Since launching at The Next Web Conference Europe a couple of years ago, Onavo has made a name for itself with its apps for Android and iOS that allow users to consume less mobile data and catch the biggest data-hogging culprits on their devices. There’s another side to the company though, one that’s getting some exposure today via the launch of a free version of Onavo Insights.

Because users have to send details of their data consumption back to Onavo in order for its service to work, the startup is sitting on a lot of information about what apps people use and how they use them. Until now, Onavo Insights has been a premium product that taps into this data, but from today the company is giving some of it away for free.

Aimed at mobile marketers and publishers but accessible to all, the free version of Onavo Insights currently offers data about usage of iOS apps in the US, but this will be expanded in time.

Screen Shot 2013 02 08 at 15.31.38 730x311 Onavo launches free Insights iOS app rankings, tapping into its users habits

The service allows you to view apps ranked by usage (unsurprisingly, Facebook tops the list, followed by YouTube, Instagram and Google Maps), as well as data about individual apps market share. You can also compare competing apps to see how they’ve fared against each other over time.

03 Drive vs Dropbox 730x311 Onavo launches free Insights iOS app rankings, tapping into its users habits

While only a taster of the data that the premium service offers (Onavo CEO, Guy Rosen explains that the premium version provides “deeper, global insights into how mobile users interact with content, how they discover that content and even how they interact with mobile advertising”), this move will certainly help position Onavo in people’s minds as a company that does more than just compress data to reduce your roaming bill.

Who knows, maybe they can become the Alexa of mobile apps along the way? There are other contenders for that throne, of course. Distimo in particular springs to mind, although that tracks app store downloads, not everyday on-device usage.

The free version of Onavo Insights should be accessible right about now.

Onavo Insights 

Image credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images