Digital Acceleration & Amplitude’s Funding Milestone

Spenser Skates

CEO and Co-founder

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7-minute Read,

Posted on May 27, 2020

Our $50M Series E round led by GIC will accelerate our mission to help teams build better products.

Despite these turbulent times, Amplitude has reached a milestone achieved by only .00006% of startups: After raising our Series E round, Amplitude has now joined the unicorn club. This is only one more step in a long journey, but one that could not have happened without the support and feedback from all of our customers and partners.

The world has never before seen a shift in usage to digital products like what our customers are experiencing now. These pivots in consumer and business behaviors are benefiting some and challenging others—we’re seeing massive swings in our customers’ product usage, in some cases going from single digit percentage growth to +/- 50%. Our new fundraise will enable us to respond faster to the digital acceleration we’re witnessing. As part of our goal to continue helping our community during these times, we wanted to share with you critical data, found below, on the state of digital products across industries and provide context on how businesses are responding to the changing winds.

COVID-19 and the shift to digital

Over the past 90 days, we’ve hit a tipping point for companies to successfully go digital or go bust. For many of our product-led customers in media, delivery and SaaS, each week is now like Cyber Monday. We have seen a 44% increase in the monthly new data volume absorbed by Amplitude in this window.

Before COVID-19, companies were measuring the pace of digital acceleration in quarters and years. Now they are measuring it in weeks and some cases, even days.

U.S. Ecommerce PenetrationSource: 2PM

Amplitude is in a unique position to observe these trends across our behavioral database, which exceeds 28 trillion data points captured across users from over 180 countries. We’ve seen that the pandemic has clearly triggered a pattern of those who are thriving and those who are struggling:

  • Thriving companies in travel & hospitality as well as ride-sharing have faced massive decline in usage and are making the tough decisions they need to hold on and reset.
  • At the same time, companies in streaming media, delivery, and collaboration SaaS are seeing higher user growth than ever before.
  • Retailers that invested deeply in ecommerce channels have been able to pivot quickly to digital while others have had to shut down stores and file for bankruptcy.

To better understand these trends and how they continue to evolve over 2020, we put together anonymized digital product usage data from over 600 organizations across five industries—consumer tech, B2B SaaS, streaming media, ecommerce and marketplaces, and Fintech.

Thriving or floundering?

On Feb 9, most of the world economy was still open with the exception of Hubei province, China. Below, we are sharing trends in digital adoption over the subsequent 12 weeks (Feb 9 – May 2) as most countries imposed travel bans and shelter-in-place policies ensued.

Normalized Growth in Application Daily Active Users, New Users, and Event Volume by Industry February 9 – May 2, 2020 (Relative to Baseline February 9 - 22)
Note: For this analysis, we normalized daily active user, new user, and event volume data for 600 onboarded, non-trial, in-production applications grouped by industry. Normalizing by application ensures that growth rates are not unduly influenced by individual, large customers. % increase/decrease represents change relative to the 14d average from the start of the period (Feb 9-Feb 22). The 14d average is "100%" on the y-axis.

Digital product usage grew across all the five industries, but some more so than others.

  • B2B Saas, consumer tech, and finance companies in our dataset have seen an aggregated increase of ~18-24% daily active users.
  • Ecommerce and media companies saw industry growth of 33-52% in daily active users in the short span of a month in March, whereas a typical month might be <5% growth.
  • Every industry except Fintech saw a ~50% spike in new users in March, whereas on average it might be 2-5%, and they have largely sustained this growth into May. Fintech saw a roughly ~25% spike. There are early signs of some trend reversal in B2B SaaS.
  • Average events per user rose across each industry implying that not only do we have more users online, but on average, each user is spending more time online.
  • The most marked growth in usage was in streaming media, which saw a 2x increase in average usage.

We’ve seen several different patterns from immediate decline to dip-and-recovery as well as spikes with declining retention. The differences within industry appear to be tied to the content they offer and the level of digital collaboration they provide.

  • While broader B2B SaaS users grew ~18%, some collaboration platforms tripled users in March while others saw steady growth throughout the period.
  • The same was true in streaming media. Companies that streamed live sports saw a steep decline while recorded content users grew up to 250% versus a normal monthly growth in the single digits range.

We will be publishing observations like these on the continued impact of this digital acceleration at a systemic and industry level over the next few months. If you are interested in collaborating with us please write to press@amplitude.com.

How companies keep calm—and thrive—during COVID-19 with Amplitude

Since the global wave of shelter-in-place orders went into effect due to the COVID-19 outbreak, more of our customers have been checking in more frequently with Amplitude to measure their digital product metrics including retention rates.

We analyzed how ~100k Amplitude users from over 40k applications tracked user data during the January to April window:

  • We saw a 41% increase in total sessions in Amplitude signalling rapid growth in broad engagement.
  • The percentage of companies checking on their product metrics daily, every week, saw a step change from 40% towards 50%.
  • One of the drivers for this change was the surge in anomalies companies saw as massive shifts in customer usage continued week over week. For example, in ecommerce we saw a 3x increase in weekly alerts distributed by Amplitude from a baseline of 2.2k to a peak of 6.7k in mid April.
  • More of our customers started running retention queries to better understand churn in their business.
  • We also observed that people are working longer hours than usual with the traditional hours of commute and lunch shifting to remote work. This prompted us to take a closer look at the working patterns on our own team and discuss measures to prevent burnout.

Increase in total sessions within Amplitude

Increase in anomaly alerts sent by Amplitude

If you are interested in learning more, we have published a public notebook of our analysis.

Join us at Amplitude’s Product Summit on June 3 for a full walkthrough of this data with our EVP of Product Justin Bauer.

The best product experience wins

While the underlying patterns of change differ across industries, everyone has one need in common: building the best product experience. We want to help teams retain users and build for growth. Companies can’t afford to fly blind: they need to know what’s happening in their products in real-time. Using Amplitude is like being able to observe millions of user actions all at once. Given the macro environment, this power is needed sooner than many expected.

Amplitude took off with tech companies like Twitter, Atlassian or Instacart. Now, the biggest media, retail, and finance companies must adopt the practices of the world’s top digital teams. A great example of this is the world’s largest brewing company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has over $50B in revenue.

AB Inbev launched digital transformation efforts years ago, but COVID-19 has become a massive catalyst. Kurt Williams, AB InBev Global Director of Product, and his team have been migrating retail markets from field reps who took orders on location to a B2B ecommerce system instrumented on Amplitude. With markets on lockdown, more of their sales are going through digital channels—with some markets reaching close to 100% digital. Amplitude has enabled their team to understand which markets are adopting digital and why, and how to optimize user flows, customers programs, top-selling products and inventory, and targeted communications that spur engagement. Forward-thinking companies like AB Inbev will thrive in a digital-first future.

They couldn’t have accomplished this with legacy analytics tools. Some of the most common analytics tools used in large companies today were built 20+ years ago including Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and Tableau. They help understand where website traffic is coming from or what the business P&L is, but stumble when it comes to analyzing product usage.

This is why 24 Fortune 100 companies and organizations like NBC Universal, Burger King, Paypal, Peloton, Atlassian, Instacart and more rely on Amplitude’s platform to build the digital products that define the way we live and work.

We are also excited to support the product teams that are focused on saving lives and helping get the world economy back on track. Our customers and teams are finding creative ways to use data to fight the virus and help those impacted navigate our new reality. NurseFly uses Amplitude to help them staff hospitals with available medical professionals. US Digital Response is using Amplitude & Segment to optimize the UI by ensuring people are making it through the unemployment paperwork flow. And ZOE, the team behind the COVID Symptom Tracker used by 3 million people, analyzes data to prioritize enhancements and improve user sharing to get more information to more people. These are a few of the many inspirational stories we’re proud to contribute to. If you know of other teams like them, please write to covid19@amplitude.com.

The path ahead

The data show that the need for product intelligence has dramatically increased, and we’re ready to meet this challenge. Our Series E fundraise will help us invest in three particular areas that will best help us continue serving our customers.

1. Making Amplitude more powerful for you

We are investing in forecasting, causal analytics and better anomaly detection so that Amplitude can do more of the heavy lifting for you and your team. We want our customers to be able to define the outcomes they need and plot their path to it with the best product analytics in the world.

2. Making Amplitude even easier to adopt

We want to ensure that users across the data literacy spectrum can adopt product analytics. We also want to make it easier for companies to onboard new team members with data. We are investing in taxonomy, templates and collaboration to get our platform singing for every customer.

3. Bringing Amplitude to every doorstep

We will continue to grow our team with acquisitions and additions across every function including our international teams in Europe and Asia Pacific to better serve the growing product community.

None of this would be possible without the 329 passionate Ampliteers who exemplify our values—humility, ownership and growth mindset. We’ve come a long way since we launched Amplitude in 2014, and I’m so excited to build the future with you. Thank you!

The Amplitude team

Spenser Skates

Spenser is the CEO and Co-founder of Amplitude. He experienced the need for a better product analytics solution firsthand while developing Sonalight, a text-to-voice app. Out of that need, Spenser created Amplitude so that everyone can learn from user behavior to build better products.

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