WAU vs MAU: When To Use Each Metric?

WAU vs MAU: When To Use Each Metric explanation

If you want to measure user engagement, you've likely come across both WAU and MAU, which respectively stand for weekly active users and monthly active users. These metrics are some of the most useful ways to measure customer engagement, customer retention, the number of unique users, the number of active users, and much, much more.

But, a question often presents itself. Which one is more useful Weekly Active Users or Monthly Active Users? What are the differences between them? When to choose one metric over another? In this blog post, we'll answer all these questions and more!

Why Are WAU and MAU Important?

Capturing the number of active users over a constant period is one of the most important things a web/app developer can do. It gives you a lot of insight into a few key metrics that will if taken in aggregate, help you gauge your project's success. This is why, oftentimes, WAU and MAU are used as the be-all of how successful your app/website is, with some app stores directly showing the number to users to help inform their decision.

  • It helps you understand user behaviour: understanding how your users behave when using your platform is very important. Are there certain holidays when your app is more popular? Does the use of your app fluctuate according to the season? Do you have a variable or a static user base? All these questions can be answered by measuring WAU & MAU.
  • It helps you gauge the number of unique users: Understanding the number of unique users your app has over weekly and monthly periods is very important. It helps inform your decision-making regarding investments, feature developments, and much more. It is a very valuable statistic that you always need to keep an eye on.
  • It helps you measure sentiments regarding changes and updates: How did customers react to the latest changes? Was a new update well received by your community? Has it impacted customer engagement? By measuring and actively keeping track of daily active users and monthly active users, you can answer these questions definitively, and if need be, release bug fixes and course correct very quickly if you realise your community isn't happy.

All of these are valuable insights that you simply can't do without, which is why you need to gauge WAU & MAU.

WAU Advantages Over MAU

Though WAU and MAU are very similar metrics, they do have some key differences, and by understanding WAU's advantages over MAU, you can use these metrics more judiciously.

  • WAU is better at keeping track of community sentiments in the short term: Have you just released an update and are worried it won't be well received? Well, by the time it is reflected in monthly active users, the damage might have been done already. WAU is far more reactive to short-term fluctuations in customer engagement, and this is very valuable to keep track of updates, changes, new feature releases and more.
  • WAU is better at giving you a micro view of the data: Is your app popular during a specific holiday week? This might not be large enough for your MAU to pick up, but by keeping track of WAU and measuring it closely, you can detect these small changes in user behaviour and react accordingly. Though this might not seem meaningful on the macro scale, by being involved in the data and making small changes, you can increase customer engagement and improve your app/website's performance.

MAU Advantages Over WAU

In the same way, WAU has some advantages over MAU, MAU also shines in some areas where WAU doesn't, and we'll go over them here.

  • MAU is a much better indicator of the macro performance of your app: How is your app doing? There's a reason why financial data is only released every quarter. Weekly and daily numbers have a lot of variation, so it can be hard to distinguish how your app is doing. But if your MAU is constantly increasing month by month, you can be sure your app is doing very well.
  • MAU helps you distinguish the signal from the noise: In many instances, WAU fluctuations can be just due to random chance. This is called noise. You might think there's a pattern, but it is in reality just natural fluctuations. You'll miss this, however, if you keep track of WAU alone. By contrasting MAU with WAU, you can distinguish the signal from the noise and make much more informed decisions regarding your performance.

The WAU/MAU Ratio

The WAU/MAU refers to the ratio between your weekly active users and your monthly active users. It is a metric commonly used to calculate user engagement, measure changes in user behavior and much more. Though it depends on the industry, size of your company, and type of project, a WAU/MAU ratio of 0.3 to 0.5 is considered the goal for most businesses.

What Does The WAU/MAU Ratio Tell You?

The WAU/MAU ratio is invaluable when tracking revenue, engagement, and performance. It gives you a multifaceted view of how your app is doing.

  • User investment: How invested are users in your app? Do they keep coming back to it each week or do they rarely use it every month? This is the primary question the WAU/MAU ratio answers. Understanding just how invested your users are in your product is very valuable when tracking both revenue projection and marketing.
  • Attractiveness to new users: While a very low WAU/MAU ratio is bad, a very high one is bad as well. It means that while you have a very dedicated core of users, your project is not very welcoming to new ones. In this case, you can improve performance by making changes that will appeal to new users.
  • Sudden shifts in sentiment: A large change in the WAU/MAU ratio indicates sudden shifts in user behavior that needs to be investigated further. This could be due to several reasons, but it is a warning sign that you need to pay attention to.

Which is Better, WAU or MAU?

This post has hopefully illustrated that neither is definitively better than the other. WAU and MAU teach you about different facets of user behavior and help you create a more complete picture.

Both WAU & MAU are two of the most informative and vital metrics you can keep track of, and measuring both and calculating the WAU/MAU ratio is not only ideal but necessary if you want to properly measure how your app is performing, project revenue accurately, and get an understanding of the market.

- Releasecat Team

Releasecat Team


Also check out our other articles: