with relevant, helpful content and immediately answering queries or comments. In general, increasing app engagement goes hand in hand with an increase in the number of MAU.

    Since recurring users will add to new ones, an app business can expect to see a similar increase in monthly active users as it works to raise its customer retention rate.

  5. Deep-Linking

    Deep-Linking WorkflowDeep-Linking Workflow

    The core of a true cross-channel strategy is attribution-driven deep linking. It delivers a consistent, seamless user experience throughout the customer journey. This is achieved by connecting all of your isolated channels into one holistic platform.

    Deep linking not only helps you remove as many deterrents off the user's journey but also enables you to forge lasting bonds with your audience and fortify your competitive edge.

  6. Optimize Onboarding

    Due to a lack of understanding of all the features an app offers, some users may stop using it. By guiding new users through the platform's or app's most practical features, businesses can profit from the onboarding process for new users.

  7. Referral Marketing

    Businesses might run a referral marketing campaign to increase MAU. Typically, this entails rewarding current users for introducing their friends, relatives, and coworkers. For instance, users who recommend a friend to the app might get a unique discount coupon or reward after the new user signs up.

  8. Leverage Influencer Marketing

    App advertisers may boost their user base by using influencer marketing. App owners may work with influencers on YouTube, TikTok, and other social media platforms to spread the word about their app and increase the likelihood that it will get more monthly active users.

  9. Use Social Media

    In addition to engaging with influencers, app businesses may promote their app through additional social media features, including postings, interactive content like polls and quizzes, and replies to user comments. They will get word-of-mouth publicity for staying current and putting the requirements of their consumers first, which will help them increase user engagement and MAU.

  10. More Focus on User Experience

    Giving users an engaging and enjoyable user experience is one of the main objectives of app businesses. The utility, ease of use, and entertainment provided during app interaction can help your app business grow user satisfaction and monthly active users.

  11. Utilize a User Acquisition Platform

    Through various marketing strategies, a user acquisition platform can assist you in growing the user base of your mobile app. Paid advertising, organic traffic, and app store optimization (ASO) together will boost the number of monthly active users for app businesses.

Final Words

Now that you understand how to calculate monthly active users and how it might be beneficial, you can include it in your user engagement strategy. However, keep in mind that, like many other business KPIs, the effectiveness of MAU depends on the business, its offers, its competitors, and its audience.

Your monthly active users and general user engagement will increase if you can anticipate churn and communicate with your users via email or in-app communications.

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