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Zoom doesn’t really have 300 million daily active users

Zoom is having to learn a lot about being a real company

Zoom originally stated it had “more than 300 million daily users” and that “more than 300 million people around the world are using Zoom during this challenging time.” This piece of info made world-wide headlines. The eagle-eye reporters at The Verge reached out to point out a key discrepancy in the statement.  Zoom later deleted these references from the original blog post, and now claims “300 million daily Zoom meeting participants.”

Here’s the download:

Zoom used the phrase “daily users” and like everything else in online metrics there’s actually an important distinction in phraseology. The actual term is daily active user (DAU). Zoom seemed to be equating daily “meeting participant” to DAU. That’s a fib. Daily meeting participants can be counted multiple times: if you have five Zoom meetings in a day then you’re counted five times–and if you have more (which you do) you’re counted all those times too.

On the other hand a DAU is counted once per day, and is commonly used by companies to measure service usage. So obviously counting meeting participants and calling them “daily users” can make your platform usage seem larger than it is. By a factor of.. well how many Zoomn meetings did you have today? Divide by that.

To it’s credit The Verge reached out for comment from Zoom, and the next day (April 24th) the company added a note to the blog post admitting the error, and provided the following statement:

“We are humbled and proud to help over 300 million daily meeting participants stay connected during this pandemic. In a blog post on April 22, we unintentionally referred to these participants as “users” and “people.” When we realized this error, we adjusted the wording to “participants.” This was a genuine oversight on our part.”

It’s still a big number: Zoom usage has soared from 10 million daily meeting participants back in December to 300 million this month. But they don’t report daily active users. Microsoft does. The company said yesterday it now has 75 million daily active users of Teams, a jump from 70 percent in a month. Microsoft also recorded 200 million meeting participants in a single day this month.

According to The Verge, Google Meet is gaining, adding roughly 3 million new users each day, and hit over 100 million daily Meet meeting participants recently. Cisco also revealed earlier this month that it has a total of 300 million Webex users, and saw sign-ups close to 240,000 in a 24-hour period. Cisco has not yet provided daily meeting participant numbers, or daily active user counts.

WHY THIS MATTERS: Zoom is driving the market even if it is not actually leading it. Some of the credit for pushing Microsoft, Google, and others to up their game, add features and reel in users can be given to Zoom for rising up as a very public competitor. Misleading headlines aside, that in the end helps everybody get better at something we needed to get better at. –Cynthia Wisehart

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