Analytics & Digital Marketing Tips

Debug Your Firebase + GTM App Analytics Implementation with Google Analytics Batch Decoder

Debug Your Firebase + GTM App Analytics Implementation with Google Analytics Batch Decoder

February 11, 2019           Google Analytics

Validation is an important step in every GTM Firebase implementation to ensure that tracking is capturing the right data. When implementing your mobile app (Google) analytics using Firebase and Google Tag Manager, Firebase DebugView is a great tool to test your events once they hit Firebase. However, testing your analytics tags that are on Google Tag Manager (GTM) may be tricky since there’s no “GTM preview” on mobile devices, so you’re left with tracing the network traffic for the analytics requests.

Google Tag Manager batches the Universal Analytics hits on mobile devices to send multiple requests together, making it hard to read when you’re trying to check if a specific analytics tag is working correctly, or if the right data is passed to the specified metrics and dimensions.

Validation is an important step in every GTM Firebase implementation to ensure that tracking is capturing the right data.

Google Analytics Batched Hits are Good, Yet Hard to Read

GTM on mobile devices sends the Google Analytics (GA) requests in batches to improve battery life and reduce data loss due to lost network connectivity. Therefore you may see multiple GA hits sent together to Google Analytics in one request. In order to validate the mobile app implementation, we need to separate these calls and decode the parameters to view, validate and troubleshoot problems.

Necessity is the mother of invention, so our Google Analytics Batch Decoder tool was born!

image representing google analytics batched hits

Blast’s GA Batch Decoder to the Rescue

The Google Analytics Batch Decoder tool assists in debugging GA Firebase implementation by converting the batch hits (which are difficult to interpret without this tool) into an easier to understand format. The parameters and values are presented in a way that allows you to more easily validate and troubleshoot issues with the analytics requests.

A batched Google Analytics hit will be presented as a single network request in your HTTP proxy or monitoring tool (such as Charles Proxy as shown in the screenshot below). The batched hits could have both screenview and event hits mixed together including all parameters which could make it difficult to identify the specific parameters that are important to you (e.g. event related values, custom dimensions or eCommerce data).

google analytics batch decoder for gtm firebase implementation debug

Our GA Batch Decoder tool allows you to see all of the details in your hits grouped by type (screen views, events). In addition, you are presented with a list of the values passed for each of the dimensions and metrics in a tabular view. Ecommerce parameters are also displayed if passed with a hit.

See below for an example of the formatted output:

google analytics batch decoder tool for gtm firebase implementation debug, showing the screen view details

google analytics batch decoder tool for Gtm firebase implementation debug, showing the event details

Note About Sunsetting the GA Services SDKs

Google Analytics mobile-apps reporting based on the Google Analytics Services SDKs is scheduled to sunset in October 2019 for Android and iOS; Google Analytics 360 clients are not affected as of now and no timeline has been announced yet. If you don’t have Google Analytics 360 and want to track analytics hits with GTM, you should use the Firebase Analytics tags. See the screenshots below to see the tag options in Google Tag Manager.

Current Google Analytics Tag Types in GTM Firebase containers:

current google analytics tag types in gtm firebase containers

If you’re currently tracking your mobile analytics hits on Google Analytics through GTM, make sure a transition to Firebase Analytics is part of your future plans.

If you’re currently tracking your mobile analytics hits on Google Analytics through GTM, make sure a transition to Firebase Analytics is part of your future plans.

Down below in the comment section, please share your thoughts or questions about validating your GTM Firebase implementation. 

Happy debugging!

 

 

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