[GA4] Measure and optimize your App campaign performance using Google Analytics 4 data

Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4) with the Google Analytics for Firebase SDK (GA4F SDK) provides comprehensive, privacy-centric analytics to help you better measure and optimize your App campaign performance. Learn more about the benefits and features you get access to by using Google Analytics 4.

This guide provides a comprehensive, step-by-step process for integrating Google Analytics 4 and the Google Analytics for Firebase SDK with Google Ads bidding.


Before you begin

Before you begin, make sure you have the following:


Get started with Google Analytics 4

To successfully bid on app events with Google Ads using GA4, you must follow these steps:

  1. Add the Google Analytics for Firebase SDK to your app
  2. Implement event tracking
  3. Enable Google Analytics 4 for your project
  4. Link Google Play if your app has in_app_purchase events
  5. Mark events as key events
  6. Link with Google Ads
  7. Create Google Ads conversions based on key events
  8. Enable auto-tagging
  9. Bid on conversions

Step 1 of 9: Add the Google Analytics for Firebase SDK to your app

The Google Analytics for Firebase (GA4F) SDK is a piece of code that needs to be implemented into your app. All implementation instructions and developer docs can be found through the following links:

Step 2 of 9: Implement event tracking

The GA4F SDK automatically collects certain events. No additional code is required to capture these including first_open and in_app_purchase.

Implement additional events with event logging using the GA4F SDK:

For generally recommended events, read Recommended events.

Step 3 of 9: Enable Google Analytics 4 for your project

Link an existing Google Analytics 4 property

  1. Open the Firebase console, select your project, and click the Settings icon.
  2. Open Project settings > Integrations.
  3. On the Google Analytics card, click Link.
  4. Select an Analytics Account or create a new one.
    1. If you select an existing account, you have the option to select an existing Google Analytics 4 property in that account or to create a new property.
    2. If you create a new account, then a new Google Analytics 4 property is created for you and your project is linked to that property.
  5. Configure your Analytics settings.

Create new GA4 property from Firebase console

  1. Open the Firebase console and select your project.
  2. Click Analytics.
  3. Click the Enable Google Analytics button and follow the prompts.

Learn more about Firebase integration.

Step 4 of 9: Link Google Play if your app has in_app_purchase events

You can link Google Play from either Google Analytics 4 or the Firebase console.

In Google Analytics 4

  1. In Admin, under "Product Links", click Google Play Links.
  2. Click Link.
  3. If you have Admin permissions on one or more Play developer accounts, click Choose app then select the app you want to link to.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Verify the auto-selected app data stream and click Next.
  6. Review your configuration settings and click Submit.

In the Firebase console

An illustration that shows how to link Google Play in Google Ads.

  1. Open the Firebase console, select your project, and click the Settings icon.
  2. Select Project Settings.
  3. On the Project Settings page, click the Integrations tab.
  4. On the Google Play card, click Link.
  5. Click Link to Google Play in the “Linking to Google Play” popup box.

Verify that apps are properly linked. Status should be “Linked”.

Learn more about linking Google Play to Firebase and linking your developer account to Google services.

Step 5 of 9: Mark events as key events

In Admin, under Data display, click Events. Turn on the switch in the “Mark as key event” column. Make sure to mark required events, the ones you plan to use for bidding in your App Campaigns, as key events. Learn more about marking events as key events

Step 6 of 9: Link with Google Ads

Enable bidding on app conversions by connecting your app data streams in Google Analytics to your Google Ads account. You can link Google Analytics 4 with Google Ads from GA4, the Firebase console, or directly in Google Ads.

In Google Analytics 4

  1. In Admin, under "Product Links", click Google Ads Links.
  2. Click Link.
  3. Click Choose Google Ads accounts, then select the Google Ads accounts you want to link.
  4. Click Confirm.
  5. Click Next.
  6. The option to Enable Personalized Advertising is on by default.
    1. If personalized advertising is disabled, Firebase/GA4 lists cannot be used for remarketing in App engagement or Web campaigns.
  7. Expand the Enable Auto-Tagging option to enable auto-tagging or to leave your auto-tagging settings as they are.
    1. If you enable auto-tagging when you link to a manager account, then auto-tagging will be enabled on all Google Ads accounts directly linked to the manager account.
    2. Auto-tagging is required to track app conversions in Engagement and web campaigns.
  8. Click Next, then review your settings.
  9. Click Submit to link your accounts with the current settings.

In the Firebase console

  1. In Firebase select your project and click the Settings icon.
  2. Select Project Settings.
  3. On the Project Settings page, click the Integrations tab.
  4. On the Google Ads card, click Link.
  5. Click Continue in the “Linking to Google Ads” popup box.
  6. Choose which accounts should be linked and click Link to Google Ads.
  7. After successful integration, you should review accounts that are linked in the “Integrations” section.

In Google Ads

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Admin icon Admin Icon.
  2. Under "From Google," find “Google Analytics (GA4) and Firebase", then click Details.
  3. Find the Google Analytics property or a Firebase project in the table, then click Link.
  4. In the confirmation window, select if you want to import additional data (for example, audiences) and click Link.
  5. In the confirmation window, click Activate.

Learn more about linking Google Analytics 4 properties and Google Ads and Google Ads integration.

Step 7 of 9: Create Google Ads conversions based on key events

Note: The instructions below are part of the new design for the Google Ads user experience. To use the previous design, click the "Appearance" icon, and select Use previous design. If you're using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page you’re searching for.

An animation that shows how to import Firebase apps in Google Ads.

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Goals icon Goals Icon.
  2. Click the Conversions drop down in the section menu.
  3. Click Summary.
  4. Click + New conversion action.
  5. Select App from the list of conversion types.
  6. Click Google Analytics 4 properties, then click Continue.
  7. Check the box next to a key event, then click Import and continue.
  8. Click Done.
Note: To create conversions based on your GA4 iOS key events, add an App Store ID to your Firebase project. To access IDFA, enable the AdSupport framework in your XCode project. Learn more about AdSupport through Apple's documentation.

Set account-default goals for imported events

  1. First-time users of GA4
    • Include goals in account defaults if you would like the conversion to be counted towards any campaigns with account-default conversion goals. Learn more About account-default conversion goals.
  2. Migrating from another conversion event source
    • If you are already optimizing to third-party app conversion actions as primary, then be sure to set action optimization to secondary for all newly imported GA4 conversion actions to avoid negatively impacting your existing campaigns.

Step 8 of 9: Enable auto-tagging

Note: The instructions below are part of the new design for the Google Ads user experience. To use the previous design, click the "Appearance" icon, and select Use previous design. If you're using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page you’re searching for.

Auto-tagging is required to track conversions for App Engagement campaigns and web campaigns with app goals.

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Admin icon the Settings icon.
  2. Click Account settings.
  3. Click the Auto-tagging section.
  4. You'll be able to check the current status of auto-tagging for your account. To turn auto-tagging on or off, click to check or uncheck the box next to “Tag the URL that people click through from my ad”.
  5. Click Save.

An illustration that shows how to enable auto-tagging in Google Ads.

Learn more About auto-tagging.

Step 9 of 9: Bid on conversions

After you create conversions based on your key events, you can begin bidding on the conversions by starting with App Campaigns or choosing the right campaign that can utilize your app conversions.

Learn more about conversion goals and using conversion goals to guide new campaigns.

If you’re already bidding on conversions imported from another app SDK and wish to begin using GA4 for bidding, follow the instructions on how to Migrate App campaigns to use Google Analytics 4.


Web to App Connect

If you run Search, Performance Max, and or Shopping campaigns in addition to using App campaigns, you can use Web to App Connect to drive better experiences for your customers through seamless web-to-app integration. For mobile users who have your app installed, you can use Web to App Connect to help you direct customers to relevant pages on your mobile app through deep links in Search, Performance Max, and Shopping campaign ads.

Once deeplinked to a specific page in your app, your customers can easily complete their intended action, whether purchasing, signing up, or adding items to their cart. By using the Web to App Connect interface, you can also more easily track these in-app conversion actions and get recommendations on how to improve your campaign. Creating seamless web-to-app experiences for your customers can help deliver, on average, 2 times higher conversion rates for ad clicks landing in your app compared to your mobile website. Learn more about converting better with the Web to App Connect interface.

To get started with Web to App Connect, follow the 3 steps below:

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Tools icon Tools Icon.
  2. Click the Planning drop down in the section menu.
  3. Click App advertising hub. This will take you to the Web to App Connect interface.

Learn more about converting better with the Web to App Connect interface.


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