Tracking App Data with GameAnalytics

We recently released our new app Quoter, for iOS and Android using the 2D toolset within Unity.

During the later phases of the project I added analytics into the app. This would give me great insight into who was downloading my app, what features are most popular when choosing to create an app, what platforms most people wish to target etc.

I wanted to get back to developing the second version of Renew Me, so I didn’t want to spend time learning how to integrate Google Analytics at this stage. Instead, I opted to use an analytics tool that I had used in the past, GameAnalytics.

What is GameAnalytics?

GameAnalytics is a platform that allows you to “measure, understand and control player experiences”. GameAnalytics were rebranded in 2014 as DeltaDNA.

Since I first used it, the simple tool has grown into a full platform allowing you not only to monitor your app’s events, but also to control player experiences by manipulating in game stats.

What I Wanted To Track

For this project, I wanted to utilise the analytics tool to monitor different types of events like custom design events or errors occurring in my app.

So if you’re thinking about implementing GameAnalytics within your app, here are some things to consider:

Positives

Quick to install

As the GameAnalytics SDK for Unity was available to download as a package and available via the Unity Asset Store it made installing this very quick and simple. Once this is added, you’re automatically getting the basic analytics recorded and sent back to your project Dashboard.

Easy to add custom events

There are only 5 basic method calls that you need to add where you want to track data. Depending on what you want to track will depend on what method you choose to implement.

Dashboard (again) easy to set up

As you have basic analytics once you add the GA app into your project, you also have a basic dashboard to read these results from. But you also can make custom dashboards to display your custom events.

Within a minute you could have an easy to read dashboard showing your custom events.

Support quick and helpful

During submission of my app, I came across a small issue that I for some reason didn’t find the answer to from Google straight away. So I submitted a support request. Within an hour I had a response to my query. Unfortunately by this time I’d already solved the issue, but it was nice to know that the support was there and quick!

One package supporting all Unity versions

Unity has a few versions of their engine active at once so it was good to know that the GameAnalytics Unity package was backwards compatible.  I didn’t have to find a specific version of the tool in order to use this so if I upgraded the project, it should (in theory) still work just as well.

It’s free

Did I mention that all of this is free? Yep, that’s right. You get all of this completely free. Even getting support was free. All good to me.

Cross-platform

Lastly, this works cross-platform without having to use different packages or go through different setups for different versions. Bliss!

Negatives

It uses IDFA

I didn’t realise until submitting my app that the GameAnalytics plugin uses IDFA. I had to research why this needed and the correct option to use when completing submission of my app into the App Store. This delayed me about a day.

Confusion about supported versions

I found conflicting information about whether the package that I downloaded from the Asset Store actually supported Unity 2017. Even when I ran the build it stated unsupported version and output that analytics data wouldn’t be sent when using the Editor. Fortunately, I got hold of someone in Support who verified that the package did indeed support Unity 2017.

A platform made for games

The categories used to classify the apps were very game specific . It was very difficult to be sure that I had selected the correct type.

Two dashboards per project

I needed to set up a separate dashboard for each platform in order to see the data from my different builds. It would have been nice to be able to have this information on one dashboard to be able to compare how each was doing easily.

Some features were down

Real time data was experiencing difficulties at the time I was implementing this so I had to rely on “normal” tracking.

Normal updates are slow

Unfortunately, it seemed that getting stats from “normal” tracking updates takes at least 24 hours to filter through to the dashboards, or so I experienced.

Play Store connection not possible

I was unable to find my app via the Play Store connection even once the app was released. I suppose this also takes 24 hours to update…maybe?

Fancy giving GameAnalytics a try?

Game Analytics is a great tool, especially for those using Unity or are new to analytics and dashboards. It’s quick, easy and simple to use on a day-to-day basis from beginners to experienced users. Despite this, I feel that GameAnalytics is more suited to game projects and the level of detail in the custom events could be a lot higher. I’m not sure that GameAnalytics (at least the free level) would be able to accommodate this.

I think I’m going to advance my knowledge and test out either Google Analytics or Facebook Analytics instead for my next project.

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