With shifting technology and user behaviour, mobile apps are seeing a higher focus from businesses. As the investment in apps increases, there is also a swelling demand for detailed analytics for apps. Business stakeholders who approved the investment in the apps want to measure if they are closer to achieving the business objectives. Organizations want to understand the chain of events starting from “what leads to a user downloading the app” until the time they “make revenue of it”. As a Consulting Organization, we have seen a lot of tools developed over the years to try and address this need through various methods. Back in 2012, when Google came in with their app analytics solution, it was already late. In spite of the few success stories, it was always a tough uphill effort to catch up with established players. In 2014, they acquired Firebase which was much superior to Google Analytics for mobile apps. Even now, if your organization uses only mobile apps and has no near term plan of moving away from apps, Firebase Analytics is the go-to tool for you. Why you ask?
Firebase Analytics is user and event based while Google Analytics is best for a session and page based reality
There is a reason why a lot of app development companies invest on creating in-house analytical tools rather use vendor solutions. Most digital analytical tools including Google Analytics were created in a “pre-mobile app” era. A majority still cater primarily to website architectures. Mobile applications differ greatly from websites. Websites are click based. Other than forms where the text is typed, a click is supposed to change the page being viewed. Events like video view or document download are afterthoughts to the basic page based architecture. Apps, on the other hand, have several elements and types of interactions over one or multiple screens. Also, users can call various action by touching, swiping, pinch-in, pinch-out using multiple fingers in various ways. Users can thus interact with various elements that trigger content without changing the screen they are in. There are many apps out there whose interface is just a single screen. The traditional page of websites does not exist. Also, Firebase analytics has solved a big question Google Analytics is still struggling How to uniquely identify a user who may access the page from multiple devices/browsers/time gaps? For mobile apps, there is no need to force yourself to the website language of Google Analytics. Your analytics tool has to adapt to your business reality and not the other way around. Pure play app creators need a tool that understands users and events. Firebase Analytics is that solution.
Another consequence of the page and session based tools like Google Analytics is that events are an afterthought for them. Thus there are limits to which one can go while analyzing events. Even paid solutions like Google Analytics premium have a limit on how many events you can report and analyze. Firebase, however, provides you with unlimited reporting for up to 500 distinct events. Did we mention that Firebase is also free?
Funnel analysis makes much more sense in Firebase Analytics than in Google Analytics
The traditional page flow analysis involves analyzing sequence of pages visited in a session prior to the desired outcome. This is not useful. This is because visitors don’t “follow” the path that we want them to follow. The correct way to analyze user behavior flow is to identify the critical actions taken at every step of the conversion process. Since Firebase is based on events and not on screen views, it allows you to create funnels based on events which give much more value than the page-view based funnels Google Analytics has.
Imagine tomorrow your organization decides to use websites in addition to the apps. Alternatively, let us say you still have stakeholders who understand only the language of Google Analytics. Firebase has a tight integration with Google Analytics. Connect your Firebase data to Google Analytics and see your Firebase analytics reports without leaving the Google Analytics user interface.
Firstly, Firebase is a mobile and web application platform. Its original product was a real time database. Along with the famous Firebase Analytics, it also has services and infrastructure designed to help developers build high-quality apps. Firebase features can be mix-and-matched by developers to fit their needs. After Firebase was acquired by Google in October 2014, it has expanded to become a full suite for app development with many Google products like Admob also integrated into it. You can take a look at what Firebase has apart from Analytics here. Firebase as a backend service is one of the fast growing businesses in the Android market.
Firebase audiences are like segments in Google Analytics. Additionally, Firebase enables audience-specific push notifications and app configuration changes to be sent out without having to collate that information separately. You can identify custom audiences in the Firebase console based on device data, custom events, or user properties. These audiences can be used with any of the other Firebase features mentioned above.
By investing in Firebase, you will be investing in many more tools from Google that helps in app development and monetization. With the purchase of Fabric developer platform from Twitter last month, Firebase has again come to the spotlight. Fabric’s reach of 580,000 developers will grow the user base of Firebase. If your digital strategy is app-driven, Firebase is the right analytics tool for you.