4 Proven Ways To Increase Daily Active Users (DAU)

6 min read

Daily Active Users (DAU) is the measure of the total number of people that have opened a mobile app on a given day.

Frank L.
Frank L.
Published August 8, 2022

It’s a helpful pulse check on the growth of a product and trends in user behavior. And it gives insight into how many people check your product and the perceived value from the interaction.

But keep in mind that not all apps should use DAU as a measure of success. This is because not all apps are meant for daily use; sometimes, measuring Monthly Active Users is a more accurate measure. For example, Airbnb might be a user’s first choice for booking holiday lodging, but they don’t need to use it every day.

To increase DAU, apps need to provide users with value every single day. Luckily, there are certain features that drive repeat daily app behavior more than others.

1. Deliver Quality From the Onboarding Stage

Delivering quality right from the start improves DAU as it helps users understand the app’s value and ability to solve their problems. Simply put, allow the user to immediately feel accomplishment to drive repeat interaction. You want the app’s value to be obvious.

The first onboarding impression affects a user’s decision to continue engaging with an app or to move onto a more straightforward platform. When it comes to onboarding, 80% of users uninstall an app because they don’t know how to use it. We can avoid users abandoning your product with clear onboarding instructions and walkthroughs.

Onboarding also affects the DAU rate long after the first interaction by capturing important user information that will be useful in the future user experience. During the onboarding stage, apps can capture user information to tailor the user journey to the user’s preference and encourage repeat engaging behaviors.

Todoist, for example, customizes the onboarding experience to the user’s goals, so the app is able to send personalized daily goals and notifications that engage its users. Todoist onboards users with an interactive walkthrough, helpful tips, and questions about their goals and preferences. With the user’s goals and tasks in mind, Todoist personalizes reminders and to-do lists for the user’s goals. This helps send out relevant daily notifications with goals that prompt user action. This is all thanks to customizing the user’s journey from day one and offering relatable and important information.

To improve DAU in the long run, improve the onboarding process to be as fast as possible. So, start with a good first impression with interactive walkthroughs to show off features and helpful tips for value, and ask questions that will help customize the app journey to the user’s needs and goals.

Bonus tip: 69% of customers feel that video content improves the onboarding experience, so get your director’s hat and start filming onboarding material!

2. Create a Community With Activity Feeds

Activity feeds drive daily active behavior thanks to the strong community, sense of belonging, and new information posted regularly on a channel.

Activity feeds lead to daily interaction as new information is available and tailored to users’ interests. Activity feeds are also perceived as genuine and honest platforms for interaction and community building. This sense of community nurtures feelings of belonging and support, which are important for app engagement.

Crunchbase more than doubled its active users and improved its DAU by sending registered active users real-time daily updates about their interests, like new hires, funding, and IPOs. The increase in activity was due to the constant updates and news posted on activity feeds that cater to user interests.

Use activity feeds to prompt users to engage with an app daily. Keep users notified of new activities with push notifications and home screen notification cues. This piques user interest to be up to date with new posts and gives the app value as users constantly learn something each time they open the app.

Stream makes activity feed APIs that are easily integrated into any platform, customizable, and built to scale as your company grows. If you’re interested and want to explore more, try out our activity feed stimulator. Or, this article can help you understand your options: Build vs. Buy: What Product Managers Must Consider Before Developing Activity Feeds.

3. Communicate Helpful Information to Users

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In-app chat keeps users connected, solves problems fast, and keeps users engaged with an app’s features. Chat improves DAU by creating a constant line of support and communication with new users.

Thanks to the new connection between users that requires engagement, communication app categories rank the highest frequency of active users per week in comparison to any other category. And 8 out of 10 of the apps with the highest monthly users in 2022 include in-app chats .

Dealer-FX experienced a 90% user retention rate after adding chat to its platform. The app connects vehicle owners with dealerships to fix car problems. The chat channel connects users with dealership owners instantly. The vehicle owner doesn’t have to go to any third party to figure out information. And simultaneously, the dealership is able to gather all the information required from the client’s history to give an accurate service.

Improve DAU using chats to create a streamlined communication channel between users with the same app interest. Not only does this help users engage with one another through the app, but it also creates a sense of community between users. And chats help resolve problems faster with instant communication. For example, coordinating the exact pickup location with Uber drivers without having to leave the app, thus making steps three times harder or more complicated.

Also, chats motivate users to open an app, thanks to ping notifications and eye-catching little red bubbles on a mobile home screen which prompt the user to open and interact with an app.

Improve user engagement, conversion, and retention with chat APIs that build connections between users and the app. Stream offers chat APIs to directly connect users with other members or groups, offer support, and solve problems instantly. The chat API builds real-time messaging quickly in a highly reliable chat infrastructure with rich SDK features. Take a peek at our demo to learn more about the chat API features.

4. Play Around With Gamification

Gamification improves DAU because it rewards repeat app interaction. Gamification uses motivation and reward as drivers for users to return and perform an action on an app.

The feeling of reward from gamification becomes a source of daily motivation, which makes users interact with an app to achieve a certain level of accomplishment.

Add gamification in apps to prompt users to fulfill specific actions to receive rewards or recognition. The rewards can come in many shapes and forms. From “You’ve completed three workouts this week” to “You’ve hit a three-day streak in learning a language,” each rewards an action to repeat.

For example, Duolingo implements gamification rewards and badges to improve user engagement. The strategy plays off as the app has an impressive 9.1 million DAU and is on a steady yearly increase thanks to the app’s fun features that engage users to learn a language.

Use gamification to improve DAU by adding levels of accomplishment or even social competitions between users and friends. In other words, nurture social competition with challenges between users through your app and keep everyone engaged. By doing so, users will feel a sense of competition and will interact with your app daily to fulfill their challenge, improving DAU.

To include gamification in your app, it can come in the form of rewards and badges, or it can come in the form of levels of completion and engagement. Either way, DAU can be improved when gamification is included to reward the behavior of users and encourage constant interaction with an app in order to receive a certain level of completion.

Personalization Impacts DAU Engagement

The underbelly of DAU improvement is personalization. To improve DAU metrics, you need to be confident that your app offers a personalized experience to every user. Simply put, the more customized the onboarding experience, app journey, and communication channels are, the more engagement your app will receive.

And the good news is that apps are in a unique position where they are able to provide personalized experiences thanks to the amounts of data, purchase history, and behavior trends they store. The improvement of DAU rates depends on how these data points are integrated into the app.

As a little inspiration, POPS, a Southeast Asian digital entertainment company, improved its DAU by 19% by using personalization in its content recommendations through push notifications, in-app messages, and emails.

Your first steps to adding personalization involve a look into user feedback surveys, customer trends, and user journeys to find patterns in behavior. Then, consider whether adding communication features and support will improve interaction or how gamification might take a role in behavior.

Once you’ve got your data ready, personalize features. For example, use data points to send personalized emails, promote special deals that reflect past interests, and recommend features that similar users have enjoyed. Each app interaction is an opportunity to delight and earn active users.

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