It’s that time of year again—the app development conference to end all app development conferences: Google I/O. If you’ve been before (or watched via live tweet or live stream), you know the excitement around Google’s announcements. They made a lot of big ones today, and one that particularly caught our attention is the expansion of their platform, Firebase, to include analytics.
What does this mean for app analytics?
We’re the first to proclaim that Google Analytics is awesome, and Google Analytics Premium (Analytics 360) is even more awesome. But Google Analytics is not always the perfect fit for app analytics. The recently-released Firebase 2.0 is an entirely new version of awesome for app developers, with any size audiences.
Today’s announcement is the official worldwide release of Firebase 2.0 for App development and analytics. Firebase is a product that was acquired by Google a couple of years ago, which was completely redone. Now it’s been released publicly, and especially interesting to us is that it’s providing a new and awesome analytics choice for Apps.
Firebase Analytics offers unlimited event hit limits, BigQuery data feed, and you can add both Firebase Analytics and Google Tag Manager (GTM) to your apps—and in doing so, remotely manage your Firebase Analytics events through GTM.
Oh yeah. It’s also free.
While this sounds familiar, and Firebase may look like the gateway to a paid and massive future, remember that Google already owns a pretty huge analytics system that has also been recently relaunched, and rebranded as Google Analytics 360 Suite.
Google now owns two amazing analytics platforms. How do we figure out when to use each and why?
- Companies that have only Apps → use Firebase Analytics as mainstay for analytics
- Apps + Websites (separate businesses, no rollup) → Firebase Analytics for apps + Analytics 360 for web
- Apps + Websites as cohesive parts (cross-device users) → still use Firebase + tag all in Analytics 360
We highly recommend that businesses who have medium to large scale App audiences use Analytics 360 for its scalability, support of demographics data, and overall robustness. Analytics 360 also provides deep SLAs for your data, and within four hour data freshness, as well as huge scalability with high performance. Firebase is a free tool. While it has no hit limit, it also does not promise the same performance, availability, or demographics data that are enjoyed in Analytics 360.
What’s the sweet spot for Firebase Analytics? A startup, to mid-size app company should use it as a backbone for cleanly developing apps, using Firebase data storage and code hosting, as well as its great analytics suite.
Google will eventually address the normal data difference questions that are common among analytics platforms (and companies that are considering this a conversion to a new analytics platforms), such as “Why are the two sets of numbers different?” While these questions are almost always going to be due to uneven latencies between paid and free analytics, Google must address so that companies are spending a majority of their time proving the data efficacy of Firebase Analytics during implementations.
Firebase should be implemented regardless of whether there is access to BigQuery. It can be used quite well as a stand alone development and deployment environment, with sophisticated free analytics. (I might code an app there just for fun.)
And did I mention it’s free? And powerful? And provides an app environment for coding and debugging?
Firebase is sophisticated, simple to use, and has a great interface. It’s reminiscent of Flurry and Mixpanel combined, but also offers an App development and data storage environment. It’s a full offering that includes the greatness of Google’s ability to provide excellent analytics.