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Analysing web and app data together in Google Analytics

Willem Blom
Willem Blom
Impact investor & Global SVP Growth – DEPT®
5 min read
1 April 2021

At the end of July 2019, Google announced a new way to measure apps and websites in Google Analytics. This announcement introduces a new property type in Google Analytics, App + Web, which enables you to combine both your website and mobile data in one property thereby, making it easily accessible.

A little bit of history

The App + Website property is really the firebase event model that is now also applied to the web. By moving away from legacy Google Analytics mobile SDKs – remember that Google is phasing this out, and you should start using Firebase for this – Google has changed the event model from three dimensions (category, action, label), to a model in which multiple dimensions can be tied to an event.  Consequently, Google seeks to be more precise to the nature of each event. Moreover, Google introduced the gtag.js library as a simple way to measure and offer a less complicated out-of-the-box form of measurement.

New measurement vision, new toys

A new version of the realtime report shows an improved report which you already know from the Firebase interface. A more elaborate analysis section provides the data analyst with more tools to spot trends and create actionable data, such as a tool that allows you to create funnels which combine segment membership, page visits and goals; and a user pathing tool that allows you to explore pathing across sessions when the path is expanded to include an event/page view from the next session. These new features prove their worth as they have a huge, positive impact on the way data is analysed. Now you have more possibilities to use different segments and possibilities to analyse the user flow and different path analysis from your website and app (cross-platform analysing). 

The interface of the new Apps + Web property is also different from what you are used to in Google Analytics. You can compare it with the “Advanced Analysis” from Analytics, in which there is more focus on segmenting.

How to configure the App + Web property

In the App + Web property, you can add data streams. This is the new language which Google is using to add data sources to your analytics account. As you might have guessed, it is possible to add website datastreams and app datastreams. It’s as easy as adding the account number. Your website tracking code for App + Web property has changed from UA-xxxxxxxx to a G-xxxxxxxxx code. In following the gtag.js vision to simplify measurement, the web datastream allows you to enable basic measurement out of the box. Such as Pageviews (also history changes for SPA websites), Scroll tracking, Outbound clicks, Site search, Video engagement and downloads.   

For whom is this the right product

First of all, the product is still in beta, and it really should be treated like that. Some notable things are still missing, for example, product scoped dimensions. Currently, the properties can be created by creating a new firebase project however, it is not yet possible to upgrade existing firebase accounts to the new App + Web property. But these things will surely be addressed by Google in the future soon.

The intended users for the product are the ones that have an app and a website. Especially those with hybrid apps could benefit from using this new tool. It doesn’t mean you can’t use the App + Web property if you only have a website, but this new property is event-based like Firebase. This, of course, has some impact on the structure of the web measurement setup. In the future though, some improvements will need to be made to the current measurement setup. Moreover, the new vision showcased in the new App + Web property is not supposed to replace all website measurements. It is just a different model. For now, it is strongly recommended to run website measurement in parallel. The gtag.js library makes it very easy to run these measurement deployments in parallel, and that is where they probably will live. 

To do’s

  • Are you still using the legacy app measurement SDK for Google Analytics? Then you should switch over to firebase as soon as possible.
  • The beta will disappear in all the analytics and analytics 360 accounts in the coming weeks. If it’s there, please make sure that you have set this up to collect data.
  • Can’t wait to have a look at this new type of property? You can unlock the new report by setting up a new firebase account and connect this to an existing google analytics account (you want to use for testing).  
  • Of course, just add the new property, and don’t remove other properties.

We hope to show you more about this subject when we have set up the first property.

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