Firebase A/B Testing Overview and Alternatives
Firebase is a popular platform by Google that provides useful tools to mobile app developers. The tools include a cloud database, user authentication, basic app analytics, and a popular mobile app A/B testing module.
Firebase A/B Testing and Remote Config Feature
A/B testing, or split testing, involves comparing two app versions to see which performs better. In the context of subscription apps, A/B testing is often linked to monetization strategy and paywall experiments. For example, you can test different subscription offers in the paywall to increase the total app’s revenue. Firebase’s A/B testing tool allows developers to run such experiments quickly. The experiments leverage key-value parameters provided by Firebase SDK, aka Remote Config. Remote Config allows changing your app’s behavior and appearance without releasing a new version. Firebase handles the random assignment of users in the experiment to each test group and provides basic analytics for each group.
Firebase A/B Testing Analytics
Beyond the capacity to run controlled experiments, Firebase also provides some analytics to assess the performance of each variant. After setting up an experiment, Firebase Analytics gathers data about how users interact with your app. It can track in-app user behavior including clicks and initial conversions, i.e., users starting a trial or subscribing after encountering the paywall.
Limitations of Firebase A/B Testing
Firebase A/B testing has significant limitations when dealing with subscription apps and paywall testing. The main limitation lies in Firebase’s event tracking capabilities of in-app subscription events.
Firebase tracks data from its SDK. It captures data when the app is active. For example, it can track when a user starts a trial. However, Firebase does not track data when the app is not active. This becomes a significant issue for subscription apps, where events like trial-to-paid conversions, subscription renewals, and refunds mostly occur when the app isn’t running. Because of this, Firebase can’t track subscription revenue accurately, making it very difficult to make data-driven decisions and measure the results of A/B experiments accurately.
Firebase A/B testing may not provide a comprehensive view of the performance of different paywall variants. It misses critical events in the subscription lifecycle that impact the overall understanding of a variant’s performance.
The lack of tracking of these events complicates full-funnel performance tracking, a crucial part of assessing the effectiveness of your paywal performance and monetization flow. While Firebase is a robust tool for A/B testing in general, it does not offer the complete picture for subscription apps.
Firebase A/B testing alternative for subscription apps
We at Qonversion have been serving subscription apps for several years, providing mobile SDK for quick subscription implementation and management. While talking to many existing and prospective clients, we noticed their struggles with A/B testing and Firebase’s limited tracking and analytics for subscriptions. This insight led us to develop an A/B testing solution for subscription apps on top of our existing subscription analytics. Qonversion tracks subscription events server-side, even if an app is not running. Every subscription event, including trial-to-paid conversions and subscription renewals, is accurately tracked and attributed to a user in the experiment.
Qonversion’s A/B testing uses the same approach with remote config key-value parameters. This allows flexible control of the settings in production, quick experiment launches, and rolling out the winning version instantly without releasing a new app version.
Qonversion A/B module provides advanced user segmentation to run granular experiments by country, app version, free vs. premium users, and others. Qonversion provides out-of-the-box, detailed, and precise subscription analytics. You can monitor experiment performance in real-time with complete visibility into subscription revenue performance and all conversion funnel steps during the test.
Integrating Qonverion’s A/B experiments is straightforward and similar to Firebase A/B testing integration. You define key-value parameters that you want to control remotely. You can control any element of a paywall, from UI to in-app products offered. The integration does not require you to change how you handle subscriptions. You can add Qonversion SDK, go through simple settings, and start running advanced A/B testing in under an hour.
Firebase is a popular and robust platform for mobile apps. However, its A/B testing module lacks some crucial elements to run effective subscription monetization experiments. Consider these limitations if you’re thinking of Firebase for A/B testing for a subscription app.
Thank you for reading, and feel free to reach out to our team with any feedback on A/B testing or using the Qonversion platform.