Chris Hill (pictured) the VP of Marketing at Mobidia was euphoric in telling me about the growth of the company's new app My Data Manager which has had 3.5 million downloads in the past 12 months. As bill shock becomes a larger problem which is amplified by the speed of 4G networks, users - especially when roaming, are literally a movie away from being hundreds of dollars above their typical monthly costs if they aren't careful.
The app runs in the background on iOS and Android and monitors app usage and cellular usage anonymously sending data back to the company if the user agrees to it. To date, over one million people have signed up to allow their data to be tracked meaning Mobidia has some incredible information about mobile use trends. For example, eBay and Amazon were way ahead of the next ecommerce site on Black Friday.
Another tidbit of information is messaging and voip apps seem to have dominant players which are different in each country. Skype of course is a constant and Facebook Messenger is growing rapidly but other players seem to have regional strength.
The company monetizes the app via this data - selling it to investors, and even a VoIP company buys the data to compare themselves to others in the market. Carriers too have become customers and can use the data to target specific plans. For example, heavy Pandora users can be given special offers to use a Spotify plan.
Hill tells me a new frontier is mobile advertising and they are looking for ways to use their data in this space as well.
We often see fremium apps do well as some users become paid over time and ad-supported apps do well as advertisers pay the bills. Mobidia may be one of the few new companies using big data and the subsequent analytics they imply to generate a nice living from giving away an app to the masses.