DAU vs WAU: Everything You Need to Know to Compare These Two Metrics

Dau vs Wau - Calculation And Ratio

Daily Active Users (DAU) and Weekly Active Users (WAU), as their names suggest, measure the number of unique users your platform receives daily and weekly. Though they appear simple on the surface, both metrics do a great deal in helping companies measure both user retention and user engagement. It also helps more accurately project revenues and predict user behavior.

But how exactly are DAU and WAU different? Is one better than the other? Can you use both combined to come up with other useful metrics? In this post, we'll answer all these questions and more! Continue reading and learn more about these two key performance indicators (KPIs).

Why Are DAU and WAU Important?

If you want to know how your mobile app or website is doing and ways you can improve revenues and performance, you need to keep track of a few metrics. Among the most important among which are DAU and MAU. Here are just a few of the ways DAU and WAU can help:

  • They help you keep track of unique active users: If you were limited to only a single piece of information to evaluate the success of a mobile app/website, the number of unique users would be it. It is, bar none, the biggest indicator of how your app is doing. Both DAU and WAU give you information about the number of unique active users on two important timescales, daily and weekly. This is invaluable.
  • They help you measure changes in user engagement: Changes in user engagement can have a profound impact on your business, from revenue to popularity. Without high engagement, you'll likely see little success. Both WAU and DAU measure engagement on different time scales, and both are important in helping you notice and respond to changes in customer engagement.
  • They help you make more informed business decisions: When you calculate revenue projections, when you make investment decisions, when you plan new features, in every one of these scenarios, you need to look at the DAU and the WAU of your project to be more accurate. They are simply metrics you can't do without if you want to make good business decisions.

DAU Advantages Over WAU

Though DAU is often considered the least helpful among all three common metrics Daily Active Users (DAU), Weekly Active Users (WAU), and Monthly Active Users (MAU), it still has several advantages vis-a-vis WAU and MAU that you simply can't overlook.

  • DAU can capture fluctuations lost on WAU metrics: Daily Active Users is simply a more precise measurement than WAU as it captures the number of unique users each day. This isn't always useful, and you shouldn't base your decisions entirely on it, as in many cases, it is similar to keeping track of daily fluctuations in the stock market. But, keeping with the analogy, just like the stock market, if massive changes in the number of active users have occurred, either positive or negative, it is usually a sign that something has happened. By keeping track of DAU, you can respond better and more quickly.
  • DAU can help you learn how many new users you've attracted: You're a developer with multiple mobile apps, and you just premiered an ad on Prime TV, how are you tracking its performance? While the long-tail performance matters, how many users the ad has attracted is measured far more accurately by the DAU. This is one among many examples where the shorter period of the DAU compared to the WAU is an advantage.

WAU Advantages Over DAU

WAU, for its part, also has certain advantages over DAU that you need to keep in mind.

  • WAU is more reliable than DAU: A lot of changes in DAU can be due to happenstance and don't mean anything. If you look at daily active user numbers, exclusively, you'll sometimes see patterns when none exist. That's why it is very important to make sure you also measure active users on longer timescales to be able to properly contextualize daily numbers, and WAU is exactly that metric that helps you accomplish this.

The DAU/WAU Ratio: Everything You Need to Know

Not only do DAU and WAU have distinct advantages, but they are great together as well. The DAU/WAU ratio is a key metric many companies rely on to measure changes in user engagement, the impact of marketing, and much more.

You calculate it by dividing your DAU number by the WAU number, and it usually hovers around 0.2 and 0.4 depending on the industry and the size of your platform.

What Does the DAU/WAU Ratio Tell Me?

Though the DAU/WAU ratio might appear deceptively simple, it can tell you a number of very important pieces of information about your platform/mobile apps, and here are just a few examples:

  • How dedicated is your user base? An app having a dedicated set of users is generally considered a positive since it correlates with higher spending and a more resilient app that's immune to changes in the market. This is exactly what a high DAU/WAU ratio signifies. It means your users find a lot of utility in your platform and they regularly come back to it. A very low DAU/WAU ratio, however, means that very few of your users stick around after the first try, and that's a very strong sign you should make changes.
  • What is your platform's revenue potential? Understanding the revenue potential of your app and acting to maximize it is very important. After all, it doesn't matter how many active users an app has if it doesn't generate revenues. By paying attention to the DAU/WAU ratio, you can better gauge how engaged your active users are and tailor your marketing and monetization model to fit that level of engagement.
  • Is your app welcoming to new users? Not only does the DAU/WAU ratio tell you how engaged current users are, but it also tells you how appealing your app is to new users. If your app has a really high DAU/WAU ratio (upwards of 0.9), it means that very few people who try your app for the first time stick around. You can work to fix this to retain more of your new users and increase the overall monthly active users' count. Welcoming new users is very important for the long-term health and viability of your platform. No matter how dedicated your core users are, without appealing to new ones, your app won't last long.

Conclusion: Is DAU or WAU Definitively Better?

While questions like WAU vs DAU, DAU vs MAU, and WAU vs MAU common and pervasive, this blog post hopefully shows that these are not necessarily the right frame through which you should be looking at these topics. Not only do both DAU and WAU play an important part, but the ratio between the two helps inform CEOs and app owners of business realities and improves their decision making.

- Releasecat Team

Releasecat Team


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