Users of Google Analytics for Apps might have already received the announcement: Google will be sunsetting the Google Analytics Services SDK by October 2019. It was an anticipated move and is to be understood in the inevitable move of app analytics to Firebase.
In 2014, Google acquired Firebase, a backend service for developers to build apps for iOS, Android and Web. Since then, Google has slowly but steadily improved the product and made it more in line with their existing products and services.
Google had previously developed analytics solutions for mobile apps through the Google Analytics for Apps branch, which was an adaption of the successful web tracking service. It was still based on user sessions, making it less useful over time for event-focussed mobile app analysts.
Google Analytics for Firebase
In May 2017, Firebase Analytics was renamed ‘Google Analytics for Firebase’, essentially announcing Google Analytics for Apps would disappear. Although this shift was made public, it was also clear that Firebase still lacked some essential features to be used as a stand-alone app analytics tool.
This could be solved by having both services run side-by-side on the same app. Two different tracking systems needed to be implemented until Google made it easier to use Google Tag Manager based on Firebase SDK. This allowed developers to install tracking through the Firebase SDK and sending it to Google Analytics, not needing the GA Services SDK.
How will you be impacted?
If you were still using the Google Analytics Services SDK, you should ask yourself if you want to switch to Firebase SDK or even take this opportunity to completely review your product analytics setup. Migrating to Firebase SDK might require you to redo the tracking within your app and map it on the Google Analytics data taxonomies. Knowing the Google Analytics for Apps might be sunsetted as a whole in the next couple of years, you have to consider if tools like Amplitude or Mixpanel might not be a better option to place your bets on.
If you to want make the switch and keep using Google Analytics for Apps (after all, it is an amazing free tool) we’ve wrote a technical guide on how to setup the tracking through Firebase SDK and Tag Manager.
Need any help on deciding or implementing product analytics for your app? We are very willing to help you out!