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Daily Active Users (DAUs)

By on October 19, 2011
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In online games, DAUs has become a bigger focus of attention for game designers than MAUs.

This is good for game design, iteration and rapid changes. It is bad for the finance division. It remains difficult to build a usable monthly forecast from DAUs, and many companies run two different models: one for the games design and one for financial forecasting.

I’ve tried to use a single model here. The result – and a weakness of the model – is that financial results are driven by MAUs rather than by DAUs. I focus on month-on-month retention, rather than day-on-day retention. It was the only choice if I wanted to keep the model simple.

Comparing MAUs to DAUs gives you a powerful metric, often known as engagement, of DAU/MAU. More about that in a separate post on DAU/MAU – engagement.

Benchmarks

Facebook

The most comprehensive source for Facebook data is www.appdata.com. At the time of writing, Cityville remains the most popular game on Facebook by DAU with 13.3m users. We won’t collate DAU information on Facebook games on GAMESbrief because you can get such high-quality, up-to-date information on Appdata, straight from the Facebook API.

iOS

The nearest equivalent to Appdata for iOS is www.appannie.com, although it only tracks ranks, not DAUs.

  • Zynga, iOS/Android/Mobile Web: 11.1 million DAUs (source: theappside)
  • Angry Birds, Rovio, £0.69: 30 million DAUs (source: Inside Mobile Apps)
  • Glu Mobile: 3.4 million DAUs (source: Pocketgamer, 9/8/12)
  • Stardom, Glu Mobile: 74,000 (Source: Pocketgamer, 9/8/12)
  • Deer Hunter, Glu Mobile: 271,000 (Source: Pocketgamer, 9/8/12)
  • Junkies, Glu Mobile: 114,000 (Source: Pocketgamer, 9/8/12)
  • Gun Bros, Glu Mobile: 78,000(Source: Pocketgamer, 9/8/12)
  • Frontline Commando, Glu Mobile: 261,000 (Source: Pocketgamer, 9/8/12)
  • Contract Killer, Glu Mobile: 107,000 (Source: Pocketgamer, 9/8/12)

 

  • Storm8: 4 million DAUs (source: Inside Mobile Apps)
  • My Horse, MunkyFun, free: 500,000 DAUs (source: theappside)
  • Funpark Friends, Tag, free: 8,000 DAUs (source: Pocketgamer)
  • Tiny Tower, free: 1 million DAUs (source: Ian Marsh)
  • Temple Run, free: 7 million DAUs (source: GAMESbrief)
  • Dark Orbit, Bigpoint: 100,000 DAUs (source: Social Games Summit)
  • Parallel Kingdoms, PerBlue: 15,000 daus (source: inside social games)
  • Angry Birds, Rovio: 20-30 million DAUs (source: the app side)

Client

League of Legends, Riot: 27 million DAUs (September 2014, source: Nick Parker on Twitter)

An interesting note about Bejeweled Blitz:

  • March 2012: 1.1 million DAUs on iOS, 3.3 million DAUs on Facebook (source: March 2012, Giordano Bruno Contestabile speaking at GDC said that iOS DAUs are 33% of Facebook DAUs. Facebook figure sourced from Appdata.com in March 2012)
  • September 2012: 1.25 million DAUs on iOS, 2.5 million DAUs on Facebook (source: September 2012, Dennis Ryan speaking at Login conference said that iOS DAUs are ~50% of Facebook DAUs. Facebook figure sourced from Appdata.com in October 2012)

Bejeweled Blitz is losing users on Facebook, and gaining them on mobile.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • Pingback: What timezone should you calculate your DAUs in? | GameInTheShell()

  • Tracie

    Hi Nicholas, many thanks for the reply and the advice. We were discussing it here today and yes, I agree with you that it needs to be meaningful to us and our players so we’ll pick a timezone and stick to it.

    Thanks again.

    Tracie.

  • Hello Tracie,

    My view is that it doesn’t matter 🙂

    Comparing yourself with other people is pernicious and not very useful. F2P is not about benchmarking: it is about using your tools and analytics to make YOUR game better for YOUR players. How other games fare is increasingly irrelevant.

    So what matters is having a consistent measurement so that you know if your DAUs are going up or down. I would just pick a time zone which makes sense for you (PST, EST, BST or whatever) and stick with it. It’s the trend that is more useful not the ability to compare with other businesses.

  • Pingback: What timezone should you calculate your DAUs in? | Game Developr()

  • Tracie

    Any advice on the optimal timezone to use when calculating DAU? Is UTC standard? If you have a 60/40 breakdown of customers between US and Europe – are you better off calculating DAU for PST?

  • John Griffin

    Nicholas – Have you looked at the stats published by Heyzap (trends.heyzap.com)? Any view as to their accuracy?

  • Fernando Spengler

    based on total downloads can know the total Daus through an average? (Example: 10% 1 million dawnloads is Daus game)

  • Pingback: CPA, CAC and Customer Acquisition costs | Nerd Gamers()

  • Jennifer4fun1

    I love citycille game on facebook your article really gives a very informative ideas about latest trendy games thanks
    By Designer sarees

  • It was brought to my attention at the ever-interesting #FDGL last night that FB have changed the basis on which they calculate DAU.   So people’s numbers will be jumping around a bit…

    http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/10/14/facebook-updates-formula-for-counting-active-users/