Tag: App analytics

MAU vs DAU: How to measure mobile app retention

Mobile app rentention

Generating more downloads and attracting new users to your app can be (and generally is) an expensive business. It’s estimated that a 5% decrease in mobile app abandonment rates can actually increase overall app profitability from as little as 5% to as much as 95% (Bain and Company). While decreasing app abandonment rates can greatly improve profitability, it costs approximately 700% more to acquire a new mobile app user than to stimulate retention with existing users. If you’re running a mobile app development agency, it’s essential that you represent the best commercial and technical interests of your clients. Their success is your success and the best way to maximize the chances of a successful outcome is to focus on mobile app user retention.

Before we go further, here’s a great panel discussion on some of the issues that we’ll be writing about:

When it comes to developing mobile apps for your clients, your contribution won’t end when you deliver them their app. The days of being able to “drop-ship” an app to a client and walk away are over. Clients now expect you to be with them for the long haul, helping them make their app a success. They expect you to be their mobile marketing adviser. With any client’s app you have to ask yourself the question: how sticky is the app? In the same way that digital marketers are concerned with the engagement levels of blog content, videos and reviews (and a multitude of other types of content), app clients are concerned with one fundamental consideration: are my app users coming back for more? So serious mobile agencies are going beyond the design and development of great mobile apps. They are focused on how to leverage more value from those apps on behalf of your clients’. To do that they are increasingly thinking about how to measure retention.

Getting serious with mobile app retention

There’s a bunch of different ways to measure the retention performance of your clients mobile apps. Getting started with mobile app retention is all about understanding the needs of your app client, and each approach will possess its own merits and shortfalls in terms of selecting the right retention methodology. But the important thing is to focus on what matters. Bringing in new users at the top of the funnel via marketing efforts is totally superfluous if the bucket itself is full of holes and the UX of the app sucks. Mobile app retention is all about fixing the bucket, and making sure that the overall UX of your client’s app is adding genuine value to the experience of the user. So always start with the end in mind. It’s all too easy (and costly) bringing users in via paid channels, but getting them to hang around is a different ball game.

The purpose of mobile app user retention

The goal for each of your app clients is to convert each new app user into a paying customer or loyal advocate (depending on the industry sector and purpose of the app). Your job, as a mobile app agency owner, is to help take your clients on that journey. To to this it’s important to keep the purpose of what you’re trying to do clear: focus primarily on retaining the people you’ve already attracted and learn how to drive more engagement and revenue for your clients.

Here’s a short article to give you some ideas on how to improve app engagement.

This will help you to grow a profitable app development agency, built around mobile apps that produce tangible results for your clients.

If your client’s mobile app is churning too many users after a single use, you have a serious problem, purely due to the cost of attracting new users vs. the cost of retaining existing app users. This comes back to the leaky bucket analogy, because the economics of filling the bucket in order to patch it up are incredibly costly and damaging to your client’s commercial welfare. This is why the economics of mobile app marketing will always favor retention over acquisition.  So with this in mind, consider very carefully how and where you invest your clients technical and commercial resources and always keep the end in mind: what does success look like? This is a difficult question to answer, but when it comes to industry benchmarks for mobile app retention, there are some guidelines, which will be covered later in the article. Based on the fact that you can only optimize what you already measure selecting the right retention methodology is the first step in the process.

Each mobile app client will view the science of retention from a slightly different perspective. If you’re developing a mobile game, you’ll live and die by the retention performance of the software on day one. If it sucks first time round post launch, you probably won’t get another chance to fix it. On the other hand, if your client has a B2B app where take-up will be slower, you might need to think about starting to track retention at a much later date, maybe month eighteen. The better you can understand their app, their commercial goals and the journey each of their users take through the app, the better positioned you’ll be to nurture it to success.  In order to choose the right mobile app retention methodology to use, you’ll need to understand which options are available. This is where snapshot retention comes in.

What is snapshot retention for mobile app users?

Snapshot retention is a specific method of measuring the retention rates of mobile app users. It refers to a retention methodology that’s based on a snapshot of time of mobile app user activity. This is one of the best places to start if you’re trying to figure out the easiest and most basic way to measure retention rates for your app clients. Start off thinking about your client’s business goals and what they want to achieve. If the launch of the app is being run in parallel with an expensive marketing campaign, and the goal is to generate paying customers quickly, you’ll need to snapshot different time periods. The first day will be essential, but it won’t provide the full picture and help to identify if the app is sticky. This may only become clear after several days or weeks (or possibly months and years), so it’s essential that you work out the best way to measure each snapshot of app user retention in terms of time. But what matters, is that when you’ve decided on the right time frame, you’ll end up with one very concise way to express mobile app user retention as a single metric (or ratio).

The MAU vs DAU ratio for mobile app user retention

The MAU vs DAU ratio is a great example of a snapshot metric, whereby the DAU’s and MAU’s are simply the number of unique mobile app users who engaged with your client’s mobile software during a specific time period. A DAU, or daily active user, measures the number of unique app users in any given one day time period (often you’ll be referring to the performance of your client’s app for the previous day). An MAU, or monthly active user, measures the total volume of unique mobile app users, who are active in any given month or thirty day timeframe. This will typically be a rolling thirty-day time window whereby you can glean performance insight not just by each calendar month, but also by a fixed or ‘windowed’ thirty-day time period.

mau-vs-dauOnce you have your MAU vs DAU metrics for a given timeframe, calculating mobile app retention rate is just a simple process of developing a ratio of DAU’s to MAU’s. Instinctively, when it comes to working with your app clients, this should represent the proportion of monthly app users that are active on a single day. Clearly, when it comes to enhancing the performance of your client’s app, the job is to increase the ratio, ensuring that you maximize the proportion of MAU’s who are liable to actively interact with their mobile app on a single day. Once you have the data, you’ll be in a position to make recommendations in terms of changes that can be made to the app, in order to cause a greater proportion of users to interact with the software on a regular basis. You can also update your push notifications or proximity marketing strategy. What you’re striving to achieve, is a ratio of one, because this means that every single mobile app user who engaged with the app in the last month, is active again on any chosen day.

Again, getting this part right will depend on the type of app your client has. Different apps will have different DAU/MAU benchmarks. It’s all to do with what the expected frequency of use should be. If it’s an app that is to do with something the user will do every day, then you’d expect the engaged user to be using the app daily. A diet tracking app for example. If it’s an app that you’d expect less frequent use, a restaurant booking app, then monthly may be the expected use frequency. It’s about setting the right benchmark use for the individual app. Irrespective, it’s essential to continually track the DAU/MAU ratio, to make sure its getting better and not worse. A falling ratio is a good lead indicator that things need addressing.  Rule of thumb, for most mobile apps, 0.20 DAU/MAU is considered to represent decent level of engagement. So generally speaking, if 20% of MAU’s are interacting with the app on a daily basis, this is good. Another option is to consider using a DOD (or ‘day over day’) retention metric.

What is day-over-day (DOD) retention for measuring mobile app performance?

DOD retention is much like the MAU/DAU ratio, but provides a detailed snapshot metric. With DOD retention analysis of mobile app user behavior, you simply establish the ratio of the app users who are active today and yesterday, relative to the number of app users who were only active yesterday. This retention measurement ratio symbolizes the proportion of users who are liable to use your client’s app regularly in a short timeframe. In order to calculate this ratio, you establish the number of users who were active yesterday and today, and divide by the total number of users who were only active yesterday.

The constraints and limitations of snapshot retention for measuring mobile app performance

Helping your clients succeed and nurturing their apps to success, it’s going to be important establishing a mechanism for measuring mobile app users. Some of the methods detailed in this blog post represent a good starting position and will increase your client’s chances of success in mobile. As always, your ability to track the right data points will depend on your ability to garner the right information, and this means having a robust analytics platform. You must always ensure that this has been considered at the front end of your client’s project. You need to think about developing a clear and concise series of KPI’s and understand in detail how snapshot retention can bolster performance over time. But snapshot retention metrics are relatively simple in their nature, and do possess certain drawbacks and constraints:

  • These techniques will determine all mobile app users who are active only during a certain snapshot, regardless of when their first touch point was with your clients app
  • This provides very little or no distinction between mobile app users who are completely new to the software, and habitual mobile app users who could be considered as advocates or evangelists.
  • Determining the cause of why specific data patterns appear in the analytics can be extremely difficult and understanding how to improve mobile app performance and knowing what to do can be ever harder.

That said, having the data that helps you build insight into how the app is performing at least arms you to ask the right questions and dig for the solutions.

How to avoid an unhealthy DAU/MAU ratio

So you’ve spent months, designing, developing, testing and polishing your client’s mobile app and it’s now ready for launch. You’ve established your KPI’s and key measures of success. You’ve also integrated an analytics package that enables you to track mobile app retention performance. Now what?

mau-vs-dauThe classic mistake to make when launching a new mobile app for your client is to focus on creating a bloated MAU ratio. If you accompany the launch of the app with an integrated marketing campaign, you’ll likely see a huge spike in activity in the first day or two after launch. Adopting this type of ‘Hollywood or bust’ approach, whereby you rely solely on the success of an initial marketing flurry, is liable to result in failure and an unhappy app client.  Getting this process right requires time and making sure you know when to bring new users in at the top of the funnel. The best time to bring new users in at the top of the funnel, is when you know that your bucket is fixed, and you’ve maximized the probability that the greatest number of users possible will use the mobile app on a regular basis.

The problem is that all too often, an impressive MAU metric is viewed as being a positive thing. What tends to happen, is that users who were acquired as part of a ‘Hollywood or bust’ style marketing campaign, will possess a significantly higher churn rate than other mobile users. The fact of the matter is your client does need a large MAU metric. Your client wants the type of mobile app user who isn’t just a passer by. Your client wants the type of app user who discovers the software and sticks around because the features contained within the app are delivering something of value to them. The net effect of this type of marketing approach, is usually a weak DAU/MAU metric and the key to solving this problem lies in relentless and pragmatic approach to measuring and refining the onboarding and in-app experience. What’s more, an initial burst of marketing activity will impact the MAU metric within the first thirty days, but it wont explain what’s actually happened or why. So a good MAU metric on its own is a vanity measure and one that offers very little insight into whether the app is succeeding or not.


In conclusion, the best way to approach this problem on behalf of your app clients is to tread a careful line between mobile app user acquisition and retention. Yes, you need to bring users into the app in order to test if the bucket has holes, and this involves marketing be it paid or organic. But the trick here is not to over invest in marketing that is ultimately the equivalent of pouring water in a bucket full of holes. You need to pour in just enough water, without over investing; in order to get the right data to inform how you fix the UX issues associated with your client’s app.

If you’re a mobile app agency looking to bolster the retention performance of your client’s mobile app (or apps), Kumulos can help. Our Mobile App Agency Platform comes with integrated app Analytics to let you measure engagement and Push Notifications & In-App Messaging to manage engagement programs. This lets you offer your clients App Engagement Services that helps drive the right outcome for your clients and get apps on retainer, so you build reliable recurring revenue streams for your business.

We don’t care whether you’re building native apps on iOS and Android, or using your preferred hybrid platform, or a low-code / no-code platform, you can use Kumulos to help you deliver greater commercial success. We partner with a range of technology providers so you can have it your way.

You can start your free trial today to learn more. And, why not take a look at who uses Kumulos?


OK, so we’ve told you about MAU vs. DAU, but what about when you have MORE questions about mobile app development? No worries – we’re here to help. Check out the 20 questions you need answers to – before you build your client’s mobile app.

Top 5 Mobile App Analytics Platforms

Mobile App Analytics

Getting the right mobile app analytics platform for your mobile app platform can be tough.  Despite ever growing demand for mobile app development capability and mobile optimization services, getting a clear view if what’s happening with the app and delivering it in a digestible form to your customers can be challenging. Successful mobile app development projects always start with the end in mind and in order for your clients app to be successful you need to develop a comprehensive series of KPIs and success measure. Today we’re focusing on the top 5 best mobile app analytics platforms for mobile apps.

The best way to ensure success for your clients is to adopt a mobile app analytics platform that can provide the crucial data you require to optimise your app performance on an ongoing basis. Mobile is all about continuous data driven development and choosing the right analytics package represents a crucial challenge.

If you’re developing a new app for your client, the time to start thinking about the right analytics package is now. When selecting the appropriate platform for your clients, there are a bunch of factors you need to consider early on. It’s worth noting that if you’re not building a native mobile app experience, that a web analytics platform such as Google Analytics may suit your client’s project requirements. You need to consider ease of integration carefully, the faster you can get up and running the better. Generally speaking the top mobile app analytics platforms will provide a slick and efficient onboarding process that enables you to get up and running in the shortest possible timeframe. If you’re developing apps for enterprise customers, you’ll need to think carefully about security and the ability to process mobile app data in real-time and there are a bunch of solutions that will enable you to achieve this.

Best Mobile App Analytics Platforms

So if you’re an agency seeking to turbocharge the performance of your clients mobile app, there are a few KPI’s you might want to consider early on your project. You should seek to implement a solution that provides feature depth in relation to mobile app acquisition, activation, retention, referral and revenue. Selecting the appropriate KPI’s to track will ultimately vary from client to client depending upon their individual business goals and overall project requirements. So without further ado, here are our top 5 picks for the best mobile app analytics platforms.


Flurry was acquired by Yahoo in July 2014 and offers comprehensive mobile app analytics for all major mobile platforms including iOS, Android and Windows. There are a bunch of analytics tools that provide more depth in terms of mobile app data, but these tend to be paid subscriptions. The great thing about Flurry is the fact that it’s free and enables you to get up and running quickly, whilst providing the main features you’ll require for managing the performance of your customers mobile app. Flurry provides great analytical depth in terms of user acquisition analytics and displays data on number of app sessions, volume of active users, demographics, app retention and frequency of use.

One of the great things about Flurry is the fact it enables you to create a conversion based funnel for your clients mobile app, enabling you to focus on key data points. You can gather information on user devices, mobile carriers and app errors in order to provide a better experience for your app clients user base. Unfortunately, unlike some other analytics packages, Flurry won’t give you any real-time data points but is does offer a slick UI/UX that’s easy to use. Flurry is also trusted by some blue-chip companies such as Facebook and Google so you know you’re using a platform that’s tried and tested by some of the top players.

Flurry Pricing

Flurry is a great choice for your customers in terms of it’s free service. The dashboard can be slightly confusing and is prone to the occasional error but scores highly in terms of cost and functionality.


Apsalar is a freemium platform for mobile app analytics. The platform possesses some great features and offers a quick entry point into the world of mobile app analytics. It’s easy to setup and provides enterprise ready measurement and intelligence for your clients mobile app project. The system is compatible with all iOS and Android apps and provides a scalable and robust way for your app clients to track the performance of their mobile projects.

The software enables you to develop funnels, revenue tracking and events. It also enables you to segment your users into tightly themed groups enabling you to develop different, highly targeted messaging for each customer segment. As an agency owner/operator, this is something your clients will love and promises to deliver real value.

One great feature of Apsalar is its uninstall analytics. Given one of the biggest challenges that that app owner face is churn, getting a good understanding of what could be driving uninstalls will go a long way to building a more loyal, more engaged user base.

The beauty of Apsalar’s segmentation mechanism is the fact that it enables you to help your app clients to focus on their most profitable audience segments. This in turn enables your customers to quickly understand which segments perform the best and offers a great opportunity in terms of user acquisition and retargeting. Apsalar provides valuable insight into the characteristics of your clients key characteristics in terms of interest groups, buying intent and demographics.

Apsalar Pricing

Apsalar possesses a free toolkit that enables you to measure the performance of your clients mobile app projects. The toolkit is fully equipped with some great features that provide data on the lifetime value and monetisation performance of your campaigns.


Mixpanel offers a freemium service for mobile app analytics across iOS and Android. If you’re running a mobile app development agency and looking for a solution for your customers, the Mixpanel platform provides events based analytical tools for sharing, upgrade, account creation, purchase etc. The key to using Mixpanel effectively for your app customers is to define events and associated event properties for your mobile app.

Once you’ve created your clients events and associated event properties there are a bunch of things that you can do. You can track events in isolation or you can create a sequence of event funnels. You can use clever tools within the analytics suite to measure your customers app to determine how often end users return to the app and engage with specific features and you can also build out complex queries associated with demographics and events. If your clients app stores user data, you can also associate data with a specific user and create segments for targeted push messaging, email and SMS campaigns.

Mixpanel enables your app clients to assess app retention performance by focusing on frequency of use and helps you to understand which app features consistently cause users to interact and come back for more.

Mixpanel Pricing

Mixpanel’s pricing is pretty straight forward. Using the free version of Mixpanel you’ll be restricted to 25,000 data points each month. A data point is defined as being an individual event tracking session. As an example, if your client is developing a photo sharing app like Instagram, and you only track and monitor the number of photos shared, this could equate to 5,000 users sharing 5 photos each. The Mixpanel platform also provides an activity feed that provides a timeline view of user events and enables you to track revenue.

Mixpanel is great because of the funnel visualisation functionality and in-depth analytical features. The platform possesses a slick UI/UX and is easy in terms of technical integration so you can get your customers apps up and running within the platform in a short timescale. The only downside to Mixpanel is the limited data points when using the free version of the software but this is a relatively minor criticism given the depth of features and functionality provided.


If you’re running a mobile app development agency and looking for a decent mobile app analytics platform for your customers, Amplitude could be a great option for your business. The Amplitude platform offers a freemium model and covers multiple platforms including iOS, Android and Unity. In some ways, Amplitude is very similar to Google Analytics and Mixpanel, providing analytics for both mobile apps and the web. This is a great option if you’re a mobile app development agency with some web customers who also need a solution for analytics. This works well because it gives your app and web clients a clear analytical view across both channels in terms of how users discover and use your clients mobile app.

But for the purposes of this blog, we’re interested in mobile app analytics and generally speaking Amplitude offers all of the key features, including behavioral cohorts, that your clients might require. The onboarding process is slick and straightforward and enables you and your customers to get to grips with the software quickly and downloading/installing the SDK can be done in a couple of minutes. The Amplitude SDK enables you to track your customers events, user activity, retention, revenue, funnels and behaviours.

There is an SQL option within the Amplitude platform that enables your clients to gain custom data sets through the app. One drawback is that the SQL option is only available through the enterprise package. However, this option does enable your app clients to create a customised dashboard that wouldn’t otherwise be available through the free version of the service.

Amplitude Pricing

One of the main drawbacks in relation to Amplitude pricing is the huge jump from the freemium model up to $995 per month for the enterprise version of the software. Given that the SQL option is one of the killer features, this may put off some mobile app development agencies off paying for the full service.


Appsee is a freemium platform for qualitative mobile app analytics. Recognized by Gartner and Forrester as the industry leader in qualitative analytics, Appsee provides mobile app teams with actionable data on their in-app user experiences.

Two of Appsee’s most acclaimed tools are its user session recordings and touch heatmaps.

User recordings enable app pros to see exactly how users interact with their app. Basically, every action, event, and gesture is automatically tagged and recorded by Appsee’s technology and uploaded into a nifty session log. This allows app professionals to visually pinpoint errors in performance and usability. They can also see the exact causation of a particular crash. On a higher level, this real-time, qualitative data helps them understand the “whys” behind key numbers such as retention and conversion funnel metrics. Appsee’s user recordings can also be paired with Google Analytics user reports, A/B tests, and attribution campaigns via robust third party integrations.

Appsee’s touch heatmaps aggregate all user gestures within an app, such as user taps and swipes. It then displays these interactions in a visual, color-coded overlay. With touch heatmaps, it becomes easy to get user feedback and track which parts of the interface are pulling in the majority of the users’ attention and which are being ignored. With no more than a quick glance, mobile professionals can also see where users are trying to interact with the app’s UI, without the app responding (known as unresponsive gestures).
Integration with Appsee is pretty seamless. It only takes approximately five minutes to integrate the SDK and one line of code. Appsee also offers easy integration via Fabric.io.

Appsee Pricing

Appsee pricing starts with a free trial for small and startup sized teams. The free version of Appsee allows up to 250 user recordings and 2500 monthly sessions.

The final word on best analytics platforms for mobile apps

When it comes to deciding which analytics platform to choose, the answer will vary depending upon the requirements of your app customer. Running a mobile app development agency is hard work, especially when it comes to developing recurring revenue streams, that’s why post launch app marketing services such as optimization are so great. In terms of building your mobile agency, it’s important that you focus on the needs of your client and adopt a solution that matches their commercial goals.

After all, in order for your agency to grow and be successful, you need to triple down on what’s great for your customers. That means leading them towards a data driven development mindset and that’s why you need to think carefully about which platform to adopt. When it comes to analytics for mobile apps, there’s no silver bullet, we suggest you try them out and work out what feels comfortable.

Realtime App Analytics Straight from your Dashboard

pointing at optimized push campaign

More good news!

We know Kumulites love data. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, right. So we are pleased to tell you that we’ve made big improvements to Kumulos Analytics.

Checkout whats new.

Realtime App Analytics

Realtime App Analytics

The upgrade to the analytics package shows you the most important data around what’s happening with your apps.

  • Traction – How many devices your app is active on.
  • Engagement – How often your apps are getting used, whether usage is rising or falling.

We’ve also increased the granularity of what you can track, recording up to the second activity.

Daily Devices

Sure you can easily monitor AppStore downloads, but what you really need to know is how active your app is. Our daily device monitor tracks the number of devices running your app, so you can easily see if app use is growing.

App Analytics

Kumulos Analytics Daily Active Devices

Devices – longer term trends

Short term views are useful and close in the stats may look great. But to get a true view on whats happening you’ve also got to keep an eye on the long term trend.

Kumulos monthly device analytics

Kumulos Analytics Monthly Trend – Active Devices

To help you we give a 12 months view of active devices so you have that long term picture in front of you. And its easy to shorten that view to focus in on time periods if you want.

API usage

Its one thing to have the app active on devices, its another to know how engaged your users are. Low engagement means there’s a big risk of drift.  So its important to know when and how active your app users are.

  • Are you really holding their attention?
  • Is your user base as active as you’d expect?
  • Are there patterns around when your users are most active?
  • Can this shape future marketing campaigns or timings of new version releases?

So if you see usage fall following a new release, it could be an early indication of  a problem and something you need to jump on fast.

Kumulos API Analytics

Kumulos Analytics – Daily API Calls

Up-to-the-Second API call data

For apps with heavy API traffic  it’s important to keep on top of usage. So we now offer you the option to track Up-to-the-Second API data. We record real time data and to make it easy to view aggregate up to a daily view.  This way you know what’s happening and can stay on top of your most important Apps.

Change the time selection

We’ve now given you a more granular view of API activity. So if you need to shine a light the most recent API calls you can now drill down and look at just the last 3 days activity.

You can expand out view the trends up to 120 days for app use and daily device count or last 12 months for the monthly devices.

Nothing for you to do, nothing more for you to pay

To access the new features today, simply head over to your app’s statistics tab on your dashboard. The upgrade is live and waiting for you. The new improved analytics are included in your monthly fee, so nothing more to pay for our new stats package.

More to come…

There’s a real buzz of activity right now at Kumulos HQ, with lots more exciting improvements in the pipe. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks and months.