Application Insights: How Exactly is MAU Calculated?

facebook platform developersWhen Facebook changed the metrics it reports for application several months back, Monthly Active Users (“MAU”) became the primary public application metric. However as several developers on the forums have been asking lately, the meaning of MAU is not exactly clear to the developer community. However, given new responses from the Facebook Platform Team on the Developer Forums, a concrete definition is now known.

MAU – Monthly Active Users

Simply put, MAU refers to the number of unique users per the past 30 days. This metric is most prominently displayed on application about pages, and is sometimes confused for the Unique Canvas Page Views metric, as they are typically closely related.

To see the active user breakdown for your application by day, jump to your application Insight’s page and select “Active Users (Engagement)” from the dropdown menu on the Usage tab. You will see your unique daily active users per day. To see your application’s current MAU value, check the “Past 30 days” box.

What is a “Unique” user?

Another frequent question is how users are tallied. According to the Facebook Platform Team, a unique user can be generated from any of the following actions:

  • mock ajax request
  • fbml link click
  • canvas page view
  • click-to-play swf
  • message attachment
  • fbjs ajax
  • accepting a request
  • viewing a profile tab
  • publishing something via a publisher

In addition, the user must at least be logged into Facebook and accessing your application to be counted as active. However, the user does not need to have already authorized your application to be counted. Note that there is no way to distinguish between a user logged out of Facebook and a user who hasn’t authorized your application.

Metrics are essentially the vital-signs of an application, important to both analysts and developers as ways to monitor the success and growth of applications. Keeping a firm understanding of these underlying metrics is key to success on the platform.

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7 Responses to “Application Insights: How Exactly is MAU Calculated?”

  1. Tim Glenn says:

    On this same topic of MAU, can someone clarify how MySpace goes about their audience measurement for apps?

  2. Tim Glenn says:

    Forgot to add in above question…if an app on MySpace says it has “X amount active users”, how exactly is that defined? Installs? MAU for past 30 days? Etc?

  3. Facebook Uygulamalarında Aylık Aktif Kullanıcı (MAU) Nasıl Hesaplanır ? « Bay Bedava - Netten Başlıklar says:

    [...] Kaynak [...]

  4. Tech & Marketing for Generation Google » Filipinos, Third in Facebook Monthly Active Users List: says:

    [...] Here’s the explanation to the question, “how exactly is MAU calculated?” [...]

  5. Top 10 Facebook Applications as of Feb 2011 | TechZoom says:

    [...] to InsideFacebook.com article Simply put, MAU refers to the number of unique users per the past 30 days. This metric is most [...]

  6. How many monthly active users does Twitter have? - Quora says:

    [...] Facebook applications, it's the number of users that interact with the application: http://www.insidefacebook.com/20…I know of no evidence that the MAU and DAU figures published about the main site/service itself are [...]

  7. Opportunities for film and TV IP in social and mobile games never better | The Business of Social Games says:

    [...] A&E Networks has created a very successful social gaming portfolio (with over 2.5 million MAU) by leveraging their television IP into popular social games around shows like Pawn Stars, Storage [...]

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