Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 news and opinions

How does Microsoft define Microsoft Teams Active Users?

With big announcements of 13 million Daily Active Users, 19 million Weekly Active Users in July 2019 and then  20 million DAU Microsoft Teams users in November 2019, the question is often asked how does Microsoft define “Active”?

Vendors like Slack have thrown some challenges about Microsoft Teams being included with Office 365/Office client install by default, therefore possibly counting application auto-starting logins as “active users”?

Organisations can report on Microsoft Teams “active users” and “Team & channels active users” on a per-tenant basis in the Teams Admin Center


So how do Microsoft define active users in these reports? The documentation is less than enlightening Smile


How exactly do Microsoft define an Active User?

“We define DAU as the maximum daily users performing an intentional action in the last 28-day period across the desktop client, mobile client and web client,” Microsoft 365 corporate VP Jared Spataro recently said.

So what’s an “intentional action”?

“Examples of an intentional action includes starting a chat, placing a call, sharing a file, editing a document within teams, participating in a meeting, etc.”

Microsoft removes “passive actions” like auto-start/login, minimizing a screen, or closing the app from its calculations, and de-dupes all actions across a single user ID. So these users really are taking some kind of active action.

Not all Microsoft Teams usage is in “Team Collab Workspaces”

It’s worth noting that not all Microsoft Teams “active users” are using the “collab workspaces” feature of Microsoft Teams. There is nothing wrong with using Microsoft Teams for private chat, calling or meetings, but if an organisation is trying to move to a culture of working out loud in collaboration team spaces with chat, files and apps, they will want to look closely at the ratio of channel messages to private chat, calls and meetings in their tenant, not just the top line “active users” statistic.


This is something I spend a lot of time looking at with customers as we (Modality) write PowerBI reporting and automation tools to drive Microsoft Teams governance, security, best practices and usage.

User adoption of private chat and meetings is relatively easy, they are well-understood ways of communicating for most people/organisations. Especially if you are displacing existing used tools like Skype for Business or another online meetings platform.

“Team Collab Workspaces” is a new concept to many users, and a big cultural shift for some organisations, adoption of this element of Teams requires more organisational support and focus.

The ratio of private chat to channel messages or “active users” to “Team & channel active users” is a great indication of how much “working in Teams” is happening.


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About the author

Tom Arbuthnot

A Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Master, Tom Arbuthnot is Founder and Principal at Empowering.Cloud as well as a Solutions Director at Pure IP.

Tom stays up to date with industry developments and shares news and his opinions on his, UC Today Microsoft Teams Podcast and email list. He is a regular speaker at events around the world.


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  • I find MSFT’s DAU definition very misleading. When I think of someone as being “active” in a software tool, my impression is that they are a daily, continuous user of multiple features of the tool. According to Microsoft’s definition, someone who messaged a co-worker a single time during the month saying “You ready for lunch?” is celebrated as being “active”. Counting this trivial interaction as being “active” is vastly overstating the benefit that the person got from the tool.

    I realize Microsoft defined it this way for marketing purposes but they need to allow the consumers of their product to create a usage profile that helps identify folks who invest themselves in the tool versus those who are merely affiliated with it. I wish Microsoft would help us drive adoption by highlighting those users who are very effective at leveraging the product so that we can model their success to others in the company.

  • Tom, do you have any guidance on a “good” ratio of chat messages to channel messages? For example, last Wednesday my tenant had 694 channel messages, 2,309 chat messages, 341 calls, 1,010 meetings, and 3,581 other activity (assuming that other activity means likes, but not sure). In successful organizations you’ve worked with, was there a typical ratio that indicated that collaboration was healthy?

Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 news and opinions