Google Analytics 4 replacing traditional Universal Analytics is a huge change for digital marketers.
The transition to GA4 is significant for users who’ve used Google Analytics for years. However, for Firebase users, this transition is simple. They’ll be able to see the benefits of GA’s web tracking features placed on top of Firebase for a richer data collection.
In this blog post, you will learn –
1. How is Google Analytics evolving, with an emphasis on mobile app measurement.
2. Bi-directional mobile app analytics implementation in GA4 and Firebase.
3. Important analysis and optimization features that both these platforms provide.
Let’s get started!
Google Analytics for Mobile Apps: Is It Good?
GA4 has several advantages for measuring mobile app tracking. Take a look!
Same Implementation for Both the Platforms
The same techniques can be used to populate mobile app tracking data in Firebase projects and a GA4 property. For Android and iOS data streams, the difference is where you start.
Data streams created in the GA4 property sync instantly with a new Firebase project, but Android and iOS data streams created in a Firebase project require a simple integration to be synced with GA4.
Once your mobile app monitoring is in place and the data streams are synced, you can start exploring the features that each platform provides for analysis, optimization, and marketing.
If you’re already tracking in Firebase, you can start your Google Analytics 4 connection from the Firebase project settings. Connecting from Firebase to sync your Android and/or iOS data streams with GA4 gives you an option of creating a new GA4 property or selecting an existing one.
Android, iOS, and web data streams in Google Analytics 4 directly utilize the flexible, agnostic, event-based data paradigm that forms the backbone of Firebase Analytics.
To accomplish internal navigation within your mobile app or website, you submit the following values, for instance, and Firebase and GA4 will track it using the event/parameter model as described below –
In the above example, even without the context of the event name, the menu item option has a distinct and inherent meaning.
If you’re familiar with Firebase Analytics, you’ll be able to use the same schema for GA4 installation and reporting across online and mobile data streams.
Increased Custom Dimensions & Metrics Limits
The event parameters that you send to Firebase Analytics won’t be completely available for reporting in the UI unless you link event parameters to custom dimensions or metrics.
While there is no complete clarity about this criterion, it is critical to fully utilize these custom definitions in your research. You can use custom definitions to map event parameters as custom dimensions or metrics. If you’ve linked your Firebase project to a Google Analytics 4 property, then you might face mobile tracking restrictions.
Defining Dimensions & Comprehensive Reporting Features
When an event parameter is assigned to a custom dimension, it becomes available in a range of reporting scenarios.
For instance, keep your Firebase project and GA4 property unlinked. Map 10 text-string event parameters as custom dimensions and choose 40 numeric event parameters as custom metrics to monitor mobile data into Firebase Analytics.
While most firms benefit from 40 unique metrics, 10 custom dimensions might be rather restricting. A typical analytics installation necessitates many more unique dimensions than custom metrics, especially at the enterprise level.
When you connect your Firebase project to a GA4 property, you may end up creating up to 50 custom dimensions and metrics that will be filled from event parameters for reporting in the UI.
All the event parameters, even if they exceed the 100-characters parameter limit presented in the reporting UI, are included in the BigQuery export. You can enable it either from Firebase Analytics or Google Analytics 4.
Also, Google Analytics 4 provides more comprehensive reporting for mobile app analytics. When you connect your Firebase project to a GA4 property, you’ll have access to reporting templates for your mobile analytics data that aren’t available in the Firebase UI, such as:
1. Funnel Analysis
2. Path Analysis
3. Segment Overlap
Line chart, bar chart, donut chart, scatterplot, geo-map chart, etc are the formats within the GA4 exploration template.
Google Analytics 4 uses the following three ways to process analytics data and identify users across web, Android, and iOS data streams. This allows a more comprehensive view of user activity across platforms.
1. User ID: When a user authenticates to your backend, you can provide an explicit value to GA4 (in an Android, iOS, or web data stream).
2. Google Signals:
a. Applies to Google-authenticated users who browse through your mobile app or website.
b. Does not apply to users who have blocked ads personalization from their Google account settings.
c. You need to enable Google signals in the GA4 property admin.
3. Client ID:
a. the _ga browser cookie value for webpages and the app Instance ID for mobile apps.
b. Users cannot be united across mobile and online data streams.
GA4 does not automatically integrate mobile app and website analytics data generated by the same user on the same device. However, it does provide a unified picture of the users based on user ID and Google signals.
This will help you establish a funnel, route analysis, or audience for visitors who complete a subscription on your website and then watch a video in your mobile app.
Based on the user ID you supply to GA4 for authorized users, GA4 may report on individual users across data streams. In the case of Google signals, you’ll receive reports for users who are signed in to Google while using your mobile app/website.
The approach you choose to deploy mobile app tracking in Firebase and Google Analytics 4 will be based on your business needs and the level of current implementations in either platform.
Installing the SDK & Sending Data to Firebase Analytics
Get started by manually installing Software Development Kit, event monitoring, and debugging.
1. Automatically Gathered and Suggested Events
Retail/eCommerce suggested events are used to populate the GA4 eCommerce reports.
2. Custom Events
a. The other recommended events and parameters do not yet serve a specific purpose in GA4. They are essentially handled as custom events and parameters.
b. But they may serve a special reporting purpose in the future. Therefore, it is a good idea to use recommended events whenever suitable rather than fully custom events for all the interactions that you need to track.
c. You can report up to 500 custom events per app instance. That means 500 events per Android data stream and 500 events per iOS data stream.
d. Events that exceed the 500 limit that you include in your Firebase data stream still flow through BigQuery.
Make Use of Other Firebase Services
While we focus on syncing Firebase with GA4 and using specialized reporting within GA4, it is recommended to adopt the mobile app optimization features available in Firebase.
Personalization & Testing
The audience you build in Firebase is immediately duplicated in the GA4 and vice versa.
Firebase offers a variety of features for testing, customization, messaging, and dynamic updating in your mobile app. All of this uses the audiences you define on either of the platforms.
Custom audiences are copied automatically between a connected Firebase project and a GA4 property. Audiences can be used in Firebase for messaging, personalization, and testing.
You can also utilize Firebase predictions to produce user segments based on machine learning, which you can activate in Firebase services.
Crashlytics, a Firebase service notifies you of crashes and non-fatal exceptions in your Android and iOS apps. Crashlytics optimization starts with a flawless user experience. You can enable the Crashlytics service in your Android and iOS mobile apps. This will help you stay ahead of errors that could degrade the end-user experience and detract from your business goals.
The cloud service and backend development platform of Firebase and GA4’s outstanding analytics reports will undoubtedly help you with valuable insights.
Because of the close relationship between Firebase and GA4, a single installation technique provides considerable benefits to both systems.
Adding to that, if you provide your customers with both a mobile app and website experience, it will enable you to get a complete view of the customer experience across platforms. Also, the uniform data format enables cohesive reporting.
Thus, the merger of Firebase and GA4 should help you receive better insights, enhance the experience of your mobile app customers, and generate incremental value for your business.
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