Daily Active Users (DAU) and how to get them

Check out the video below.

I know, you’re sick of hearing about Pokemon Go, and the hype has definitely died down a bit, but it is still breaking records when it comes to daily active users (DAU). The game is beating out major players like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. What can we learn from this and other successful high DAU apps?

These 5 tips will help get you in the know and help guide you to more daily active users on YOUR app.

When you find your good fit, take advantage

The world is full of ideas. Some work and some don’t, but what we all need to be reminded of in app development is the importance to test to see if people care about your idea. When you find users like a certain idea or feature of your app, take advantage of that. It may take a while to figure out what holds your users’ attention, but once you do, don’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of this knowledge.


Your app should message and engage users when they are most likely to engage with your app. Think about your users and ask yourself what your audience would likely be doing throughout their day and when are they most likely to want or need to use your app. When you’ve pinned that down — take action and make sure you’re engaging with them at the most opportune time.

Analytics is your friend: find out when people are on your app and message your users before that time or in other ways that might encourage them to come back. Get to know your users specific patterns by testing, then measure and repeat so you’re continuously monitoring their use of your app.

Get Specific

There are good ways and bad ways to message people. Its critical that you take your communication with users seriously. One badly written or non-specific message can lead to that person uninstalling in a flash. Make sure your verbiage is appropriate for your users; awareness of your audience is key in knowing when to use more casual or formal language in messaging.

Example: A user goes to make a purchase on a clothing store’s app. The user added the item to their cart, then got distracted by the Facebook icon on the store’s app, they go to Facebook and forget about the item waiting in their cart.

So the user bailed out of checking out.

How do we get them back?

A generic, “Hey, come back and check out” push-message isn’t enough. Through experience, we’ve seen that a specific language in push-messages are more effective.

The specific message is more descriptive and has a higher likelihood of having users come back to checkout with the item they put in their cart. I mean who woudnt be excited about those funky Dino socks!

Dont “spray and pray”

This is similar to tip 3 but more about not being annoying to your users. The quality of messaging for apps is crucial as you don’t have time and space to have large pieces of content. There is a concept of “spray and pray” notifications in this industry — we don’t recommend this! Think about your user, figure out what they are into, then target those segments with clever messages.

Generic Message — New socks in stock.
Specific Message — Did you dig those Dino socks? Come check out some new socks we just got in stock.

This stuff isn’t rocket science but not being lazy and spending this extra effort makes a huge difference in your DAU.


Listen to your users. Your users are your best resource for knowing what to do next or what to improve upon in your ever evolving app development. Create a compelling experience then keep innovating.

Here’s an example of one successful product (that you probably have heard of) that shifted their entire product due to user feedback. It started out as a game to compete with Gang Wars. Users liked the filters they had on their photo check-ins and wrote about it to the app developer. That app became what we now know as Instagram. They listened to their users and pivoted appropriately.

One of the mistakes people tend to make is they listen to one user or the one user who complains the loudest, and change their strategy based on this. As always, thoughtfulness is essential when making business decisions. Our point here is to make sure to take into consideration the feedback you get from users and user research — you might think you know exactly what your users want/need, but you may be wrong. Take heed.

Edited with the help of Lindsey Miller.
Erin is the Creative Director for Webonise. You can find out more here:

Originally published at blog.webonise.com.
Strategy | November 10, 2016