So far in this series, we’ve discussed how to use Google Analytics to track and view user behavior on the site as well as how to measure goals with Analytics and Google Tag Manager. This last entry will focus on another tool from Google called Firebase which, among other things, brings Google’s robust tracking capabilities to mobile apps. If you don’t have an app: don’t worry. Firebase provides plenty of support for hosting apps and setting up payment systems as well, so as long as you have a developer build the application, Google will facilitate the rest. In this article, we will focus on how Firebase can be used as a tool for tracking and re-engages users.
Firebase functions similarly to Google Analytics in that it tracks what actions users take in the app; pages they’ve navigated to, buttons they’ve clicked on, etc. It not only gives you information about what users do in app, but also about the frequency that they are using the app and also desktop data if the app also has a desktop platform. This holistic view of the user journey can be used to replicate a lot of the same strategies used for website marketing. Audiences can be built based on what types of actions users have or have-not performed on your app or re-engage with users who haven’t used the app in a while.
To fully understand these marketing strategies, one must be familiar with how Google advertises to app users. Originally Google had multiple campaign types that would drive specific actions for users to take with apps, but when the Universal App Campaign (Google’s automated one-size-fits app campaign) came it out, it performed so well that Google shut down its old campaign types and all apps are now promoted via the UAC. While there is only one campaign type, you still pick different goals that inform the type of creative you will be using. The main goals are app installs and user re-engagement campaigns. Installment campaign are very straightforward. Clicking on an ad will take users to the app store where the app can be downloaded and installed. But that is only the first step in a user journey.
After downloading an app and using it once, less than 25% of people will open the app a second time. Many people count the success of an app by the number of downloads, but money is only generated by in-app purchases or advertising dollars from ads view in the app, so it is crucial that users continue to engage with an app for it to be considered a success. Because of this re-engagement campaigns are a necessary piece of any app marketing strategy and this is where Firebase plays a major role. As mentioned previously, Firebase’s tracking capability gives visibility into user behaviors and allows for the creation of dynamic audience based on what goals you are looking to promote. But a major application of Firebase is the ability to leverage deep links to send users to a specific page within the app rather than just opening it. A widely understood fundamental of digital marketing is that people will become distracted, so it is extremely important to simplify the user journey as much as possible. Much like traditional remarketing campaigns, an app re-engagement campaign will target a specific audiences who have performed certain actions indicating engagement, but failed to convert on a certain goal and then send users who click on a deep link to the precise page needed for that conversion action to be completed.
While Firebase isn’t as widely applicable as Google Analytics or Tag Manager, apps are still widely popular and if you are building an app, the way you market is will be instrumental to how it performs. Google’s Firebase will not only give the infrastructure needed to grow an app once popularity increases, but it also arms app creators with the tools needed to make sure users are utilizing it to its full capacity. When Firebase is used in tandem with web analytics tools, the ability to create a seamless user experience is all within the data.