Firebase Review 2020 – An Honest Opinion

Find out if Firebase is worth it.

firebase review cover

I want to give you an honest Firebase review.

If you don’t have time to read the whole post, here’s a quick summary:

Firebase is a robust all-in-one tool for hosting, QA, and analytics that falls short when it comes to understanding in-depth user behavior.

What is Google Firebase?

Firebase is a tool by Google that helps you in four different areas of your app:

  1. Quality Assurance: Firebase helps you find bugs & crashes.
  2. Google Analytics: Firebase tracks key metrics and events.
  3. Marketing Stack: Firebase lets you perform A/B tests and send push notifications.
  4. Hosting: Firebase offers Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS).

Firebase has a free version, and a paid version called “Blaze plan”. The cost of Firebase mainly depends on the data that’s being stored. You can calculate the pricing of Firebase here.

Firebase Google Analytics screenshot
This is how Google Analytics looks like in Firebase

What can you do in Firebase?

If your app has a lot of bugs, it will get bad user reviews and an increase of uninstalls. Firebase has four tools that help you monitor the performance of your app:

  • Crashlytics lets you see crash events and crash statistics
  • Performance lets you monitor the network response and rendering rate
  • Test Lab lets you test your app on a variety of devices in a Google data center
  • App Distribution distributes your apps to testers

Firebase comes with the mobile app version of Google Analytics. Google Analytics gathers data points to give you a better understanding of your app usage.

  • Track conversion events
  • Get basic metrics such as DAU or MAU
  • Build and track audiences
  • Create funnels
  • Analyze retention rates

Firebase offers five marketing tools that help you to engage with and market to your users.

  • Predictions creates intelligent audiences that you can use for your ad campaigns, e.g. users that are about to churn
  • A/B Testing lets you test different designs to increase conversions
  • Push Notifications help you to engage with your users
  • Dynamic links creates links that take users directly to the linked content in your app
  • AdMob is Google’s mobile app ad network

Firebase can host the back-end of your app. That means that your developers won’t have to build and maintain a database infrastructure.

What Firebase won’t let you do

Google Firebase is a powerful tool — but it’s not almighty. Google Firebase doesn’t show you the full context of user behavior. Firebase doesn’t tell you:

  • Why people uninstall your app
  • Which elements of your app get the most engagement
  • Why users drop out of your funnel
  • If users get frustrated by the UX of your app
  • The full context of a crash or bug cause

Google Firebase doesn’t give you the complete picture of how your users behave.

For example, if users visit your app’s pricing screen, and 99.5% of users drop off, you can use Firebase to see that there is an issue, but you won’t know why.

Without understanding user behavior you are likely to make wrong product decisions. To solve this, I want to show you an alternative solution such as UXCam in this Firebase review.

Firebase Alternatives

I want to introduce you to UXCam as a complement and potential alternative to Firebase. UXCam is a UX Analytics platform for mobile apps. It helps you:

  • Understand how users actually use your app
  • Uncover the true causes of friction and frustration
  • Replicate and reduce crashes
  • Understand the complete user journey

UXCam has a forever free plan and a paid version. UXCam also offers a free 14-days trial for its premium offering. Companies such as Vodafone, NBC, or Nissan use UXCam.

session replay comparison
UXCam’s Session Replay

What you can do in UXCam

UXCam gives you the full context of user behavior:

  • Find out where users get frustrated
  • See how they interact with your app
  • Find out what they are ignoring

Heatmaps: Heatmaps in UXCam help you to understand how users interact with each screen of your app. You can quickly see which elements are being tapped on and which are ignored. That way, you have the ability to optimize every single screen. You can also generate heatmaps for rage taps to see where users get frustrated.

heatmap

Session Replays: Session Replays record the complete user behavior in video format. Uncover the true causes of friction and frustration.

Funnel Analytics: Funnel Analytics is a feature that also exists in Firebase. However, there’s a big difference: UXCam lets you directly jump from the funnels page to session replays. If you notice an unusual drop-off, you can watch session replays to get immediate context for it.

funnel analytics
Just click play!

Event Analytics: UXCam has a powerful quantitative analytics suite. In UXCam, you can group events multiple times to get more context.

How to use Google Firebase + UXCam

  • Increase conversion rates

You can use Firebase to identify which screens have problems. You can also do that with UXCam with the Funnel Analytics feature. Click play on problematic screen transitions to dig deeper into bottlenecks to improve your app’s KPIs.

  • Reduce the number of crashes & bugs quickly

In addition to Firebase Crashlytics, UXCam gives you a complete overview of your app’s health. It shows you how many users are affected by a crash so that you can prioritize the issues that you should fix first.

  • Improve usability

With Firebase, you can see where users drop out. In UXCam, you can analyze the replays of users that are slipping away. Find out why users uninstall the app and take usability measures to prevent it from happening in the future.

user segments
User segments in UXCam

User Reviews

This collection of Firebase reviews from the review site Capterra shows you the “voice of the people“.

Firebase Reviews

firebase review 1
firebase review 2

UXCam Reviews

uxcam review 1
“very helpful to understand what features are confusing”
uxcam review 2
“For that bug alone, UXCam paid back our year’s subscription”
uxcam review 3
UXCam is the core tool I use to build my product”

We hope this Firebase review helped you out!

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FAQ

What’s the functionality of Firebase?

Firebase has four core functionalities: Hosting, Analytics, Marketing and Quality Assurance.

Why is Firebase important?

Firebase can host the backend of your app, has the mobile app version of Google Analytics and enables you to monetize your app.

Firebase Review 2020 – An Honest Opinion