New App + Web Properties in Google Analytics

The wait is over, the new App + Web property feature has officially launched to open public beta!

Do keep in mind this is still a Beta – the product is early, doesn’t yet have all the features we all want, and is changing regularly. And, the team wants your feedback! I’m super excited for where this new Google Analytics release is headed, and know there is a lot more to come to continue to improve what’s there.

What does this mean?

You can now create a new property type in Google Analytics that will allow you to combine App + Web data in the same property. This new type of measurement uses the same data schema as Google Analytics for Firebase (GA4F), and works hand in hand with GA4F, expanding on functionality first rolled out there. 

Why?

Currently, if you have both app and website data, you are collecting and analyzing that data separately, in Google Analytics for the web, and in Google Analytics for Firebase for apps. While the platforms differ, many of the KPIs and business needs when it comes to understanding data and reporting are the same, so it’s time to bring this data together in one Analytics property! 

Now onto the details

First things first, it’s time to review what Google Analytics for Firebase is all about. Check out this blog post where I recap some of the features of GA4F, as well as this YouTube playlist walking through Getting Started with GA4F in much more detail. I’ll follow up with another blog post soon that goes into more detail and best practices for thinking about the data schema for both GA4F and the new App + Web Properties in Google Analytics. 

The most important thing to know about this new data schema is that it moves away from the traditional Session + Pageview method that classic Google Analytics has used for 15+ years. Instead, it uses an Event + Parameter model. It’s different, but it opens up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of what you can track, and all of the additional details you can add to each event action via the associated parameters. 

The Google Analytics team understands this may be a lot to take in, as well as a lot to re-implement to get up and running, so they aim to make this transition easier with something SUPER AWESOME coming with the new data schema: Enhanced Measurement

Enhanced Measurement is a new feature that will listen for some of the most common events that you may want to track, and give you the ability to toggle on tracking for those things, such as Scroll tracking and Outbound Link tracking, right out of the box in the user admin section. You can find these settings under ‘Data Streams’ under the Property section of the Admin screen.

I can’t stress this enough: THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME! Now, it’s just a start. There are only a handful of events included here for now, but I have a feeling the Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager team might continue to build this out to be a much more comprehensive guide and support system for tagging and collecting data 😉 Stay tuned for more here. 

Now that we’ve briefly covered tagging in this new world, let’s take a look at what the reporting interface looks like. When you have the new App + Web Property running and collecting data, your Google Analytics home screen and reporting sections will look similar to what you may be used to in GA4F, but with some ‘Web’ specific additions added in.

Note that I’ve been running this new property for 9+ months so I do have quite a bit of historical data built up here to look at, so keep in mind that your new property won’t look quite the same until you’ve built up some data history. 

As you can see, the main widgets are looking at things like active users over the past day/week/month, Streamview (similar to Realtime in classic Google Analytics), top conversions, and user engagement. The left hand navigation includes sections you would be familiar with in GA4F, and one fun new one: Analysis! 

I might be biased (ok, I am biased since I helped build the Analysis section in GA360 & the new App + Web Properties before I left Google), but Analysis is where all the fun new action is taking place! If you’re not familiar, check out my blog posts on an Introduction to Advanced Analysis, a Deep-dive on Funnels in Analysis, and a Deep-dive on Segment Overlap in Analysis

Analysis has a few new surprises with this launch: Open Funnels (with the option for Open & Closed by step in the same funnel), User Explorer (hat tip to this report in classic Google Analytics), and my personal favorite (again, biased, I built it) – Pathing! I couldn’t be more excited about this new feature rolling out for free with the new App + Web Property, so check out my upcoming blog post specifically on Pathing to learn more 🙂

Moving through the interface, we have some new sections to those not familiar with GA4F.

The events tab brings up a table of all of the events you are recording into the new App + Web property:

When clicking into any one of these events, you’ll get to the event report which shows several different widgets with different pieces of information:

Next up is the Audiences tab. Here is another new surprise! A new audience builder is being released with the new Web + App properties, replacing what is known as the ‘Advanced Segment’ builder in classic Google Analytics. There are a lot of AWESOME new features here, including a MUCH requested upgrade to include the ability to slice and dice your audiences by Hit, Session, or User. You can also add multiple combinations of these criteria to a single Audience. WOAH. THIS IS HUGE. Check it out:

Clicking in to ‘Desktop Users’, you can see an Audience that I created (‘All Users’ and ‘Purchasers’ come out of the box):

Digging in deeper, you can see a few of the cool new features included in this new Audience builder.

Templates and Custom Audience builder start screen:

Scoping across Hit (within same event), Session, and Users (across all sessions):

Sequencing options, including a cool new option to enable a time constraint (also available in funnels!):

As you can see, lots of new exciting features added to this builder!

Moving on, the next tab in reporting covers conversions. These are actually ‘Conversion Events’, or Events that have been marked, either out of the box, or explicitly as a conversion:

I’m going to skip funnels here, because the out of the box funnels reporting in the tab section of reporting are only open funnels where every step is a total count of events in that step without taking into account continuance from previous steps. This is essentially a legacy report from the GA4F side. Use funnels in Analysis instead (maybe biased again… I built those too) 😉

Next up, retention. AKA Cohorts!

Moving on, Streamview is fun. I’ve talked about this on the GA4F side in terms of the extra level of granularity you get to understand what is going on on your site in real time, better than Realtime reporting in classic Google Analytics. Check it out:

And finally, the Analysis section. I mentioned this earlier, and have blogged extensively about Analysis for GA360, so I’ll just leave you with a few screenshot teasers for now:

You can check out my full blog post on Pathing in Google Analytics App + Web here.

Pretty awesome, right? Ready to dig in yourself? For more information on how to get started with the new Web + App Properties in Google Analytics, check out the launch blog post on the Google Analytics blog as well as the Google Analytics Help Center docs covering the new Web + App properties. 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Leave a Reply

27 Comments

  1. Alex Phell

    I have long wanted such changes

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  3. Hi Krista,

    Thank you for this enlightening post.

    In my limited experience with GA4F, it has its limitations, like few custom parameters (even for 360 clients) and limitations on doing segmentation retroactively – audiences apply only in new data collected.

    This will remain in app+web properties too?

    Kind regards.

    • Krista

      You’ll be able to do your analysis retroactively in the Analysis section, and the team is definitely looking into what limitations make sense now that web is using this schema. It’s also about how you’re planning and activating your tracking though, you can get at what you’re looking for in a number of ways that may require less than 25 parameters.

      • Good to know about Analysis here!! Great job with the improvements.

        Still worried about parameters. I read that, like in the ‘old’ GA4F, there are only 10 text parameters (dimensions)! I currently use more than 50.

        And now also surprised with this:
        “Custom events are collected in the same way as automatic and suggested events. However, since their names are arbitrary and not recognized by App + Web property reports, custom events must instead be analyzed via BigQuery.” (https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/app-web/tag-guide?linkId=71590524)

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  5. Hi Krista, does this mean that also GA Standard/free users get BigQuery export if they use the web + app property?
    BR, Robert

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  7. binks

    can you please help me i have been unable to find my Analytics ID on this new app+web i have looked for it all over and i cant find it please where can i find it

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  9. Alex

    Hi Krista,

    Thanks for this introduction!

    Is the plan to eventually move all web analytics over to this event based system (whether or not you have firebase/an app)? If not are the new features in analysis going to be ported over to the existing google analytics free?

    This new setup is certainly exciting, I imagine Google can’t be far off using this event based structure to setup their own automation platform, potentially by extending optimize.

    Thanks

  10. Sara

    We only have an app and am increasingly getting frustrated with Firebases limitations:
    – hard coded only 25 user properties
    – open funnels
    – no cohort retention data
    – audiences limited to 50, and only collect data moving forward

    …. to name a few
    Do you think these are solved with the new property in Google Analytics? Your screenshots look like the normal Firebase we’ve been using.

    • Krista

      There are now closed funnels available via the new property! Other limitations will certainly be reviewed as more users dig in now that it’s available to both web & app.

  11. Prasanna

    Hi Krista,
    Well written article! This is great news!

    Just wondering. Would it be possible to link multiple Firebase projects into a single ( web+ app ) property or is this only applicable to one Firebase project and one web stream?

    • Krista

      Right now it’s one Firebase project which allows you to create multiple streams of data in GA

  12. Thanks Krista for this introduction to the new App + Web properties in Google Analytics.
    Indeed, this step is an important one in this industry as mobile apps are quickly replacing almost everything.
    The new App + Web properties look like a baby just born. However, we’re confident that Google will grow it very well in a short time.

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