Google Analytics bring web and apps together

Posted in a new blog post

A new way to unify app and website measurement in Google Analytics

People expect to interact with businesses when and how they like, such as browsing a brand’s website to research a product and then purchasing it later using the brand’s app. Getting insight into these cross-platform journeys is critical for businesses to predict customer needs and provide great experiences—but it can be very challenging.

Currently, many businesses measure app engagement with Google Analytics for Firebase and website engagement with Google Analytics. While each of these products separately offer powerful insights, getting a more unified picture of engagement across your app and website can be a manual and painstaking process.

To make this simpler, we’re announcing a new way to measure apps and websites together for the first time in Google Analytics.

in short, from that

to this

and man I was waiting that for a looooooong time


It is all about the cross-platform and yeah you want to track that,
do I need to repeat why? OK … let’s repeat why

  • even if you only publish mobile apps
    you got to have a web site to make your apps discoverable

  • even if you publish only desktop apps
    you got to have a web site, same reason, to make your apps discoverable
    but also track “downloads”, and further on “installs” and “uninstalls”

  • even if you publish command-line apps or server-side apps
    you got to have a web site too

People search, discover and find about apps using web search engine
so if you don’t have a web site associated to the app you’re app is literally not-existing

That’s why this “merge” of web data and app data is quite important if you use GA.

Here few examples and scenarios:

let’s call our app “foobar”, and let’s say you publish it on desktop as a GUI (build with Adobe AIR off course) for both Windows and macOS and so you added a web site to host those downloads, let’s call it www.foobar.io

as a strict minimum you will track the visitor of the site on www.foobar.io
and track the different pages related to your product

  • /blog where you talk about the product, its features, new releases, etc.
  • /help for the online help
  • /forum for maybe a self-help forum
  • /download where you list the installers

nothing out of the ordinary here, just use the basic analytics.js on a Website property

but because it is a desktop app, your installers, for ex:

  • foobar-1.0_setup-x32.exe for WIndows 32-bit
  • foobar-1.0_setup-x64.exe for WIndows 64-bit
  • foobar-1.0.pkg for macOS

those need to be tracked too
you could decorate with JS the links on the download pages
so when someone click on /download/foobar-1.0_setup-x64.exe

you would track an event, for ex:

{
    category: "{not set)",
    action: "download",
    label: "{not set)",
    value: 1
}

and the app infos

{
    appname: "Foobar",
    appversion: "1.0.0",
    appid: "Trial/Unregistered (free) edition",
    appinstallerid: "web"
}

but those will be tracked in a Mobile App property
and yes it is weird, but so far there was no other to do it
and it is even worse than that, both the Website and Mobile App properties
are considered two different properties.

Not anymore :slight_smile:

you can now have one single property that combine web and app
see more details

Now when the user install foobar-1.0_setup-x64.exe
there from the installer you can send another event

{
    category: "{not set)",
    action: "install",
    label: "{not set)",
    value: 1
}

and if afterwards the user uninstall the software you should track that too

{
    category: "{not set)",
    action: "uninstall",
    label: "{not set)",
    value: 1
}

in a dashboard it will allow you to see something like this

those events should carry the same app infos

{
    appname: "Foobar",
    appversion: "1.0.0",
    appid: "Trial/Unregistered (free) edition",
    appinstallerid: "web"
}

and from there when the user launch your apps then you could track
the navigation in your app with “screenview”

let’s say you have a register screen
you could send an “event”

{
    category: "User Interaction",
    action: "register",
    label: "regular",
    value: 1
}

and then update the app internal app id
from “Trial/Unregistered (free) edition”
to “Registered (regular) edition”

and many more things …


Tracking is not bad it allow you to understand how your users use your app,
and now with this new functionality of having web + app you should be able to combine
those metrics to understand how a user browser the site of the app
in parallel of download/install/uninstall etc.

There are much more to say about tracking in AIR, and few tricks to know about tracking on the web (like for ex: what if the user directly download your installer without going through the web page, can you track that kind of hotlinking ? yes but therr it involve server-side tracking, a whole post in itself).

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