Find out if Firebase is worth it.
September 19, 2020 by Jonas Kurzweg
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.
Firebase is a tool by Google that helps you in four different areas of your app:
Quality Assurance: Firebase helps you find bugs & crashes.
Google Analytics: Firebase tracks key metrics and events.
Marketing Stack: Firebase lets you perform A/B tests and send push notifications.
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.
This is how Google Analytics looks like 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
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.
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.
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.
UXCam’s Session Replay
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.
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.
Just click play!
Event Analytics: UXCam has a powerful quantitative analytics suite. In UXCam, you can group events multiple times to get more context.
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.
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 in UXCam
This collection of Firebase reviews from the review site Capterra shows you the “voice of the people“.
“very helpful to understand what features are confusing”
“For that bug alone, UXCam paid back our year’s subscription”
“UXCam is the core tool I use to build my product”
We hope this Firebase review helped you out!
Firebase has four core functionalities: Hosting, Analytics, Marketing and Quality Assurance.
Firebase can host the backend of your app, has the mobile app version of Google Analytics and enables you to monetize your app.
UXCam is a reliable Firebase alternative that helps you to understand the behavior of mobile app users. It is uniquely different from Firebase because of the focus on behavior (qualitative) analysis, rather than number (quantitative) analysis.
UX, marketing & product nerd. Coffee enthusiast. Working at UXCam. Leave me comments if you have any!