What is MAU and how is it calculated?

What is MAU, just one of the critical application metrics, and what should be considered when calculating?
What is MAU?
What is MAU (Monthly Active Users)? How is it calculated?

Whether you’re seeking investment from venture capital or keeping statistics reports on your new venture or app, you’ll always have specific numbers to keep an eye on.

Monthly active users (MAU) is one of the metrics that can provide more insight into the overall health of your business. In this article, we’ll cover why active users are essential, what MAU is, how it can be calculated, and why it’s a valuable metric.

Who uses MAU and how?

Companies do not use the same parameters when calculating MAU; there is no specific industry standard to define key terms like “user” and “activity.” For this reason, it is believed by some that the metric creates unfair comparisons among competitors. Others think that the MAU is only helpful with other qualifying metrics.

As a quantitative assessment, MAU merely tabulates the number of visitors; no components describe the depth or quality of a user’s experience. When calculating the MAU, some companies consider a user to be someone who accesses their site. For other businesses, the user is the one who creates the login and password. And yet, for others, an active user must meet specific other requirements.

Facebook Monthly Active Users
MAU data for 2018 and 2019 from Meta, which used the Facebook name in the past.

For example, Meta, formerly Facebook, defines a user as someone who actively interacts with the Facebook site “by liking, sharing, commenting, sending a message or clicking another link.” Facebook considers a user “active” if they have engaged in these ways in the past month. If a user does not interact with the site for 30 days, Facebook considers that user “inactive” and does not count them as monthly active users.

Twitter, on the other hand, considers users who follow at least 30 accounts and are followed by at least one third of these accounts as “active”. Twitter’s system calculates the MAU by taking the number of “active users logged in” in the past month.

How is MAU calculated in mobile games?

One of the biggest challenges on the mobile gaming is that many games that want to attract attention are available in the market. When activity and retention are your critical issues, you’ll need a KPI that captures the essence of both. All games track the total number of unique users active each month, known as MAUs (Monthly Active Users), but capture neither user frequency nor user retention alone.

Choose how will you define the activity

This step is crucial in determining how valuable your MAU measurement is. This could be something as simple as a user signing in. Login may be an essential metric for your product, but it probably won’t tell you much about whether the user uses the product. A more useful definition would be to perform a specific action on your product. For example, if you have a mobile game, you can add daily login rewards to measure active users. The less precise your definition of active user is, the more fuzzy the data will be as the MAU grows or shrinks.

Measure the number of users who fit this description in a given month

Once you’ve decided what an active user is, you need to measure how many are logged in in a month. Here, it’s important to remember that each user is only counted once a month, as the goal is to measure unique users only. It is possible to follow a similar method to get the number of daily or weekly active users.

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