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SurveyMonkey launches app insights business

SurveyMonkey is launching an entirely new business, called SurveyMonkey Intelligence. It's an app insights platform, providing information about over 1,000 apps, who's using them, how and how much.

The move to become what is essentially the Nielsen of app intelligence lets the world's leading online survey platform diversify into a new area, while leveraging its expertise in data and market research. It also puts SurveyMonkey into competition with App Annie and Yahoo's Flurry, which also provide mobile analytics. But the company said this is a step ahead by providing the ability to analyze the whole competitive landscape.

"When you think about businesses moving to the mobile device, all customer-centric companies need intel about their customers in terms of downloads and churn and time spent and revenue, and that's what SurveyMonkey Intelligence offers app publishers, investors and consumers alike," said CEO Zander Lurie. "We think SurveyMonkey Intelligence is going to be a game changer for the market."

Searching mobile phone magnifying glass
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Like SurveyMonkey's core business, this will be a "freemium" business model. For free, the company will provide basic facts about the usage of apps: weekly and monthly active users, the fastest growing and fastest declining apps, plus two weeks of data.

A starter subscription of $79 a month also includes data on usage and engagement, plus the revenue that apps are bringing in, and the ability to go back over a month. A professional subscription of $849 a month gives six months of data, plus information on how consumers are spending their time with apps, plus the ability to download data. An even higher tier with bespoke tools and pricing also offers the possibility to look at how the user base of different apps overlap — to see, for example, how many Instagram users also use newcomer Flipagram, or what the overlap is between Lyft and Uber drivers.

"We believe that not only should data be free, it should be accessible, you shouldn't have to wait for a salesperson, and our pricing is transparent," said the exec who's been leading this new business, Abhinav Agrawal.

"This is designed for and by product managers who understand what are the key metrics," said Agrawal, co-founder of Renzu, the data analytics start-up SurveyMonkey acquired last year. "Sometimes focusing on downloads isn't the right metric. You could get a lot of downloads but then those users leave later, which is why we include data on retention." Agrawal also said his product is accurate within a 10 percent margin of error.

This is valuable information for app companies looking to figure out how to drive downloads of their apps and spending on those apps. It's also valuable for marketers looking to target customers.

"You may want to understand where your users spend your time, or you may want to understand where your target audience of women spend the most time and how they spend money within apps," said Agrawal.

This is a meaningful milestone for SurveyMonkey, which was named to the CNBC Disruptor50 list and suffered the tragic and loss of CEO Dave Goldberg who died in a treadmill accident last May. It's the first major announcement from Lurie, who served as interim CEO immediately following Goldberg's death, then returned in January.

The company is on track to generate over $200 million in revenue this year, according to Lurie, with margins in the 35 percent range.

"We have a terrific team in place that's growing our core business and launching new businesses," he said. "I think when the time is right for us to tap the public markets there will be a great opportunity for SurveyMonkey to go public."