How to use Google Analytics 4 for Mobile Apps

Google Analytics 4 for Mobile Apps

Table of Contents

How to Set Up App Data Stream on GA4

How to Configure Conversions for Your App in GA4

Which GA4 Reports are Best for Analyzing Mobile App Performance

Why GA4 is great for Mobile Apps

Get Automated Reports on your GA4 App Data

Did you know that mobile apps are expected to generate over $935 billion in revenue by 2023? With so much at stake, it's more important than ever for app owners to deeply understand how their apps are performing right after the MVP launch. However, there are still lots of mobile app marketers who are unsatisfied with their current analytics tools.

Google Analytics 4, the latest iteration of Google Analytics, has been designed explicitly for app owners who want to take their analytics game to the next level. With GA4, you can better understand your users, track events in real time, and leverage powerful reporting and analysis features to make data-driven decisions.

As Morpheus said to Neo in The Matrix, 'I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.' In this article, we'll show you how to walk through the door and unlock the full potential of GA4. We'll cover everything from setting up GA4 to tracking user behavior and reporting and analysis.

How to Set Up App Data Stream on GA4

Before setting up an app data stream, you need to have updated your analytics property to GA4. To do that, go to the "GA4 Setup Assistant" option in your Admin section to kickstart the updating process to GA4. We have a detailed step-by-step GA4 migration guide that you can follow.

If you have a GA4 property all set up, the next step is to create a data stream for your mobile application so that GA4 can start tracking your app data.

To set up an app data stream, follow these steps:

  1. In the Admin section of your GA4 account, click on Data Streams >>Add Stream in the “Property” column.
  2. Three options will be displayed on the screen: iOS app, Android app, and Web. Select the iOS or Android option, depending on your app’s operating system.
  1. Provide the iOS bundle ID or Android package name, along with the app name. Also, for iOS, enter the App Store ID. Then, click on the "Register app" button.
  2. After registration, click on the "Next" button and then proceed with the instructions to download the configuration file for your app.
  3. Once the config file has been downloaded, click  "Next" again and follow the instructions to add the Google Analytics for Firebase SDK to your app. Adding the SDK is important because it helps GA4 track your app.
  4. Click on the "Next" button once you have successfully added the SDK to your app.
  5. Verify the installation of the SDK by running your app and ensuring that it is communicating with Google servers.
  6. Finally, click on the "Finish" button to complete the process.

How to Configure Conversions for Your App in GA4

Google Analytics 4 runs on an event measurement model. It processes each user interaction as an event. This model enhances behavior prediction and enables you to track user-centric activities, including page views, traffic, and engagement across your app. There are some events that GA4 tracks automatically, as long as you have the Google Analytics for Firebase SDK. For example, there is the app_store_subscription_convert for when the user converts a free trial to a paid subscription which is helpful for keeping track of conversions. And the first_open event for when the user opens your app for the first time after installation. You can find the full list of automatically collected events here.

To set up conversion events in GA4, you first have to create the event and then mark it as a conversion. Let’s say you have made a high-profile dating app that requires users to put in a lot of information when setting up their profile. Therefore, a user completing the profile setup may count as an essential conversion for you. You need to create an event for “profile completion” and then mark that event as a conversion. To do that, follow the steps below:

  • In Google Analytics 4 account, go to Admin on the left and select Event. Click Create event >> Create
  • Fill out the name of your event in the Custom event name field. For example profile_complete
  • In the Matching conditions field, under “Value,” enter the exact name of an existing GA4 event with the same conditions as your event and click Add Condition. You can also set up custom events if you can’t find a matching event. 
  • Enter the suitable parameters.
  • Click the Create button.

Now that you have created your event, you have to mark it as a conversion event. To do this, go to Conversions in the Admin menu. Click the New Conversion event and enter the name of the event you just created, and Save.

Which GA4 Reports are Best for Analyzing Mobile App Performance

Data collection from your apps by Google Analytics 4 allows you to generate reports that offer valuable insights into your business operations. With these reports, you can track your app's traffic, monitor revenue, analyze data, and understand your users and their behaviors. After you begin collecting data with GA4, the information is immediately available in the Realtime section of the Reports tab and soon after in your other reports.

If you have connected your mobile app to GA4, there are three report collections available to you:

  • Lifecycle: It is a collection of reports that will help you understand every part of the customer journey - the entire lifecycle of your customers from acquisition to retention (or churn, as the case may be). It is part of GA4’s default configuration.
  • User: It is a collection of reports that basically helps you understand your app users. It is also part of GA4’s default configuration.
  • App developer: It provides you with a summary of all the important metrics for the app(s) you have connected to Firebase. It appears only when you have connected your mobile app to GA4 and added the Google Analytics for Firebase SDK.

If your connected app is categorized as “Games” in the Google Play Store or iOS App Store, then you will have access to one more report collection, which is the:

  • Games reporting: It offers specialized insights for measuring customer behavior throughout the user funnel, specifically for mobile gaming apps. With this data, you can develop insights driven by metrics to improve your understanding of your users and their activity.

If you are a mobile app owner and you have connected your app to GA4, here are some important reports to focus on:

In-app purchases report

If your app is generating revenue via in-app purchases, this report is beneficial to you. It is a lifecycle report, meaning you can find it under the lifecycle section of your Reports tab. This report is important because it focuses on important metrics that are relevant to growing your app revenue.

To access your in-app purchases report:

  1. Click Reports on the left side
  2. Select Lifecycle >>Monetization >>In-app purchases

Firebase overview report

As the name implies, the report provides an overview of Firebase Analytics data. It displays information such as the number of active users, user engagement, and revenue generated from in-app purchases. The report also allows you to filter the data by app version, platform, or date range. This helps you to understand the performance of their app and make data-driven decisions to improve it.

To access your Firebase overview report:

  1. Click Reports on the left side
  2. Select App developer >>Firebase

Events report

The Events report and Conversions report work together in alignment. As I mentioned earlier, GA4 runs on an event-measurement model, and these events can be marked as a conversion to track goals. The Event report will allow you to track specific user interactions, such as button clicks, screen views, and other custom events, providing insight into user behavior and engagement. To access the Events report:

  1. Click Reports on the left side
  2. Select Lifecycle >> Engagement
  3. Click on Events

Conversions report

The Conversion report, on the other hand, provides a detailed overview of the entire conversion process, from the first user interaction to the final conversion event. This report allows you to identify potential roadblocks in the conversion process, such as users dropping out before completing a purchase and make necessary improvements to increase the conversion rate. To access the Conversion report:

  1. Click Reports on the left side
  2. Select Lifecycle >> Engagement
  3. Click on Conversions

Why GA4 is great for Mobile Apps

Understand User Behavior

GA4 allows you to track user behavior within your app, from the time they first download your app to the time they make a purchase. With this information, you can identify which features are most popular, which parts of your app are causing users to drop off, and how to optimize your app for better user engagement. GA4 is littered with features to help you dive deeper into the journey of your users and how they respond to different features in your app.

Predictive insights

GA4 offers a predictive analysis model that uses AI to predict customer actions and value. This means that you can gain insights into which users are most likely to convert and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly. Suppose you want to target users who are most likely to make an in-app purchase. With GA4's predictive analysis, you can identify these users and create targeted marketing campaigns to increase conversions.

360-view of Your Audience

GA4 is a new kind of property designed for the future of measurement that collects both website and app data to better understand the customer journey. This means that you can track user behavior across multiple platforms and devices, including the web, iOS, and Android. Suppose a user visits your website and downloads your app; with GA4, you can track their behavior across both platforms and gain insights into how they interact with your brand across different devices.

Identify Opportunities for Improvement

By analyzing the data collected by GA4, you can identify areas of your app that need improvement. For example, if you have a freemium app and notice that users are frequently dropping off after the free trial, that can be a sign to optimize the user experience for the free mode or add more quality to the paid version.

Track App Performance

GA4 provides valuable insights into your app's performance, such as how long users spend in your app, which pages are most frequently viewed, and which features are most popular. By regularly monitoring these metrics, you can identify trends and make data-driven decisions to improve your app's performance.

Optimize App Marketing

GA4 can also be used to track the effectiveness of your app marketing campaigns. By tracking metrics such as app installs, user engagement, and user retention, you can identify which marketing channels are most effective and optimize your campaigns for better performance.

Get Automated Reports on your GA4 App Data

Although GA4 offers an easy-to-use interface with advanced analytics capabilities, it can still be challenging to comprehend the vast amount of data in its various features. Narrative BI provides an easy solution around that. All you have to do is connect your GA4 property to our platform for free, and you start receiving automatic reports on the key metrics in your app data. Cut out the noise and focus on what’s truly important.

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