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Best practices for mobile app analytics

Decide whether to use Firebase Analytics or Google Analytics 360.

Once you have read this article, follow these steps to set up analytics for a mobile app.

In this article:

Firebase Analytics vs Google Analytics

Firebase is a mobile development platform that helps you use Google services when building iOS and Android apps. Firebase Analytics is bundled into the Firebase SDK, so it makes sense to always use Firebase Analytics, even if you want to use Google Analytics as well.

  • For app-only companies: use Firebase Analytics
  • For companies that only have a website: use Google Analytics
  • For companies with both an app and a website: use both Firebase Analytics and Google Analytics

You can connect Firebase to Google Analytics and see your Firebase Analytics reports without leaving the Google Analytics user interface.

The following table summarizes the differences between Firebase Analytics and Google Analytics 360.

Firebase Analytics Google Analytics 360
Event-based data collection model, designed specifically for apps Screenview/pageview data collection model
Free, unlimited event reporting Analytics 360 hit volume limits and pricing apply to all data that is sent to Analytics 360 from websites or apps.
Integrated feature of Firebase, Google's mobile developer platform Standalone analytics product, part of Google Analytics 360 Suite
Automatic measurement of "first open", in-app purchase, and other key events Developer must explicitly initialize screenview tracking and manually instrument events in the app
No roll-up of multiple apps Roll-up properties (including roll-up of both web and mobile app properties)
Not covered under Analytics 360 SLAs Covered under Analytics 360 SLAs

Google Analytics best practices

If you decide to use Google Analytics, following these guidelines to help you collect accurate data and maintain a well organized account. Some guidelines are not applicable in all circumstances:

  • Track different apps in separate properties.
    Track every app in its own property with a distinct tracking ID to avoid combining data in unintentional ways. Limit the number of apps tracked in the same property to avoid reaching your account limit and triggering data sampling.
  • Track different platforms of an app in different properties.
    If you’ve developed the same app for different platforms (i.e., MyApp for Android and MyApp for iOS), track them in different properties. If you want to see the data together, creating an account with AdMob allows you to get a view of all of your data in one place with a rollup property. You can then set up new views to organize and compare the performances in your Analytics reports.
  • Track app editions based on feature similarities.
    Editions of your app (e.g. MyApp: The Original and MyApp: Special Edition) can be tracked either in the same or different properties. Base your decision on the similarity of the editions and your ultimate reporting goals:
    • Track editions with significantly different features or behaviors in separate properties. This prevents any accidental comparison or conflation of unlike data.
    • Track editions that are very similar to each other in the same property. This allows you to combine and directly compare data in your Analytics reports.
  • Track different app versions in the same property.
    Analytics recognizes different versions of an app you’re already tracking, so you won’t need to create a new property each time you release a new version. For example, track MyApp: The Original v1 and MyApp: The Original v1.5 in the same property. Then use the App Version report to compare earlier versions of your app to the latest version in your reports.
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