Surprise: Yahoo’s mobile push is working better than you think

Don’t look now but it looks like Yahoo’s mobile apps push is bearing fruit, at least according to new data from Onavo.

Case in point: Yahoo(s yhoo) Weather, which rolled out recently, already has what Onavo CEO Guy Rosen calls an “unprecedented” 3 percent market share among U.S. iPhone(s aapl) owners. That’s about 1.5 million users total which makes it the 91st most popular iPhone app three weeks after release, according to Onavo Insights data. That’s very good for a new app, Rosen said in an interview.

Other Yahoo mobile apps including Yahoo Messenger and the Yahoo app are also doing well. “In general, what we found is that although Yahoo has been quiet on mobile, when we look at the top apps, we see quite a few up there. They have a decent footprint.”

According to Onavo stats, the Yahoo app is the most popular of the company’s suite and among the most popular in the App Store overall. In the past three months, active usage has risen to 9.02 percent from  6.5 percent (or to 4.5 million active users from 3.2 million active users.) Not too shabby.

Onavo Insights—Yahoo

How does Onavo get to these numbers? It uses data gleaned from its free iPhone(s aapl) (and now Android(s goog)) apps including Onavo Extend, which compresses data flowing into and out of your phone; Onavo Counts, which watches how much time you actually spend using a given app; and Onavo Protect, which scans traffic flowing into your phone for malware. Then it aggregates that data (minus the personally identifiable bits) and runs statistics to suss out usage patterns. That data forms the core of reports that the company then sells to app developers.

This data is far more useful to app makers than app store download figures because it shows actual engagement. If your app is the mobile equivalent of shelfware, it’s helpful to know that.

Rosen said “millions” of people use Onavo’s iPhone apps but would not specify further. “We use a panel methodology with our user base as the sample and apply statistical methodologies to make sure it’s valid,” he said in an interview.

The current app stats do not yet factor in Onavo’s Android users, although they will be incorporated in time.


Note: This story was updated at 12:38 p.m. PDT with a new chart on Yahoo app usage growth and additional data on that usage.