What is WAU: Everything You Need to Know About a Key User Engagement Metric

What is WAU?

If you've spent any time looking up marketing, web development, or business intelligence, you've probably stumbled across the acronym WAU. Weekly Active Users, or WAU, is a measure of the number of active users a website/platform has in a week. It is one of the most important metrics sites and business owners can use to measure user engagement, activity, and behavior.

What makes WAU so important? How do you calculate "active" users? Are there ways to increase your platform's WAU? In this comprehensive blog post, we'll be answering all these questions and more!

Why Is WAU Important?

At first glance, you might not see the importance and utility of WAU, because, just how much measuring active users weekly will tell us about our customers, products, and business model? And the answer is, surprisingly a lot. There are many reasons why measuring weekly active users is a very important metric you can gain a ton of information.

  • It helps you learn the user retention rate: Retaining users is very important. The cost of acquiring new users is much higher than keeping existing ones invested in your products/services, especially in some industries, if you have low user retention rates, your business will quickly die. By keeping track of and measuring WAU, you have an easy and reliable way to periodically gauge user retention rates.
  • It helps with tracking unique users over a meaningful time period: By keeping track of weekly data, you have an amazing way to learn about the number of unique users visiting your platform/website/app. Then you can use that number to gauge conversion rates, retention rates, and a variety of other useful metrics.
  • It helps measure improvements in approach: learning what works and what doesn't is very important for the long-term health of a website/app. You need to constantly innovate and improve if you want to stay competitive, and WAU gives you a robust, easy-to-measure metric where you can measure your performance over an extended period of time. Unlike daily active users, WAU isn't as prone to daily fluctuations, which makes it a good metric to measure medium-term performance as you introduce new products/features, make changes to the app/website, and more.

How Do You Calculate WAU?

Though calculating weekly active users seems simple enough, there are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want it to be rigorous and reliable.

  • Define what an active user is: What is being "active"? Does visiting your website twice a week count as active? Does spending 15 minutes on your app? While being "active" might sound simple at first glance, the definition is wildly different across platforms and industries. And before you can properly measure monthly active users, weekly active users, or daily active users, you need to have a precise definition of the word.
  • Collect the data: After you've set out and clearly defined what it means for a user to be active, now is the time to collect data to be able to calculate the WAU. Whether it is an app or a website, collecting the data should be simple. There are multiple tools and programs you can use to automatically do it with minimal technical knowledge.
  • Clean the data and draw insights from it: Usually, the raw data you get over a certain time period includes a lot of false flags, unreliable information, and other noise, and you need to clean it up and make sure users are properly sorted into active and inactive users. Once you do that, you can draw meaningful insights from the data like how is your company doing across weekly trends, what improvement you can make, how certain segments of users interact with your app, and much more.

Tips on Increasing WAU

Increasing engagement over a weekly time period isn't simple. It is very hard to predict how changes will influence user behavior and interactions with mobile apps and websites. However, there are some simple tips you can rely on to improve WAU.

#1 Make Users Remember Your App/Website Exists

Whether it is through in-app messages, push notifications, or emails, there are a multitude of ways you can make sure users pay attention to your app/website. Though you have to be careful to not appear spammy, making sparse use of these means to gently remind your users of your app and what you have to offer is not only acceptable but a necessary business practice if you want to increase WAU.

#2 Learn What Works and What Doesn't

One of the main reasons why should you use WAU is its ability to give you insights into what works and what doesn't, and you should fully leverage that to your advantage. Are there specific landing pages that drive a lot of activity? Has your app seen little use after a major update? By closely keeping an eye on WAU and how your users behave, you can quickly tell what works and what doesn't so you can make the necessary changes to drive higher weekly and monthly active users.

#3 Marketing

Effective marketing is one of the most effective ways to drive higher WAU and improve most other important metrics as well. It is absolutely vital if you want to get your app/website in front of new unique users.

However, you should be careful regarding how the marketing campaigns are run. You need to track conversion rates, bounce rates, and other metrics to make sure you're getting a proper return on investment.

- Releasecat Team

Releasecat Team


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