Should you upgrade to the new app + web-property in Google Analytics
You may already be aware that Google has released a new app + web-property and maybe curious to know more. You may be wondering if the new app + web-property is any better than the traditional web and app property (provided separately by Google Analytics) which you have got used to. You may also be wondering if transitioning to the new app + web-property is a choice, or it is something you can do without. To answer all your questions, lets dive deeper.
First, let’s give you a brief introduction about the journey of Google Analytics until now
- Urchin was the web statistics analysis program developed by Urchin Software Corporation which analysed web server log content and display website traffic information. Urchin Software was acquired by Google in April 2005.
- In January 2012, Google announced that the development of the Urchin software would be discontinued and started promoting an enhanced web analytical tool called Google Analytics. Google was already making money with the sale of Google AdWords around 2006-2007. However, users were not able to understand whether investing in AdWords was necessary as they were not able to track user activity after they land on the website from AdWords. Google then decided to allow users to monitor this activity for free with Google analytics and began to develop the tool further.
- In October 2012, another version of Google analytics called Universal Analytics was released with enhanced features such as cross-domain tracking, custom dimension and metrics.
- In 2013 Google released a beta feature for tracking a mobile app. The Mobile app tracking feature has the same concept but with a terminology. However, apps were not meant for Pageviews and sessions which was used to track websites. This was a problem. Businesses were making use of a different business model when it comes to apps.
- Around January 2014, the ga.js library was changed to analytics.js, which included new features such as enhanced eCommerce tracking.
- Firebase, a mobile app and web development platform, was acquired by Google in 2014. Firebase was not an analytics suite but a developer suit with databases and APIs which were made available via Firebase. Firebase had no eCommerce reporting, and there was no event reporting in Google analytics for apps.
- In March 2016, Google released Google 360, which comprised of 5 main products: Analytics, Tag Manager, Optimize, Data Studio, Surveys, Attribution, and Audience Centre. It was a paid subscription model. Popular features in this product included roll-up reporting and integration with big
- IN October 2017, a new version of Google Analytics which makes use of site tag was released by Google.
- With the advent of eCommerce, web was not the only place to see dynamic content anymore and users were also making use of mobile applications to do it. Google had to come up with a solution to come up with the same type of property to track mobile apps.
- By the end of July 2019, Google made another announcement to overcome the challenge of monitoring website and application data in a single view by releasing the app + web-property in Google Analytics. It won’t take long for it to become de facto in a couple of years.
As pointed above, before the release of app + web-property, Google was offering two tools for app and web analytics, i.e. Google Analytics for Firebase and Google Analytics. With the new version, Google aims to help companies integrate app and web data into a single view. It will help marketers to make use of a consistent set of metrics to obtain a comprehensive view with detailed customer journey touchpoints.
Moving forward to the next question, i.e. transitioning to the new app + web-property is a choice, or it is something you can do without.
Customers making use of the old Google Analytics SDK (apps) will be affected by the new update.
As part of Google’s move away from the outdated tracking methodology using the Google Analytics Services SDK to the new Firebase SDK, Google will be closing down existing app properties.
This means if you still using Google Analytics for app, then you have until October 31, 2019, to implement the new Firebase SDK on both iOS and Android versions of the app.
It also means you have until January 31, 2020, to back-up any data stored on the existing decommissioned properties as from this date both the user interface for Google Analytics and the API will no longer be accessible.
If you are a Google Analytics 360 user, you still have time and can always choose whether or not to migrate onto the new setup.
You may want to know if transiting to app+web property makes any sense if you are using Google analytics to track websites?
The new app+web property makes use of events instead of Pageviews as the primary metric. The tool is flexible and can customized as per the requirements of the marketer. Some of the questions you can answer with the new update are:
Where are maximum conversions taking place and what could be the reason? (web and app)
Which advertising channels are contributing to acquiring new users?
What are the touchpoints for a successful conversion? (You can for the first time, make use of events to analyse customer journey)
Where are maximum conversions taking place and what could be the reason? (web and app)
Reports for this new property use a single set of consistent metrics and dimensions, making it possible to see cross-platform reporting when you add web measurement to your new property.
You may also want to know the reasons why moving to Google Analytics for Firebase from Google analytics for app can be a good option.
Firebase for google analytics is used primarily only for apps, whereas web tracking is done using the GA website property. Firebase is event-based and built for the app world. If you are using the early app tracking, i.e. SDK, you have to manually and explicitly track everything. Firebase has an automatic export to google big query, which makes it easy to export the data to data studio and tableau. With google analytics for Firebase, everything is based on events. A lot of parameters can be sent with each hit if you want to have a lot of custom tracking with Firebase.
Hence, if you are using the old Google Analytics SDK, transitioning to Firebase for Google analytics becomes all the more logical and necessary. If you are already on GA for Firebase, then we suggest creating a new app + web-property and witnessing what are the features which would benefit you before transitioning.
If you are not using the Google Analytics for web then testing the new app + web-property will do you no harm before deciding to ultimately adopt it.
If you want to test the new app + web-property, you can add the new tracking tag to your website. Customers who have already migrated to the site tag in GA or making used of GTM to run events do not have to make any changes on their current setup to take advantage of app+web analytics. However, you’ll need to implement the Firebase SDK for your app if that’s not already the case. Finally, you can add a new tag inside the container via GTM. To do this, add the measurement ID in GTM by selecting the app+web configuration. Now, Google will send data to two web properties.
Because this property type is still in beta, you will likely have spent a lot of time setting up your previous Universal Analytics property for web, and this existing property will have a lot of valuable back-data. For now, we would recommend running these in parallel to get a taste for the new reporting features and options, rather than looking to replace your existing setup. The new app + web-property of Google analytics, will mainly prove beneficial in cross-platform analysis.
Which feature we think adds a lot of value to the process in which data is processed & collected when compared to the previous GA setup.
Changes in Real-time reporting
In the new app + web-property, if you go to Real-time report, you will see it is more informative than the standard web analytics setup. You can also open the users’ snapshot and witness how individual users are interacting with your website in real-time. Standard reports in the new installation allow you to drill down to view more details. All events such as page views (Pageviews are considered as events in the new property) are available in the all-events report. It also contains ad-hoc analysis reports which include an option to include own metric and dimension combinations to more detailed analysis. Using the new property, you can see how many users visited your website and then completed the purchase using the app.
Enhanced measurement provides more flexibility
Rather than building reports around Pageviews, we can send all types of different info to our report. It has data streams which are divided into iOS, android and web. The measurement protocol present in the app + web-property will automatically track collective actions in google analytics. Enhanced measurement automatically tracks events such as page views across site search and embedded YouTube videos. You have an option to enable these features. More importantly, you can send 25 custom parameters with each passing event.
The enhanced measurement allows you to measure many common web events like scrolls, downloads, video views and more with the flip of a toggle in the admin settings for your property
There are many techniques present in the new property which allows you to drag and drop dimensions and metrics onto the canvas so that you can visually analyse them.
Google provides a list of suggested events along with their prescribed parameters, to ensure maximum available detail in your app + web-property reports and to benefit from future features and integrations as they become available. Funnels can be created using events instead of only page views provided on the old google app analytics setup. Event funnels are present in the Firebase set up already, but with the new app + web-property, it can be used on websites as well. Make use of the suggested events to capture data to generate detailed reports on event/parameter combinations, to create audiences, and to integrate with other Google products (such as Google Ads and the Google Marketing Platform).
The Firebase SDK is wholly integrated with the new app + web-property of Google analytics. It will mainly prove beneficial in cross-platform analysis. As mentioned earlier, you can either create a brand-new web property or upgrade your present Firebase setup to make use of the new Google analytics app + web-property features. Upgrading required no code changes and allowed you to automatically integrate new app analytics data with the old data. The up-gradation process below can only be used if Firebase dashboard was used previously.
Upgrading takes just a few clicks.
- Log in to your Firebase console.
- Navigate to the Analytics dashboard.
- Click the “Begin upgrade” button in the banner.
- Follow on-screen instructions to complete the upgrade.
Note: if you have an existing Firebase project already linked to Google Analytics, you will need to upgrade from your connected app property in Google Analytics.
If you are using the old Google analytics SDK to track app activity, our recommendation is to immediately create a new app property in Google Analytics and install the Firebase SDK, which is the replacement for the Google Analytics Services SDK. We can help you with it. We would first look to transfer your existing metrics and dimensions outlined in an initial audit and then look to back-up the data that would otherwise be lost as the data contained in the existing properties will no longer be accessible. Once this is completed, we could look at what additional data may be required and what the new reports can offer for your app/web.
If you’re interested in learning more about what the web + app-property can do for your insights or the clock is ticking down until you have to transit from the app old tracking method to Firebase, we can help you.
Contact Us for more information.
We deliver expert assistance to organizations beginning to transit to the app+web property or are beginning to migrate to Firebase from the old Google analytics SDK for apps.