How the GA App+Web Property will impact Digital Product Analytics
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How the GA App + Web Property will impact Digital Product Analytics

If you’re in Mobile Analytics, the end of last year might have been a rollercoaster. Google announced that it would be sunsetting the Google Analytics Services SDK by October 2019 and that it would be removing all data from GA views that only had mobile data coming in.

Google kindly (*cough*) requested everyone to start implementing the Firebase SDK and use Firebase Analytics, which by no means was up for this substitution.

With only a few months to go before the start of the Google Analytics Services SDK sunset. Google has announced the open public bèta launch of the new Google Analytics App + Web Property.

https://www.blog.google/products/marketingplatform/analytics/new-way-unify-app-and-website-measurement-google-analytics/

Web & App Equality

No longer is there a divide between measuring websites and native apps. And why should there be? People are interacting with a user interface which leads to certain actions. Most of the time the KPI’s for either web or native applications are the same. So you should be able to measure them in the same view.

But be aware that this equality does not mean feature parity between the old Universal Analytics and Google Analytics for Mobile Apps views. There are some web features like Site Search or Ecommerce reports not available for the moment. If you would like to know more about the differences, Simo Ahava has them listed for you:

https://www.simoahava.com/analytics/getting-started-with-google-analytics-app-web/#caveats

The Session-Paradigm Shift

What the move aims to do is move away from the Session + PageView way of measuring things. It has been a paradigm that was widely used in web analytics. People start a session by entering your website, viewing pages and maybe triggering some events (e.g. by submitting a certain form).

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

This now moves to a Events + Parameters paradigm in which the actions a user takes is much more important than the screen / page she is on. It’s a paradigm that is being used by more product-focussed analytics tools like Amplitude and Mixpanel. If you still need to adapt, start today. There’s no way back now.

Advanced Analysis for Everyone

In July 2018, Advanced Analysis was launched to (paying) GA360 customers. It was a set of features that let you slice and dice your data with more possibilities than the more rigid (free) GA reports. It felt more like the way Adobe Analytics was handling reporting. Considering Krista’s time at Adobe, that should come as no surprise.

Image taken from https://www.kristaseiden.com/pathing-in-google-analytics/.

The new App + Web property comes with Advanced Analysis as one of the features. I’m still a bit sceptic about Google making this full feature set available for free while GA360 clients are paying around $150k/year for this and a loosening on data limits or raw data access. So not too sure if there isn’t a flag on that play. 🤔

Hurdles Still to Take

Although this would be a great improvement in the light of the original Google Analytics for Firebase functionalities, there are still some challenges to overcome for Firebase to be a satisfying analytics solution.

The biggest one being the Collection and configuration limits in Firebase, allowing you to only report 10 text and 40 numeric parameters across all the events in your project. Considering the Event + Parameter paradigm, this kind of limitation is not something you can work with if your product has any complexity.

Next to that, this still feels like a few interfaces thrown together. Merging these products into one is by no means an easy task, so tremendous work already by the team at Google / Firebase, but this doesn’t yet feel like a unified product. But well, it’s still in beta for a reason, I suppose. 🤷🏻‍♂️

If you’re not satisfied by what the new App + Web Property is throwing at you, you should check out this article on Google Analytics alternatives:

https://medium.com/@maavdnbo/5-alternatives-to-google-analytics-for-firebase-ad5f075e00a2

So, what are your thoughts? Will you be using the new App + Web Property for Google Analytics?

Need any more help with product analytics? Let me know!