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  • Implementing GA4 and GTM for a hybrid mobile app without Firebase Mobile SDK: Best practices?

    Posted by Gabriel on 1 June 2022 at 2:38 am

    Hey there, I’m a bit of a newcomer to mobile app stuff and I’m looking to set up some GA4 tracking with GTM for a website that also has this matching mobile app experience. The platforms were both built by the same squad and the app feels like it’s just a twin of the site, running in some sort of browser wrapper or something.

    Now the builders claim they’ve got Firebase firing on all cylinders for the website rather than the mobile app – as far as I know, I don’t need to set up GA4 tracking in the usual mobile app way. Apparently events and triggers for the app should run in GTM the same as they do on the website. Sounds cool, right?

    But I have my doubts… I’m not seeing the events popping up in GA4 like they do for the website, and I’m also struggling to test this out. I’ve had a stab at setting debug_mode=true in my GA4 config in GTM, but nada when I open the app on my mobile. Meanwhile, the team who built this stuff tell me:

    Our BidWrangler mobile app is a funky hybrid mix up, built with web tech. Sure, we’re driving Firebase, but we rock the web configuration, not the usual mobile app setup. This means we don’t use the Google/Firebase mobile SDK for our apps. Maybe we don’t catch as much data as the mobile SDK, but you’ll still get some insights about mobile usage in your current Google Analytics setup.

    I’m kinda in the dark here because I don’t have access to the backend magic of the app, and fancy coding isn’t exactly my thing – so I’m stuck with what these guys are telling me. So, is it really possible what they’re suggesting?

    Mason replied 11 months, 2 weeks ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Aiden

    22 August 2022 at 2:09 am

    Sure, what your team is saying is indeed possible. When a mobile app is built with web tech, as described, it’s possible to use the same analytics setup as you would for a website. Debugging such an app typically involves using your computer’s browser, connecting your phone to your computer, and enabling certain settings that let your computer’s browser interact with the app. The exact details should be provided by your developers.

    The main challenge could be with using the GTM preview debugger due to the unconventional setup. However, you can work around that by publishing the container to a lower environment in GTM and then test by simply viewing raw network requests or using an extension like Adswerve’s datalayer inspector in the dev console. Keep experimenting and you should be able to see the results you’re looking for.

  • Mason

    16 October 2022 at 1:57 am

    It is possible that they’re using a hybrid mobile app approach and leveraging web-based analytics setup in Firebase. That said, tracking might not be as accurate or comprehensive as traditional mobile app analytics setup, which could explain why you’re not seeing the same level of detail. It might be worth asking if they can improve the tracking or grant you some backend access to get a closer look.

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