5 reasons to set up events in Fabric

By Shobhit Chugh, Product Manager

Fabric-events-and-kpi

You’ve probably heard the famous saying, “Actions speak louder than words” many times before. This idiom means a person’s behavior tells you more about them than what they say - and this sentiment holds true in mobile too.

The actions your users take inside your app shed light on how engaged they are and how intuitive your user interface is. This information is vital to retaining users, improving your app, and growing your mobile business. Fabric makes it easy to track user actions and other important in-app events, so you can see how people interact with your app in real-time.

Here are five reasons why you should instrument events in Fabric and what you can learn by doing so.


1. Events illuminate in-app user behavior and patterns, so you can take the right action

Events track a wealth of user actions - including in-app purchases, content shares, logins, etc. to help you understand how people use your app, what actions they take most (and least), and if user behavior is changing week over week. Events can also provide additional context, color, and insight into trends about each action in the form of attributes. For example, news and media apps can learn which content is most popular by instrumenting Fabric’s “Content View” event with supporting attributes like content name and content type. The “Content View” event will tabulate each time a piece of content is viewed, while the attributes will help you pinpoint the most popular one.

In Fabric, you can find all of this information (and more) by clicking into the event page from the dashboard.

Let's review the main sections of the event page.

The first row of graphs gives you raw counts.

The second row of graphs tells you the average number of times each user has completed this event today, and what percent of your total active users have taken this action.

These graphs reveal interesting user engagement trends. For example, if you manage a social media app and you notice that a smaller percentage of people are sharing things, you may need to run marketing campaigns to encourage sharing and boost engagement.

As you scroll down the event’s page, you’ll see that each event attribute has its own chart.

These charts highlight the top 10 values of the attribute over a 30 day period.

For example, if the event you are looking at is “Sign In” then a corresponding attribute could be “Sign In Method.” The top 10 section would list which log-in methods are used most (for that particular day), such as Facebook, Twitter, email address, etc.

Finally, Fabric provides audience insights for every event

For instance, this chart can answer questions like, “Do people with interests in politics tend to log in more often?” or “Do females tend to share more on social media?”


2. You can set a key performance indicator to track your most important in-app action

Although you can instrument up to 3,000 events in your app, there is probably one key event that matters most to your business. For example, an ecommerce app’s KPI (key performance indicator) will likely be “Purchase” while a gaming app’s KPI could be “Level End.” Fabric allows you star this event as your key performance indicator so it appears prominently in your dashboard and across other areas of the platform. Setting a KPI makes it easy to see how your app is doing at a glance. When there are major changes to your KPI, we’ll let you know immediately by highlighting them.

Pro tip: As a general rule of thumb, your KPI should be the ultimate in-app action you want users to complete - this is the action that has the biggest impact on your app’s success.


3. By instrumenting events, you can unlock new insights within the platform

In addition to learning how users are behaving in your app, you can also unlock new insights across other areas of Fabric’s platform by setting up events and picking a KPI. On the growth page, you’ll start to see what percent of new users are completing your KPI. If you allow purchases within your app and you set up the purchase event, you’ll get a dedicated revenue tile in your Fabric dashboard that tracks how much money you’re earning daily.


4. We’ll guide you through the set-up process

Now that you know how events can illuminate user behavior, you’re probably wondering how to set them up. Don’t worry - we’ve made this process easy! When we launched events a few years ago, we listened to your feedback and examined our data to identify a set of core actions that a majority of app teams want to track. Then, we built a guided set-up process so you can start tracking these core events quickly, straight from your Fabric dashboard.

We even provide recommendations for which events might be worthwhile to track and outline their corresponding attributes. Here’s a sample of these predefined events and their suggested attributes:

  1. E-Commerce apps → Add to cart, Start checkout,
  2. PurchaseContent apps → Content view, Share, Search, Rating
  3. Gaming apps → Level start, Level end
  4. All apps → Signup, Login


5. You have the flexibility to create custom events

We realize that apps may want to track unique user actions, so in addition to the core events listed above, Fabric also gives you the option to instrument custom events and custom attributes (we accept both numeric and string attributes). For example, if your app is available in many different countries, you could use a custom event to track keyboard setup with a custom attribute of language. This would help you understand your users’ geographic dispersion and preferred language of communication.

Pro tip: You can also use custom events to set up negative event tracking. For instance, a sports app could track when users are unable to view videos because they encounter a playback error. This type of event tracking would help unearth backend or network issues.


Get started with Fabric events today

Fabric events help you understand what users are doing inside your app in real-time, so you’re empowered to nurture the right behavior and keep people engaged. It’s easy to get started with events - here are our best practices on how to set them up correctly.
 

Introducing fastlane precheck: Submit your app to the app store with confidence

By Joshua Liebowitz, Software Engineer

Introducing-fastlane-precheck

We’ve all been in this situation before: you work tirelessly to build a great app, you spend countless hours beta testing and fixing bugs, and you even put together a comprehensive marketing plan in time for your app’s launch. Months of anticipation finally culminate when you submit your app to the app store… but instead of celebrating the new release, you find out that your app didn’t meet the right criteria for listing so it got rejected 😱.

There’s nothing quite as deflating as tripping at the finish line.

App store guidelines can be complicated and hard to remember because they’re constantly changing, but developers still need to follow them in order to get their apps approved. Sometimes, these guidelines get overlooked or lost in the shuffle of all the other important pre-launch tasks. To help you avoid unnecessary delays and rejection, we’re excited to introduce fastlane precheck for iOS apps! You can count on us to remember the rules so you can submit your app with confidence.

Review your app in seconds to save days of delays

Often, apps get rejected from app stores because of simple, solvable issues with their metadata (such as title, description, changelog, keywords, etc.). Once rejected, you have to resubmit your app and it can take days before it’s reviewed again. This wastes time and can throw off your schedule.

Instead of risking rejection or painstakingly auditing your own metadata, you can now use fastlane precheck to save you the time and hassle. fastlane will review your app for the most common causes of rejection 👍.

For example, we’ll check your metadata to ensure it follows iOS app store rules such as:

  1. No other platforms are mentioned in the description
  2. There are no curse words in your copy
  3. No placeholder text is left
  4. No URLs are broken

If we detect any issues, we’ll flag them for you so you can resolve them before you submit your app to the app store. And since fastlane can automatically download your app’s metadata, this whole process takes only seconds!

fastlane precheck in action

More exciting things ahead

fastlane precheck is the first new tool we’ve added to our app automation toolkit since joining Google - and we have even more exciting updates planned! Now that we’ve settled into our new home, we can’t wait to move fastlane forward with our passionate community of iOS and Android developers.

In the meantime, install fastlane or update your version of fastlane (just run 'fastlane update_fastlane') to try precheck and submit your app with confidence and peace of mind 🚀.

Relive the Fabric + Firebase party at WWDC17

by Brian Lynn, Product Marketing Manager

Now that WWDC has drawn to a close, we couldn’t wait to share the photos of our party on the night of the 5th. We were thrilled to meet and celebrate app development with many of you, including tons of talented developers from Apple, Uber, Spotify, Tinder, and more. With over a thousand RSVPs, it was amazing to see the excitement among the community!

Since we can’t travel back in time, here are some highlights so you can relive the night of fun. 

The entrance

We love our customers - so what better way to show our appreciation then rolling out the red carpet? We also made sure to have friendly hosts to greet you at the door and security guards as rigorous as an IDS

The experience

To make sure you feel right at home at Forager, we meticulously designed the ambience of our event to resemble the look and feel of our product. Throughout the space, we added the Firebase yellow and Fabric blue lighting, custom pillows, stand up tables with chips inside, and more. This way you can mingle with other developers in style.

In addition to finger-licking good appetizers, we even designed two specialty developer cocktails: the Minty Multithread and Nulltonic Expression. Thank you to all those who submitted creative names for our cocktail and congrats to the winners!

The fun

Deliciousness aside, we mounted flat screens throughout the venue so you can showcase the apps you’re building and share your passion projects with other developers. For the photo-junkies, we featured a paparazzi style photo booth with whatever witty props that strike your mood (see all the photo booth moments here).

For those who love flexing their knowledge muscle, we brought in the AppShip3000 - our flagship multiplayer game to test your knowledge of Firebase. In case you were new to Firebase and wanted to learn more, we also set up a live coding station so you can see Firebase in action.

The swag

Since it’s dub dub, we crafted custom designed iPhone protective cases for you to take home (in case cocktails and holding-onto-phones-after don’t mix). Stylish tees included as usual.

Thank you to all those who joined us for the night - we were glad to share all the laughter with you. Check out our full photo album. (photos credit: Yvonne TNT)

Here’s to next year!

In their words:

Learn from app leaders: How Doodle redesigned their app using Fabric & Firebase

By Todd Burner, Developer Advocate

Learn from app leaders header

In this new series, we feature customers that have used our platform in an innovative way. For this installment, we chatted with the app team at Doodle who used the Fabric and Firebase platforms together to redesign their app to be more user-centric. If you want to participate in this series, please email support@fabric.io.

Recently, we sat down with Alexander Thiele who is a senior Android engineer at Doodle, a company that helps you find the best date and time to meet other people. As early adopters of Fabric’s Crashlytics and Firebase Remote Config, his team has expert familiarity with our platforms. The focus of our conversation was on how they redesigned their mobile app using analytics and crash data from their Fabric and Firebase dashboards.

Doodle logo.png


Q. How did you approach the redesign?

“The redesign is a complete overhaul of our app. We started by updating our onboarding flow to help people understand the best ways to use Doodle. We wanted to show users how they can poll each other to quickly find the best meeting time. We divided the redesign into three phases, first improving stability with Fabric’s Crashlytics, then A/B testing our poll creation feature with Firebase Remote Config, and finally measuring the results of our tests and production rollout by monitoring our app metrics in Fabric and Firebase analytics."


Phase 1: Finding tricky crashes

The team at Doodle wanted to understand how stability was impacting their app quality. That’s why they first focused on getting their crash-free user rate as close to 100% as possible.

Fabric’s Crashlytics helped them track crashes and prioritize them so they could improve their crash-free user rate. One feature they found particularly useful is adding logs and keys to crash reports.

Q. How did Fabric’s Crashlytics help you improve your app stability? 

“Crashlytics saved us a ton of time by surfacing crashes and helping us pinpoint their cause. I remember one really rare crash which we couldn't find the source of ourselves. We also don't have many crashes so we were really eager to find it. We then started to log everything that could be related to this crash, like page visits and the current internal database size. We also recorded those instances when our database couldn’t find something. After a few releases with custom logs, we found the bug. It happened in a really rare case where the user went to specific screens and used some specific features. Without custom logs, we wouldn’t have been able to find this bug.”

The team at Doodle also logs all crashes that they manually catch in the code to Crashlytics as non-fatals. This gives them more insight about what's going on in the app. By taking advantage of these unique Crashlytics features, Doodle has been able to move faster and add new features into production with less anxiety.


Phase 2: User-centric design

 The second phase of the app redesign was focused on updating the user experience and design. The goal of this phase was to refresh the look and feel of the app and introduce streamlined flows so users could accomplish their tasks faster (and with fewer screens/steps).

Q. What types of UI changes did you make in the redesign?

“The changes we made during this stage included everything from changing the color palette to introducing new screens and adding new app functionality. By monitoring the 7 day retention metrics in Fabric and Firebase, we saw that some new users didn’t understand the concept of Doodle immediately - so they didn’t return to our app. That’s why we changed the whole onboarding process to make Doodle easier to understand and use from the first time it’s installed.”

doodle app screen.png

Q. How did you test your changes?

“We used Firebase Remote Config. We tested our user onboarding and the flow users go through when creating a poll. We tried 4 different kinds of flows, which we tested using Remote Config. In the end, the data showed that one flow resulted in more polls being created than the others. Our key performance indicator for the A/B test was the numbers of polls created by users, and we tracked this KPI with Google Analytics for Firebase.“

Q. Did you use Remote Config for other things? 

“We also used Remote Config to test feature switches. For example a few months ago, we implemented banner ads on our scheduling screen and enabled them through Remote Config. We noticed that these ads didn’t perform well so we turned them off easily with Remote Config. Then, we tried inserting native ads into a few other places in our app. Through Remote Config, we were able to discover the right placement for ads in our app without disrupting our users or requiring them to update their app to see the changes.”

By tracking crashes and non-fatals with Fabric and deploying changes with Firebase Remote Config, the team at Doodle didn’t have to depend on the app store release cycles to understand their users and update their app accordingly. They could see user behavior change in real-time and make appropriate changes to their app before problems arose.


Phase 3: Measuring and going forward with Firebase and Fabric

The team at Doodle plans to keep using both the Fabric and Firebase platforms to monitor and improve their app - and display their metrics throughout every stage! 

Q. Now that the redesign is live, what dashboards do you find yourself using the most?

 “Our most important metrics are how many polls a user creates and how many people participate in a poll. We monitor these in the Fabric events dashboard and in Google Analytics for Firebase by logging events.

I’m also a big fan of the new TV Mode for Fabric, we have a big conference room and we put up our dashboard on the TV during launches so the whole team can see how we’re doing. The new Crashlytics dashboard looks nice too, especially device and OS filtering. We keep an eye on most of the dashboards daily.”

Q. What Fabric and Firebase features do you plan to adopt next?

“Over the next few weeks, we have plans to adopt Firebase Dynamic Links and to set up more in-depth Fabric custom events. By using Dynamic Links, we’ll be able to make it even easier to share polls. For example, our users will be able to invite other people to participate in polls via SMS and deep link right to the relevant app screen (even if the people they are inviting to the poll haven’t installed the app yet). We’ll track more events, like content views, to understand where our users find value in our app.”

Q. What advice do you have for other app teams who are considering redesigning their app?

“Two things: test ideas constantly and put your app users first. By combining Crashlytics’ real-time crash reporting with the ability to deploy remote changes to a subset of users through Firebase Remote Config, you can learn how valuable a new feature is, identify potential issues, and take action immediately.”

Q. Can you share some results of the redesign?

“This redesign greatly improved our in-app poll creation process so users could create polls faster and more easily. We measured the success of this redesign by looking at our daily active users (DAUs) in Fabric and our retention numbers in Firebase/Fabric, which have risen beyond our expectations!”

Fabric + Firebase: Building momentum together

By Rich Paret, GM, Fabric

Fabric + Firebase: Building Momentum Together

It’s been an exciting four months since we joined Google to work alongside our friends at Firebase. We teamed up for two reasons: 1) By joining forces, we can combine our unique strengths and give you access to better tools and infrastructure. 2) We’re driven by the same mission, to help teams build apps, understand their users, and grow their business.  

So, what have we been up to in our new home, with our new teammates?

Continuing to improve Fabric

As always, our customers are our top priority. Over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work shipping awesome improvements for Fabric. For example, we recently introduced the new Fabric dashboard to align your app’s data with your top goals. We also made it easier to monitor retention in Fabric, added new sharing functionality to Fabric’s iOS and Android app, and launched a beta version of crash insights. Insights surfaces underlying problems causing your crashes and gives you resources to solve them faster. Plus, we traveled all over the world to show you how to supercharge your app release process with fastlane.

Integrating with Firebase

Many of you have asked us how the integration with Firebase is going. The short answer is: it’s going great! We’re learning a ton from each other and we’re marching towards the same goal, which is to bring the best of our platforms together, in a thoughtful and seamless way.

Today, you can start to see some of the fruits of this labor. We’re going to make Crashlytics the flagship stability solution for Firebase, so if you don’t already use it, we recommend installing it and checking it out. In addition, Digits is being upgraded to Firebase phone authentication, which is the next evolution of phone number identity and authentication.

Better together

Fabric and Firebase are stronger together, so we encourage you to use both of our platforms. In due time, we’ll bridge the gap and give you one place to build, understand, and grow your app.

We’re working on solving the biggest mobile challenges so you have more time to innovate and do what you love.

You can count on us to make app success simple.

Join us at I/O and WWDC

As we go forward, fueled by the same mission, we also want to celebrate with our passionate community.

If you’re at I/O, join us on May 18th at 10:30 am PST for a fireside chat with myself (Rich Paret, GM, Fabric), Andrew Lee (Co-founder, Firebase), and Jason Titus (VP of Engineering, Google Developer Platform) as we discuss joining Google, recent launches, and talk more about what’s next. Throughout I/O, we’ll also be hanging out at the sandbox area - ready to listen to your feedback and answer any questions you have.

Next month, we’re co-hosting a party with Firebase at WWDC and we’d love to see you there. Request an invite on our event website.

Come say hello, we can’t wait to see you!

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