A range of emoji reactions in Slack

Not all Daily Active Users are created equal: Work is fueled by true engagement

Here’s how we build a platform to handle real engagement — to the tune of 5+ billion actions by our customers every week in Slack

Author: Brian Elliott, VP & General Manager of PlatformOctober 10th, 2019

We’re seeing a generational shift in how we collaborate at work. People are moving away from email and into channels, away from legacy suites of badly connected products and onto a new customizable platform that can more easily connect the tools they use to work. In September 2019, we exceeded 12 million people actively using Slack every day — up approximately 37% year over year. In addition, with more than 6 million paid seats, the number of engaged and active people who are relying on Slack continues to grow rapidly.

A chart that details the year-over-year growth of Slack's daily active users

DAUs get cited a lot, but what, really, is their significance? In our book, the “U” is what matters: Use! Engagement is what makes Slack work — you can’t transform a workplace if people aren’t actually using the product. And we love the people building apps and integrations on the Slack platform, because they help drive that engagement. Our developer community has scaled with us to create a thriving ecosystem that feeds this engagement. As we prepare for Spec, our annual conference for developers building integrations and apps for Slack, we are laser focused on how best to support this community.

It’s Not a Successful Collaboration Tool if People Don’t Use It

We, and our nearly 600,000 daily active registered developers, are designing for the millions of people whose work actually happens in Slack. Deep and sustained levels of engagement across companies are what keep people adopting Slack and using it above other, less connected ways of working.

Graphic that shows the statistic that Slack has some 600K daily active registered developers

In a survey of U.S.-based users, 87% said that Slack improved communication and collaboration inside their organization. Among our paid customers, users spend more than 9 hours per workday connected to our service, including spending about 90 minutes per workday actively using Slack. What does this active use look like? It adds up to more than 5 billion actions weekly on average, including reading and writing messages, uploading and commenting on files, performing searches, and, most importantly to us on the Platform team, interacting with apps. And Slack doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We’re at our best and offer the most value when we work hand in hand with the other tools our customers use every day. 95% of Slack app users surveyed say that using an app in Slack makes those tools more valuable.

A graphic showing the deep rate of engagement and penetration on Slack by users

This circular exchange of value is the flywheel effect that fuels successful platforms — and when the flywheel starts spinning, it becomes nearly impossible to stop. We have more than 1,800 apps in our App Directory, and more than 500,000 custom apps — custom applications built by customers to integrate with both their internal systems and external software — were used in a typical week during September 2019. And as our developer ecosystem keeps growing, adding new apps across all types of vendors, the value for our customers grows with it.

A graphic by Slack showing the number of apps in our directory and active weekly developers on the platform

But we know we can do more. At Spec, we’ll be showing developers new and improved ways to build apps that meet the needs of Slack’s deeply engaged users, among them the majority of Slack users who aren’t in tech roles and those who work at the world’s largest enterprises, including the more than 65 Fortune 100 companies that use Slack.

The Network Is Growing — and We’re All Part of It

The way we work is fundamentally changing. It’s becoming faster, more adaptable, and more collaborative. This change is fueled by engagement. Whether you’re sending a message in channel, launching a call in Zoom, sharing a Google file, or starting your day by checking the Outlook calendar app, every action you take to connect with your team in Slack and move your project forward adds up to a whole new way of working.

So for those of you able to join us at Spec: we look forward to seeing you and what you’re up to. For those of you who can’t make it, feel free to get in touch if we can help make the platform more valuable for you. And either way, we’re glad you’re able to join us in building a platform people love to use!


We want to provide a brief explanation of some of the numbers we’re using in this post.

When we talk about daily active users, we mean a user who has either created or consumed content in Slack within a given 24-hour period on either a free or paid subscription plan. In September 2019, we exceeded 12 million daily active users, including nearly 600,000 daily active registered developers. We define an organization on Slack as a separate entity, such as a company, educational or government institution, or distinct business unit of a company, that is on a subscription plan, whether free or paid. We define a paid customer as an organization with three or more users on a paid subscription plan.

The survey results showing improved communication and collaboration are from a June 2019 survey that we conducted with approximately 1,600 U.S.-based users who had been using Slack for at least one month, which we refer to as our 2019 Survey. Additionally, according to our 2019 Survey, more than half of Slack’s users are in non-technical roles.

In September 2019 on a typical workday, users at paid customers averaged nine hours connected to Slack through at least one device (such as a laptop or mobile phone) and spent about 90 minutes actively using Slack.

In September 2019, we saw on average more than 5 billion weekly actions in Slack during a typical work week. Actions in Slack mean writing messages, reading messages, uploading or commenting on files, performing searches, interacting with an app, or a similar action that indicates active use of Slack.

The survey results showing that 95% of Slack app users say that using an app in Slack makes those tools more valuable are from a July 2019 survey that we conducted of approximately 1,700 U.S.-based users who had been using Slack for at least six months and used at least two of our most popular apps in the two weeks prior to the survey. Our top apps include apps developed by Slack, our partners, or other third-party developers.

As of January 31, 2019, more than 65 companies in the Fortune 100 use Slack.

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