August 26, 2020

Is it time to switch to Google Analytics APP+WEB?

Is it time to switch to Google Analytics APP+WEB?

The short answer is: Even if you don’t have an App, it is time to consider it.

Google released App+Web as a beta product back in the summer of 2019 with what looked then like a niche use case for App-centric companies. Since then it has become clear that App+Web is poised to replace the ubiquitous Universal Analytics; and most likely sooner rather than later.

App+Web is not an update to Universal Analytics, but a completely new platform with its own architecture more fit for the modern digital age. Its Genesis was Google Analytics for Firebase, an App tracking solution, but as the name implies, App+Web allows you to bring data together from apps and websites into a single property in Google Analytics.

What makes it better than Universal Analytics?

App+Web promises true cross platform reporting, allowing you to stream data from your apps and websites into one underlying dataset. This is currently restricted to apps and websites but will undoubtedly be expanded to include other data sources.

1st Party data will be critically important to competitiveness in a fast approaching post 3rd Party Cookie digital landscape, and App+Web will address that need.

The data model is simplified and dispenses with ‘sessions’, focussing rather on users and events. While this will be familiar to users of App analytics, this will be a significant change for many businesses who currently depend heavily or exclusively on session scoped reporting in Google Analytics.

Event reporting is much improved in App+Web. Each event can have up to 25 parameters compared to Universal Analytics 4. This facilitates much greater granularity and negates the need to fudge the required data to fit the limitations, as can often cause headaches in Universal Analytics.

Non-360 users will also find functionality in App+Web that is not available on Universal Google Analytics, such as the advanced analysis tool. This offers powerful and flexible data exploration capability that can facilitate insightful analysis.

App+Web can also export data directly into BigQuery, a strong advantage for clients with SQL capability who want to store and use website data elsewhere.

That sounds great, what is the catch?

App+Web is still in beta and lacks important features and functionality that Universal Google Analytics users currently depend on.

Having said that, it is garnering new features and functionality at a rate of knots and is clearly the focal point of Google Analytics development. The wise money is on App+Web eclipsing Universal Analytics, and sooner rather than later.

What should Google Analytics users do?

Our advice to Google Analytics clients is that now is the time to dip your toe in the App+Web water, but not to jump in headfirst. How you should do that depends on your circumstances.

For ‘Website’ clients using Universal Analytics and GTM, we are setting up App+Web implementations alongside their existing Universal Analytics. A basic implementation for clients in this situation is relatively simple to achieve. Setting up in tandem gives us the opportunity to take advantage of some of the new features, and safeguard YOY reporting for when we eventually make the switch. This approach also gives the client a preview of App+Web and the opportunity to wrap their heads around the ‘post session’ world of analytics which is coming.

For clients already tracking an App using Google ‘App’ Analytics, it is a straightforward upgrade to add a stream from a website to the existing property.

For new App projects, we are onboarding our clients straight on to App+Web. There is very little to choose between App and App+Web as things stand, and the direction of travel makes this an easy choice.

Whatever your flavour of Google Analytics setup is; Now is the time to act.

If you would like to discuss specifics of how your company should do this please CONTACT US.