The app analytics landscape has changed a lot since Google decided to move app analytics from Google Analytics to Firebase Analytics. In this guide you'll find background information about app analytics, the current properties and where to find important metrics.
Highstreet app analytics
With Google Analytics it was possible to send so-called ‘server-side tracking data’ to the property. However, Firebase Analytics dictates ‘app-side tracking’ as a best practice. This means that the app only sends an order - and therefore the revenue - to Firebase if a user lands on the order confirmation page inside the app. The user flow sends a customer from the app checkout to the hosted payment page and then back to the order confirmation page in the app. However, the customer can leave this flow at any point, even when the order has been placed but the customer does not return to the app. At such a moment previously our server would still send the correct information to Google Analytics. With the app-side tracking integration of Firebase Analytics, this is not registered, which has an impact on reliability.
To fix this problem, we have set up a workaround. We are sending the app data from our servers to a separate web property within Google Analytics. The ‘Reliable Order Tracking’ property enables you to access this server data, which offers the same reliability as you were used to with Google Analytics.
The different app analytics properties
There are three properties that allow you to view the performance of the app.
- The standard Firebase Analytics property.
- The App+Web property in Google Analytics. This property shows the Firebase data but in a different UI and in the Google Analytics dashboard. This property allows you to combine the website and app data and also contains an extensive report builder.
- The “Reliable Order Tracking” property. We recommend you to always get your revenue and transaction data from the ROT property, except when your company owns a Google Analytics 360 account.
Users that have access to the properties with the permissions 'editor' or 'owner' can invite other team members. You can also reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for access.
Firebase events overview
For a full overview of all events that are being sent from the app to Firebase Analytics, check out this document.
Google Analytics 360
Currently Google is still keeping app properties active for Google Analytics 360 users and hasn't announced plans to sunset 360 app properties. In case you are using Google Analytics 360, your app properties work as expected and are still reliable. We do however recommend to start working with Firebase - and the other new properties - so you know how to build your reports in case Google decides to also sunset the 360 app properties.
How to find app performance metrics?
Are you looking for a metric, but you're not sure where to find it? In a series of videos we show you how to find the app's key performance indicators.
Note: Google Analytics 360 accounts can find all app metrics in the standard app property.
Select the right app projects (Firebase)
Before checking the metrics in Firebase, it's important to select the right app projects. This will make sure the data from both the iOS and Android app are presented in the dashboards.
The app store consoles are the source of truth for app installations. The consoles have data on first time installations and re-downloads. The article below contains information on where to find this data and how to compare iOS installations with Android installations.
Measuring app activity
Keeping a close eye on your app installations is interesting when building the user base. When doing app exclusive promotions to increase downloads, installations can indicate how successful your campaigns have been. But installations won't always be the leading factor when you want to measure the performance of the app. The app can have a user base of 100k, but only have 5k monthly users. Does that mean your app performs well?
Once you have established a user base, app activity is best measured by looking at the active users. When managing the app, user activity is one of the Key Metrics to report on. Knowing that on average the revenue per user and conversion per user is a lot higher for app than the website, you will always want your number of active users to be as high as possible. That is why it's important to give your customers a reason to visit to the app regularly. For example, by sending out push notifications and updating your home wall often.
Why report on user activity instead of sessions?
It is a given that app users do more sessions than web users. An app is almost literally in your pocket, so you open it much easier / faster and generally also offers more ease of use. The fact that the number of app sessions is much higher than on web is not a bad thing, on the contrary. It is a good thing! It’s the power of apps.
Comparing a conversion with the amount of sessions would not reflect this and give the wrong picture of reality. It makes more sense to compare the number of conversions with the number of active users. For web and for apps. That’s why we recommend brands to use conversion per user as one of their Key Metrics.
Conversion per user
The conversion as shown in Firebase is based on session. Although this is a good metric to compare the app with website, it doesn’t give a complete image of app users. It's a given that app users visit more frequently than website users, which would have a negative effect on the conversion based on sessions. This is why Highstreet always calculates the conversion per user. This metric answers the question how well your user base converts in a selected time period.
Formula: transactions / users x 100 = conversion per user
Revenue & Transactions (Google Analytics - Reliable Order Tracking property)
Revenue per user
To calculate the revenue per user, use the following formula: revenue / users = revenue per user
Campaign performance (Firebase)
Screen views (Firebase)
Filter by storefront (Firebase)
- Reliable revenue and transaction data can be found in the Reliable Order Tracking property. All other data can be taken from the default Firebase Analytics property.
- Google currently has no plans to remove app reporting from Google Analytics 360 accounts.
- All Firebase events can be found in this document.
- Google Analytics 360 accounts can find all app metrics in the standard app property.
- The app store consoles are the source of truth for app installations.
- App activity is best measured by looking at the active users.
- For the app it's preferred to calculate the conversion per user, over the conversion per session.