App + Web Measurement in Google Analytics 360
The new Google Analytics feature is expected to be a breakthrough in the cross-platform measurement. Having a unified view of user activity across your app and website has always been a challenge and has never been as close to reality as in the upcoming months.
This all means that now you can create a new property type in Analytics 360 – App + Web property or link your Firebase project to your Analytics account. This new function is still in beta and is based on the Firebase data collection model (event-based) instead of the standard Google Analytics model. You’ll now be able to see all the Firebase Analytics reports in the Google Analytics interface.
App + Web measurement is enabled by merging separate data collection types, such as data streams, into one unified view. Typically, you want to connect web and app streams into a single view. As a result, you’ll see a set of consistent metrics and dimensions, which provides integrated reporting across platforms.
Depending on your existing website measurement implementation, no retagging is needed to make this feature available for web as long as you are tracking site activity via gtag.js or Google Tag Manager. This can be done in the property settings by connecting a new site tag to an existing Analytics gtag.js, or by implementing the new tag type, Google Analytics App + Web in Google Tag Manager.
Once this is set up, you’ll get access to the following capabilities:
1) Cross-Platform looks into the full context of the customer journey that spans across devices and platforms. It is possible to set up a merged view based on a user ID to identify signed-in users across web and app environments. Having a duplicated view of customers across platforms provides insights into how users switch between web and app when first engaging with the brand, moving towards a goal, or converting.
2) Enhanced Measurement for web data provides out-of-the-box tracking for some of the most common interactions, besides page views: scroll tracking, outbound link clicks, site search, video views, and file downloads. The web data collection has become an automated process, so you no longer need to apply specific engagement metrics in the code or configure them manually.
3) Pathing takes customer journey analysis to the next step with Path Analysis. This is a completely new function within the Analysis section of the Analytics reporting UI, similar to what’s been provided for Analytics 360 clients. It’s a highly flexible tool that encompasses some new techniques and is also absolutely free for app + web properties. The pathing analysis helps you look deeper into the steps users take moving through your app or website. In addition to what the Funnels technique provides, Pathing also enables you to explore multiple user paths instead of analyzing a pre-defined, pre-configured, rule-based path in the standard funnel visualization.
This technique is currently unique to app + web properties, enabling you to perform analysis that wasn’t fully provided by Analytics in the past:
- exploring most frequent user paths, from a specified starting point;
- determining the actions users take on your site or app, after visiting a page/screen or before leaving;
- revealing bottlenecks of the customer journey, seeing the possible weak points where users might experience issues, and preventing them from moving forward;
- applying segments or filters to isolate the subset of paths you want to analyze based on: demographic data, location, platform / stream, device, operating system, browser, traffic source, user properties, and/or event names;
- customizing path steps to switch between event names and pages/screens;
- perform a user-based cross-session analysis, including events that were a part of any of user’s subsequent sessions.
Pathing allows to explore multiple user paths at once, reveal actionable insights about customer journey, and perform a cross-session user-level analysis including app and web platforms integration into one property.
4) App Analytics Capabilities features the Firebase event-based data model which provides additional flexibility in measurement, data collection, and reporting. In addition to this, you’ll take advantage of other app analytics capabilities including a more advanced audience builder, a streamlined view with an extra level of granularity on real-time site activity, and custom funnels for the free version of Analytics.
The app + web functionality in Analytics enables businesses to streamline data collection across app and website, and also takes customer journey analysis to the next level. Discovering insights is getting consistently easier due to the exploration capabilities of Google Analytics 360. This new feature is still in beta testing but is expected to be even more powerful in the future.