April 24, 2024

Increasing Active Users for Your App - The Complete Guide

In this article, we'll discuss the significance of active users, how to calculate it and provide strategies for boosting your active users in the app.

Ananya Vairavarajan

What are active users?

An active user refers to someone who interacts with an app during a specific timeframe. This measurement provides app developers and marketers with valuable information about their app's expansion, user engagement, and retention.

They are more likely to engage with your app, make in-app purchases, and recommend it to others. Therefore, increasing the number of active users is crucial to sustain the growth of your mobile app.

Why do active users matter for mobile apps?

Active users are the lifeblood of any mobile app. Listed below is the role of active users in driving engagement, retention, and revenue.

Role of active users in engagement and retention

  • Active users drive engagement within the app, fostering a sense of community.
  • This in turn leads to the retention of those active users by regularly using and interacting with the app.
  • Retained users are more likely to recommend the app to others, contributing to its growth.
  • High retention rates indicate a loyal and satisfied user base which helps us in knowing some key metrics like Life Time Value (LTV)

Active users and revenue generation

  • Active users contribute to revenue generation for the app.
  • Their engagement makes the app more valuable to advertisers.
  • Advertisers are willing to invest more in apps with a large and active user base.
  • In-app purchases made by active users also contribute to revenue.
  • Increasing the number of active users can lead to more revenue opportunities.


DAU, MAU, and WAU have commonly used metrics in the world of app analytics to measure user engagement and activity. Let's break down what each of these metrics represents:

  1. DAU (Daily Active Users): DAU measures the number of unique users who interact with an app daily. It reflects the app's daily user engagement and can be an indicator of its popularity and stickiness.
  2. MAU (Monthly Active Users): MAU represents the count of unique users who engage with an app over a monthly period. It provides a broader view of the app's user base and can help assess its overall growth and user retention.
  3. WAU (Weekly Active Users): WAU measures the number of unique users who actively use an app within a week. It offers a more frequent snapshot of user engagement compared to MAU, providing insights into shorter-term trends and fluctuations.

Here's a table summarizing the differences between these metrics:


How to calculate active users?

Calculating active users may seem simple in theory, but it can become more complex based on how you define user activity. It depends heavily on your company's long-term growth goals and business model.

Important steps to follow while calculating the active users:

  1. Define the criteria for an active user.
  2. Determine the frequency of engagement you want to measure (DAU, WAU, MAU).
  3. Collect the data using your preferred analytics tool and tally the number of unique users who meet your active user criteria for each time period.

Lets take an example for a fintech mobile app.

  • Criteria – app user logged in, made a transaction, or checked account balance
  • Frequency of engagement – DAU

On day X, the following engagements were registered:

  • User 1 logged into the app, checked their account balance, and made a transaction.
  • User 2 logged into the app but did not perform any actions.
  • User 3 logged into the app, checked their account balance, and made multiple transactions.
  • User 1 logged back into the app and made another transaction.

Bottom line: Our DAU count adds up to 2. Here's why:

  • User 1 is an active user (counted once) because they engaged in transactions and account balance checks.
  • User 2 is not considered active as they did not perform any actions.
  • User 3 is also an active user because they engaged in transactions and account balance checks.

5 ways to increase active users in your app

Effective onboarding journey for quick activation

The initial interaction users have with your app revolves around the onboarding process, highlighting the importance of streamlining this crucial stage.

Without an efficient onboarding process, user dropout rates increase, hindering the opportunity for a user becoming an active user.

Product Hunt uses tooltips for app onboarding to help activate its users by providing guidance and education about the app's features and functionality. By providing tooltips at the right moments, it simplifies complex functionality and guides users through a quick activation.

Product Hunt app uses onboarding tooltips

Push notifications to re-engage existing users

Push notifications are a valuable tool that enables you to share updates, provide helpful information, and maintain top-of-mind awareness with users, even when they aren't actively using your app.

They also enhance the user experience by offering targeted promotions such as discounts on products that users recently viewed, special birthday offers, re-engaging inactive users, and driving traffic to nearby stores.

For example, push notifications could also bring users back to eCommerce apps by reminding them of special offers or abandoned carts.

Push notifications to re-engage existing users

Gamification for the dopamine rush

Transforming the app experience into a game, even if it's not a gaming app, can have a profound impact on user engagement and loyalty. Providing rewards for user engagement enhances the continuous appeal of the app and brings back the user to the app regularly.

For example, Duolingo inspires its users to use the app daily by employing tactics such as streaks, daily objectives, and a life-based system that refills over time.

Gamification for the dopamine rush

In-app messages for inside app engagement

Implementing well-crafted and strategic in-app messages can significantly improve user engagement and increase the number of active users.

By delivering timely, personalized, and relevant content, you can nurture a strong relationship with your users, ultimately driving their continued engagement with your app.

In the case of Khatabook, it uses a spotlight feature. By increasing the number of users who're aware of and actively using Bulk Reminders, this drives higher revenue per user.

In-app messages for inside app engagement

Habit loops to keep the users hooked

Habit loops are powerful psychological patterns that drive repeated behaviors and create habits. By creating an addictive loop with infinite scrolling, you can cultivate habits that drive users to spend more time in your app, explore its features, and ultimately become loyal, active users.

Try Plotline to improve the number of active users using in-app messages

Plotline is an exclusive in-app engagement platform that lets you create and deploy customizable in-app messages that match your design theme to a targeted user cohort. It empowers mobile-first businesses to deliver a personalized, engaging, and seamless user experience.

By leveraging its features, such as onboarding assistance, targeted in-app messages, and in-app surveys, businesses can grow their active users and foster a long-term user loyalty.

Join us on our journey towards providing users with native app experiences and improving the count of active users for your mobile app.

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Join companies like ShareChat, Meesho, Jupiter, Jar, Khatabook and others that use Plotline to run in-app engagement and boost activation, retention and monetization.

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