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There's an App for That. But How Much Are You Actually Using It?

App Annie is going to start tracking that metric. It also just raised a cool $55 million.

Composite image by Re/code

App Annie already knows which apps are getting downloaded, and which ones are making money. Now it wants to drill down into which ones are actually being used.

The app analytics company has announced a new product, Usage Intelligence, that will track user engagement in mobile apps. More specifically, its paying clients will now be able to see estimates of how many people are using an app, how often on average those users open that app and how much time they spend in it after opening it.

App Annie also said today that it has raised a $55 million Series D, its largest round of funding to date, led by Institutional Venture Partners. IVP general partner Eric Liaw will join its board of directors.

 Some of the questions Usage Intelligence will be able to answer, according to the company. Click to enlarge.
Some of the questions Usage Intelligence will be able to answer, according to the company. Click to enlarge.
App Annie

Usage Intelligence joins a suite of other app analytics offerings, including historical download and revenue rankings, demographic data and, for paying users, download and revenue estimates. In an interview with Re/code, App Annie CEO Bertrand Schmitt said the average paying customer spend comes to about $80,000 per year, but that that varies greatly depending on different customers’ needs.

So, how does it work? Schmitt said a key source of data for Usage Intelligence’s beta launch, which starts today, is an app called Free Unlimited VPN Defender, which is published under the name Smart Sense Enterprises but was developed in-house at App Annie. The app directs users’ mobile browsing through the servers of a virtual private network, or VPN, encrypting their data and letting them access services like Netflix or Hulu in areas where they might otherwise be blocked.

VPN Defender, which was released last October on iOS and November on Android, then aggregates and anonymizes mobile usage data to inform App Annie’s algorithms. The approach is reminiscent of Onavo, an Israeli startup that similarly traded consumer-facing services like VPN access or image compression (which would cut mobile data bills) for anonymized data about app engagement; Facebook bought the company in 2013 and uses the data it continues to collect to inform its internal efforts.

Schmitt said the beta is focused first on U.S. users, and that in time new territories and new apps (providing services other than a VPN) will be added.

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