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Mobile Analytics Startup Offers Free Tool

Amplitude Inc., a 2012 startup co-founded by two MIT graduates, today announced a free version of its mobile real-time analytics tool.

Amplitude Mobile Analytics is designed to help users such as mobile product managers grow and retain their customer bases, the company said. Backed by a new homegrown analytics stack that features a distributed query engine some three years in the making, the company is offering its product free for analyzing up to 10 million events per month.

Along with the new tech stack -- the details of which are upcoming -- comes a new way of thinking about analytics, co-founder and CEO Spenser Skates said in a blog post today. Key to this new approach is a focus on the "behavioral layer" of analytics, lying between the bedrock raw user data and high-level dashboards.

It takes too long to analyze individual points of raw user data, Skates said, and dashboards typically don't let analysts dig deep enough.

"Traditional analytics dashboards are static aggregations of the underlying data," Skates said. "They're a very thin slice of the data along a specific dimension. Dashboards lose so much of the context of what they're tracking as each point is a one-dimensional representation of everything that underlies it."

Using the Growth Discovery Engine
[Click on image for larger view.] Using the Growth Discovery Engine (source: Amplitude Inc.)

Enter the behavioral layer, described by Skates as "the rich layer between reporting dashboards and raw user data that reveals patterns of user behavior inside your app." Skates said "Unlocking this layer is the key to understanding your users and driving growth."

The company's platform uses an interactive dashboard dubbed Microscope to help analysts further explore the context of single data points, delving into the underlying user behavior. Combined with another tool, the Growth Discovery Engine, and a technique called behavioral cohorting, organizations can more easily discover "a-ha" moments, or valuable business insights, the company said. Behavioral cohorting aggregates users into groups that display common behaviors or characteristics, useful for testing hypotheses about why users were retained or not, for example.

In addition to the new technology and analytics approach, the company also highlighted a new pricing model. "We're putting an end to volume-based pricing in user analytics," Skates said in a statement. "Volume-based pricing is bad for product managers and bad for analytics culture. It discourages tracking and forces mobile product teams to perform a cost and benefit analysis every time they instrument more event data. We've developed a platform that operates on an economy of scale that no one else can, and we're liberating one third of the user analytics market from archaic pricing. For the first time, today, we're offering 10 million events per month for free. Other companies charge $1,000 per month for this subscription."

Along with the free tier, Amplitude today also announced $9 million in new Series A funding, led by Benchmark Capital, with participation from several existing investors.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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