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6 steps to configure Firebase Analytics tracking


Wojtek Andrzejczak
6 steps to configure Firebase Analytics...

Learn how to configure a Firebase project with Google Analytics to track app and web traffic in a few simple steps.

What problem do we want to solve?

Let our client collect cross-platform data from the app and web environment in Google Analytics. 

You have built an iOS and Android app, and you need to make sure the client will be able to see all data traffic in Google Analytics. But you also want to connect an app traffic with website traffic.

To achieve this, you need to consider a few setup scenarios and detailed configuration for Firebase, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager.

Google Analytics Web vs. App+Web (beta)

App+Web is a new version of the Google Analytics designed to co-operate with Firebase environment to let us (an Google) keep track of the user cross-device activity.

Google Analytics / App+Web & Web properties
Google Analytics / App+Web & Web properties

The problem is that because App+Web is entirely new, it is still missing a lot of functionalities (mostly integrations) that classic Web version offers. 

That’s why I’d recommend to create App+Web and Web properties just in case we’d need some features that App+Web does not have yet.

Step 1: Separate projects

Since Firebase is not a central point of all integrations and data flows, it makes sense to create two separate projects for production and development.

Firebase Project / Separate Dev & Prod projects
Firebase Project / Separate Dev & Prod projects

If you don’t do this, you will:

  • pass development data to linked production accounts,
  • create a reporting mismatches in the data,
  • not be able to configure custom domain settings for authorization services.

Please, don’t use one project for DEV and PROD version of the app.

Step 2: Create or not create a GA account automatically.

During Firebase project creation, you can create automatically. The question now is where the GA account should be created under your Google account or other (existing/client) account.

Firebase Project / Create new Project / Enable Google Analytics for this project
Firebase Project / Create new Project / Enable Google Analytics for this project

If this is is the case, uncheck the “Enable Google Analytics for this project” option. Otherwise, you will have an unused trash account in your account, which you will need to delete and wait 35 days to disappear.

It is better to create Google Analytics projects manually, because you have full control under which Google Analytics account we’ll create our “Properties”.

Google Analytics / Create new App+Web property
Google Analytics / Create new App+Web property

Step 3: Link Firebase project with Google Analytics

If you need to use an existing account, let create two App+Web properties for DEV and PROD. Then you can link them to each related Firebase project.

Firebase project / Integrations / Link with App+Web Google Analytics property
Firebase project / Integrations / Link with App+Web Google Analytics property

Step 4: (optional) Create Web Property in GA

If there is no GA Web property already existing, you could create new Web property. Since you probably don’t know what integrations your client would need, and how familiar he is with App+Web, it will be wise to create a Web property “just in case.”

Some people will point now that you can link GA Web and App+Web with the Measurement ID. However, I’m not sure if this is a good idea. It would help if you used Google Tag Manager tags to trigger events for App+Web and Web properties due to the different features and functionalities.

For example, if you decide to use only GA App+Web tags in Google Tag Manager, and link GA Web property using Measurement ID, don’t be surprised if you don’t see any data in Behaviour/Site Content report. Page View event in both properties means something different and works differently.

Step 5: Google Tag Manager GA App+Web

Below you can find basic step-by-step instructions to get Google Analytics App+Web tags.

In the first step, you need to create an App+Web Configurator tag. When it is added, it will trigger a PageView event. You don’t need to add any other PageView event.

Google Tag Manager / Google Analytics App+Web configuration tag
Google Tag Manager / Google Analytics App+Web configuration tag

To handle PROD & DEV environment in the most natural way, you need to create a new Lookup Table variable, where depending on the domain, we return different Google Analytics Measurement IDs.

Google Tag Manager / Variable / MeasurmentID Lookup Table
Google Tag Manager / Variable / MeasurementID Lookup Table

Step 6: (optional) Google Tag Manager GA Web

Below you can find basic step-by-step instructions to get Google Analytics Web tags.

You need to add a Google Analytics: Universal Analytics tag. Tag will trigger a page visit.

Google Tag Manager / Google Analytics Web configuration tag
Google Tag Manager / Google Analytics Web configuration tag

Like with App+Web, it is good to create a similar lookup table to match UA depending on the website domain.

Google Tag Manager / Variable / TrackingID Lookup Table
Google Tag Manager / Variable / TrackingID Lookup Table

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