The Importance of DAU/MAU as an Engagement Metric and its Limitations


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 09, 2023

3 min read


The Importance of DAU/MAU as an Engagement Metric and its Limitations

In the world of product development and marketing, the measurement of engagement is crucial. One metric that is often used to evaluate engagement is DAU/MAU (Daily Active Users/Monthly Active Users). It provides valuable insights into the user base and their level of interaction with the product. However, DAU/MAU has its limitations and may not be the most suitable metric for evaluating every product's success.

When it comes to evaluating the product-market fit (PMF) using DAU/MAU, it is important to consider the nature versus nurture aspect. Some products naturally lend themselves to high frequency and retention rates, making DAU/MAU a useful guide. If your product is heavily supported by advertisements and relies on high frequency and retention, DAU/MAU can provide valuable information about its success.

However, if your product has the potential to monetize well, build network effects, or does not show a natural inclination towards high frequency and retention, it is important to consider other metrics as well. Relying solely on DAU/MAU in such cases may not accurately reflect the product's potential and success.

One alternative metric that can provide valuable insights is user interviews. By conducting user interviews, you can gain a deeper understanding of how users perceive your website, application, product, or process. User interviews create an environment where users feel relaxed, trusted, and comfortable enough to share their thoughts and experiences. This enables you to gather valuable feedback and uncover valuable insights.

To make user interviews effective, it is important not to rush the process. Users should not feel pressured or rushed during the interview. The questions should be open-ended and not leading or closed-ended. By allowing users to freely express their thoughts and experiences, you can gather more authentic and valuable insights.

It is also important to note the difference between user interviews and usability testing. While both methods provide valuable information, they do not necessarily indicate whether users will actually use the design in practice. Human memory is imperfect, and users may not remember events accurately or completely. Additionally, participants may not be aware of what is important to the interviewer and may omit certain details they consider insignificant.

In conclusion, while DAU/MAU is a valuable metric for evaluating engagement, it is important to consider its limitations and explore other metrics and methods, such as user interviews, to gain a comprehensive understanding of your product's success. Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Don't rely solely on DAU/MAU for evaluating product success. Consider other metrics that align with your product's unique characteristics and goals.
  • 2. Conduct user interviews to gain deeper insights into user perceptions and experiences. Create an environment that fosters trust and openness to encourage users to share valuable feedback.
  • 3. Remember the differences between user interviews and usability testing. User interviews provide subjective insights while usability testing focuses on the practicality and usability of the design. Both methods have their place in evaluating a product's success.

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