If you're wondering how to increase monthly active users for your app, then you're on the right track toward business growth. Monthly active users (MAU) is a key metric in understanding how your app is performing and can give you a deeper insight into your marketing efforts and customers' needs.
You've probably heard of the saying: If you build it, they will come. But what if you build it well, they come, and then they go? That doesn't sound like a very effective business model. Below, we'll dive into what MAU is, why it's vital for your app, how to calculate it and what you can do to increase it.
How to increase MAU:
All about MAU: An app marketer’s FAQ
MAU measures the number of unique users that opened your app within the past 30 days. However, this number does not indicate whether they are new or returning customers, nor does it specify how active they were. You can track MAU on your app through unique identifiers, such as usernames, email addresses, phone numbers, or other forms of authentication.
How to measure MAU: calculation formula and tools to use
Since MAU is the total number of monthly active users in a given month, the formula is very simple:
By the past month, a tool you use to track MAU can mean a period of time between the first and the last day of any given month (so, for example it will be 1–28 or 1–29 in February and 1–31 in July).
Alternatively, a tool may track MAU for the period between the same dates of consecutive months, for example, between July 15 and August 15.
In Pushwoosh, both options are available on the Statistics dashboard.
To answer another question you have: what tools can you use to calculate MAU? — the short answer will be: you can track your number of MAU in Pushwoosh.
Why is MAU important for apps?
MAU is a crucial metric in helping you gauge the success of your app and can help you understand the rate at which it's growing, if at all.
If you are unaware of how many people use your app and what factors affect those numbers, then it will be hard for you to make intelligent decisions about where best to focus development and marketing resources.
Witnessing steady increases in your MAU over the months means your business is taking a larger market share which can impress investors and help you secure funding.
Furthermore, MAU, combined with other qualifying metrics, can be a valuable tool for benchmarking against your competitors. In many cases, your MAU metrics will also determine the prices you pay for marketing tech tools that will help you further improve your app's performance.
The tricky part about tracking MAU
While MAU can be useful for measuring the success of your app and identifying opportunities to optimize marketing efforts, there are some things you should watch out for. If taken out of context, it can potentially skew your understanding of your app's performance and lead you down a path of false conclusions that can be detrimental to your marketing efforts.
If you base your decision solely on your MAU, you can never confidently say that the number of users is growing organically or if users are coming to your app because they enjoy it. For example, imagine a user downloading your app after seeing an engaging ad for it and then deleting it soon after because the expectations that led them to install the app were not met. Situations like this can cause your MAU numbers to spike if you attract lots of traffic through advertising but drop rapidly after your ad campaigns come to an end.
As it turns out, MAU is a type of vanity metric that doesn't necessarily prove you're attracting a relevant audience or doing a good job of retaining them.
Nevertheless, there are app categories that should track MAU
Media apps should pay close attention to their MAU since the percentage of users opening their apps is crucial for their business. This is because the more people flood to your app, the greater the potential for advertising revenue. So if you're a media company or any other kind of app that relies heavily on ad revenue, MAU is a metric worth tracking.
For all other types of apps, tracking MAU is beneficial but should never be used as a key performance indicator (KPI) for business effectiveness or app health.
Metrics to track in addition to tracking MAU
Sometimes, MAU just doesn't cut it, and you might need help from other metrics to see the whole story. Here are some additional metrics that can help you better understand MAU and measure success for your app:
The stickiness of your app is a clear indicator of how valuable it is to users. A high stickiness rate can indicate that users come to rely on or love your app so much that they use it daily. Key features usually present in sticky apps are a loyal following, low user churn, and high engagement levels. This can be seen in a movie-streaming application or a gaming platform where users are highly engaged and use the application regularly.
By measuring the stickiness rate combined with MAU, you can begin to understand more about how valuable your app is and what features are driving user engagement.
New vs. Returning users ratio
Tracking the percentage of new users against the percentage of returning users to your app can help you analyze and bring to light audience behavior and engagement levels. Striking the right balance highly depends on the type of industry you are in and what your goals are for your app. For example, if you're still in your growth stage and looking to get your app seen by as many people as possible, you might focus on engaging new customers. At the same time, returning customers will be the driving force behind your app's growth, especially if you have a loyal user base who loves your product.
Referral metrics have to do with how well your users are referring to your app and can give you an insight into the organic growth of your business.
In app marketing, word of mouth and referrals are as effective as in any other domain. You can see the leading apps rely on the power of referrals:
By tracking referral metrics, you can get an idea of how your users are spreading the word about your app and whether these actions are resulting in real conversions.
App retention rate is the number of users who continue using an app over a period of time, expressed as a percentage. Retention rate is a key metric in mobile app marketing that can tell you how well your app is performing and how likely users are to stay with the product. A low retention rate indicates a problem with either user experience, branding, or both.
MAU benchmarks 
It's important to remember that not all apps are built for the same audience or purpose. Therefore, benchmarks are bound to differ for monthly active users depending on what industry you're in and whether you're an iOS or Android developer.
As you can see below, subscription-based apps tend to perform favorably across both platforms, while media and streaming apps dominate Android but fall behind in the iOS space.
Don't forget to take all of this into consideration when comparing your app to these benchmarks in order to be able to make a more accurate assessment of where you stand against your competitors.
Build your strategy for MAU increase on these three pillars
If you've consistently seen little growth in your MAU, then it's time to get back to the drawing board and re-evaluate your strategy. Working towards boosting your DAU will naturally result in improvements in your MAU numbers, so here are some tips on how you can effectively do so.
1. Nail down the onboarding
Delivering value from the get-go through highly personalized in-app messages, push notifications, and emails will keep users engaged and excited for what's to come.
2. Improve your opt-in process
Make your opt-in process pleasant and rewarding for users via in-app messaging or push notifications. Your communication efforts will depend on the number of subscribers you have and will keep users motivated to engage daily with your app.
3. Leverage on-point communications tailored to user behavior
Make sure to keep users connected and informed on everything you have to offer with highly personalized and relevant communications. Tailored event-triggered messaging allows you to reach the right audience at just the right moment and build valuable relationships that will turn users into loyal customers.
A successful communication campaign will ultimately impact both DAU and MAU and can skyrocket your app's growth. With Pushwoosh, you can engage your customers through every stage of your app lifecycle. Accompany your users on their journey with push notifications, in-app messages, emails, SMS, and WhatsApp messages — this will help you engage users, increase conversions and ultimately grow your business.
The segments you should aim to target specifically are users who haven't opened the app for 30 days or more. You can re-engage these users and get them back into your app by utilizing out-of-the-app communication channels such as push notifications and emails:
Make sure your communications can actually be delivered to your target users:
☐ Do Reachability Check to see if you are still allowed to send push notifications to a particular user. If not, refer to email as an alternative channel.
☐ Track if a user has opened your push notification — if not, you may want to send another push with a similar message.
9 Ways to increase MAU in your specific industry
As you are well aware, each industry has its own unique challenges and opportunities. To help you find the most effective strategy for your app, we've outlined some tips to keep in mind that will help you increase your DAU and, in turn, boost your MAU.
- Re-engage dormant players
Send recovery pushes to those who haven't been active in the game for 30/60/90 days. For example, you can include a message such as "See what you've missed in these [x] days" or "Get back into the action with these features”. With a Deep Link, you can take users directly to the screen where they will find all the updates.
- Promote special offers
You can also target users who have made in-app purchases and use push notifications to present them with special offers or items you think will interest them.
Below are examples from a Pushwoosh customer, Beach Bum, that tripled its CTRs, MAU, and the total number of subscribers with well-targeted promo messages! Read the case study.
EXTRA TIP: Incorporate daily offers. By doing so, Bladestorm, the publisher of the popular GC.SKINS app and a Pushwoosh customer, boosted their MAU by 16.62% in eight months and even increased their revenue! Learn more in the success story.
- Do a cross-promo
If your company has several games that are similar to one another, you can increase MAU by promoting other games in your portfolio or even rewarding users for engaging with your other games. An example of this could be a message like: "Like playing [this type of game]? Check out [a new game]." or "Enjoying [this type of game]? Then you will love [a new game].
Media streaming apps
- Recommend more content to consume
You can use push notifications to suggest additional content based on a viewer's/listener’s preferences. For example, if a user just finished watching their favorite TV drama and they don't have any more episodes to watch, send them a push notification with a suggestion for another show in the same genre.
Or, like Spotify, suggest they listen to their favorite performers on repeat:
A simple "You may also like..." message is powerful because it shows users that you're aware of their interests and gives them an easy way to discover new content.
Even though MAU certainly shouldn't be a top-priority metric for e-commerce apps, it's still worth monitoring. By doing so, you can keep your audience engaged and have a chance to promote relevant offers that could lead to more sales or signups.
- Increase current customers’ activity
You can get your least active customers back to shopping by sending them push notifications with new promotions.
For maximum effectiveness, add a product recommendation to your message and target it based on the shopper’s previous purchase history.
EXTRA TIP: Event-triggered messaging can stimulate real purchases! Target users who left any items in their carts and encourage them to complete the order. Read more tips for boosting your e-commerce sales.
- Attract shoppers from the web to your mobile app
To increase your user base and subsequently boost MAU, you can also move users from web to mobile for a more holistic experience. People now more than ever are using their phones for everything they do, with recent studies showing that the average person spends between 4h25min and 10h46min daily on their mobile device. Mobile apps can offer users a much more reliable and personalized experience that allows them to easily browse and shop with convenience and speed, even on the go. Ultimately, maintaining a great user experience is key to increasing your MAU and growing your user base. So make sure to incorporate special offers and features your customers can only access via your mobile app, for example:
Grow your MAU with on-point messaging
There is no magic algorithm that MAU will help you discover for improving your app's success. However, by measuring and interpreting your MAU correctly while simultaneously implementing appropriate strategies for your industry, you can better understand your app's health and boost its success through your marketing efforts. Your success will ultimately rely upon how you can harness the power of your data and create compelling and engaging interactions that drive user acquisition and retention.
If you aim to increase your MAU, Pushwoosh has the best marketing communication solutions for an automated experience like no other. Get in touch with our team today.