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Daily active users (DAUs) is a metric used to gauge the stickiness of your app. DAUs literally measure the number of users who engage in some way with your app at least once a day.
For many mobile apps and online brands, daily active users is the primary metric for growth and for engagement.
Daily active users are your most highly prized customers –whether or not they’ve actually converted – because they are the ones most engaged with your product and the ones most likely to evangelize your app to their networks.
In many cases, to be considered active, users need only view your app or launch it. Although it would be ideal if that daily activity involves engaging with your app in a meaningful way, many companies choose to simply base the DAU metric on opening the app.
The big problem with relying on DAUs is that when publicity comes around and your app is covered in mainstream media for example, you may suddenly face a deluge of new users and new downloads. “We increased DAUs by 100x!”
But when this metric is simply defined by opening or logging in, it does not really measure the usage and true engagement within your app.
If you want to measure real usage, it won’t be in the DAU metric. You need to look at other measurements such as click-through rates, or usage of specific features in your app. Look at engagement, look at habits and patterns in usage.