How To Be Sure Your Mobile Analytics is Ready for Sunset of Google Analytics SDK

May 17, 2019 Michael Fong

Have you ever moved from one destination to another and accidentally left something behind?

Whether it’s from an apartment to your first home or one hotel to the next, there has probably been a time where you accidentally left a possession of yours behind. Maybe it was your razor, your phone charger, your child’s favorite toy, or—heaven forbid—even your child! We’ve all experienced that pit in our stomachs from finding out that something is lost and not knowing how to get it back.

If you are a Google Analytics user who utilizes the Google Analytics SDK for mobile app usage, you may have received this recent email giving you that fear in anticipation of possibly leaving something behind:

We want to let you know that in October 2019 we will begin to sunset our Google Analytics for mobile apps reporting and the Google Analytics Services SDK. We are investing our resources in the latest style of app reporting in Google Analytics that works in conjunction with Firebase – Google’s integrated app developer platform.

If you’re feeling anxious about this change, you’re not the only one. This blog post was created to help you prepare for your transition to Google Firebase and to ensure things don’t get lost or left behind in the move.

Why the move from the Google Analytics SDK to Firebase?

Google’s Firebase has made many improvements as a mobile development platform. So much so that Google has decided to discontinue Google Analytics mobile-apps reporting and invest heavily in Firebase.

Interestingly, this update is targeted to those who use the free version of Google Analytics. Properties that collect data exclusively with the mobile analytics tracking will be impacted. There is no clear sign of an immediate need to migrate for Google Analytics 360 users, though it may be wise to consider the change going forward. 

What will this mean for you?

Google came out with a statement regarding this change saying:

“Once the Google Analytics Services SDKs are fully turned down, those properties will not be accessible via the Analytics interface or the API, and their data will be removed from Google Analytics servers.”

This means that after January 31, 2020, access to your data will no longer be available. Which is why it may be smart to consider moving to Google Analytics for Firebase now. 

“You’re saying to just pick up and move every aspect of my GA SDK to Firebase? That’s a huge deal.”

You’re right. With the different approach Firebase takes—focusing on the relationship between users and events, and having much stricter quotas for customer parameters in data collection—it’ll be a change, a change that’s way easier said than done.

Which is why you shouldn’t take this change too lightly. Now might be the time for you to consider the other players in the market and make sure you like Google Analytics Firebase, because you don’t want to do this migration more often than you need to.

Even more important than considering your other platforms in the market is how you are going to manage all your data in the move. So, like promised, we’re going to make that step a whole lot easier for you, ensuring no valuables are left behind.

How ObservePoint makes your transition manageable

With all the data that your google analytics SDK is set up to send, you want to be sure that your new solution is sending the equivalent data on the same screens and Call to Actions.

The ObservePoint solution can help with this transition by automatically indexing everything that you have set up and give you a baseline to implement your new technology against. Efficient, automated checking of the new solution throughout the implementation will also keep your project on time, and on target.

Specifically pertaining to Google Analytics, ObservePoint looks at the network requests to determine what SDK you have implemented on your mobile app, and then recognizes two Firebase tags:

  1. Firebase Analytics, which is the actual analytics technology collecting user behavioral data.
  2. Firebase Storage, which has a different signature that users access in order to send data. Oftentimes you’ll see both of these used in tandem.

ObservePoint users can then write rules based on these two Firebase tags using features such as AppAssurance and LiveConnect:

AppAssurance

AppAssurance gives you the ability to monitor, test and validate your mobile app’s analytics and marketing technology deployments. With AppAssurance, you’ll be able to detect mobile SDK deployment errors, test your critical user paths, validate data compliance to custom business rules and more.

By monitoring your transition to your new analytics platform, you will save money, time, and you’ll ultimately save yourself from a whole lot of grief and frustration while ensuring that your analytics platform is giving you trustworthy data.

LiveConnect

With LiveConnect, you can connect to any WiFi-enabled device, including your mobile app, and run test scripts on the spot to ensure the data collection matches your expectations. this will help provide relief in your transition, knowing that your analytics and martech stacks are all working properly, validating you are collecting the right data, and not experiencing duplicate, missing, or broken tags.


Don’t wait until December to start this transition. Make preparations today by trying a free demo from ObservePoint, and gain the trust you need in this move.

About the Author

Michael Fong

As a Senior Consultant/Solutions Engineer on ObservePoint’s EMEA team in London, Michael has been integral in ensuring ObservePoint users are getting the highest quality of data from their marketing technologies. With over 10 years in the analytics world, Michael is an expert when it comes to data analytics, SQL, problem solving, and spreading all good vibes.

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