Google introduced a new analytics feature in late July which is game changer for anyone tasked with measuring cross-platform engagement. Google Analytics now includes a property type called App + Web. App + Web allows marketers to combine the dimensions and metrics of app and website data into a unified report. The report simplifies the analytics process for cross-platforms, allowing for more strategic questions to be answered much more quickly.
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Exploring Google's App + Web Property
To enable the App + Web feature, enter the admin section of Google Analytics, navigate to the "Create Account" setting, and then select App + Web as a property.
You will now have access to an overview of combined user activity across app and website. According to Google, the user overview reports answers three strategic questions:
- Which marketing channel is responsible for acquiring the most new users? Which is responsible for acquiring the most return visitors?
- How many users are accounted for, regardless of which platform is in use?
- Which platform drives the most conversions?
The update includes a new analysis module that allows data examination outside of the pre-defined reports in Google Analytics. The module provides three formats: an Exploration protocol that visualizes data with drag and drop access, as well as Funnel and Path protocols to identify conversion steps from combined app and website activity.
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Evolving Analytics to Reflect Changing Consumer Behavior
Before this new feature, marketers watching app and website traffic needed to refer to two separate analytics platforms from Google. Google Analytics was and remains the go-to for websites and Google Analytics for Firebase served mobile app analytic needs. Both are still available.
The change makes sense given the growing universe of marketing media that Google has to manage around its web analytics solutions. When Google Analytics was introduced in late 2005, its focus was on search and advertising associated with a website. Firebase, acquired in 2014, added another option for stand-alone apps as mobile device and app use increased.
But with the increase in mobile device and app use came an increase in cross channel activity when purchasing products and services. Moreover, the success of retailers without a large physical presence — from Amazon to the rise of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C ) brands — reinforced this shopping behavior, and influenced how consumers searched for and purchased larger ticket items and more traditional services.
These trends have enlarged the media universe for marketers as well. Because of these changes in customer behavior, marketers have turned to a number of methods to measure the success of their efforts.
According to Google, the App + Web feature is being rolled out to all Analytics and Analytics 360 accounts in the coming weeks. If your website already uses Google Tag Manager or the global site tag for Google Analytics, no reinstallation of tags will be necessary. Your app data will have to come from Firebase SDK, which means installing the SDK in your app.