Remote Config & A/B Testing: Customize App In Your Style.

What makes Firebase to become a powerful tool is the ecosystem built with functions strongly aligned and cross support to each other. Firebase functions play a huge role in collecting data then analyzing those data to help developers to improve their apps even better. One of the functions strongly supports developers to observe and analyze their apps is called Remote Config.

Change your app behavior immediately with remote config.

Normally, when you want to change the behavior of an app, you will need to change the code, rebuild your app then release an update. However that process will need time to update apps, it takes even longer for the user to receive the updates.

Of course, Remote Config is not a miracle tool that can help you transform your apps just by few value changes. However, this function helps you to build an  extreme customizable app, define your replaceable elements such as layout, colour etc… only by using a few clicks, you will have a whole new interface for your apps.

We use a famous game – Flappy bird as our example. If you want to customize the game’s difficulty by changing some value: Bird’s speed, the distance between water pipes etc… we need to pre-define those values, we can create key-values on remote config velocity for bird’s speed and distance for distance between 2 pipes.

Of course you will need to add some code to process the data from server, based on the returned value to set the value for bird’s speed and distance between pipes. The amazing thing about Remote Config is the client library can process issues related to network with catching mechanism. Your work is only calling an API function, Firebase will take care of returning a value for you.

Hence, you only need to increase velocity and decrease the distance if you want your game to be more insanely difficult to annoy your users. Then click the update button to save the changes to your apps.

Different tactics for your user segmentations.

We still keep Flappy Bird as an example, if you want to set  higher difficulty in Japan region and lower difficulty in Vietnam, what you need to do?

With Remote Config, it is much easier for you to provide different treatments to user segmentations. RC supports you to divide your users into different groups by using condition on user properties (Could be nation, language, or custom properties defined by yourself), or use set of audience you have already defined. After that return different set of value to different set of users.

We try increasing the velocity, decrease the distance for Japan and do the reverse to Vietnam.

Create condition for users from Vietnam

Set longer distance for Vietnamese users and shorter for Japanese users

And here is the result..

Condition of Remote Config is powerful, when you use all data obtained by Firebase Analytics to group your users into segmentations. From app version, Operation system, language, randomly etc…

The moment users receive updates from Remote Config allow you create/schedule some fixed value. with this function, it is easier than ever for you to schedule your promotional campaigns, sub-quest,tournaments in a certain date time.

A/B testing with Remote Config – Power of synergy.

Customizable and serving behavior is good. However, how do you know which is the best value? Once again, Remote Config and Firebase Analytic provide perfect solution for testing and finding the best value, that is A/B testing.

A/B testing is the work you provide sets of solution/value/experience for different user segmentations. Then analyze statistics to find out which set of values provide the best benefits for you. Remote Config already support divide users and customize experience for them, also integrating with Firebase Analytics allow you co observe how metrics changes on each group of customers.

We go back to the Flappy Bird example, the question is which difficulty is most suitable for game developers – not game players? The main method of monetization in casual game is money from displaying ads, balance between displaying ads and keep user playing your game.

  • Hard game -> User lose more frequently  -> Short session -> you can display more ads. However users may become over frustrated.
  • Otherwise, if your game is easier, you could display less ads, however user will feel relaxed and bond to your game even more.

Above opinion is more like theory. There is only way to check which one is correct by testing. We create 5 different groups to test different velocity/distance. The original group would have standard velocity of 100, other groups would be 80 – 90 – 110 – 120 perspectively. The same applied for distance. After that, Remote Config allows you to target users in different testing groups by many conditions. You can target users in Vietnam, then divided Vietnamese into 5 groups. Or maybe you can treat Vietnam, America, Korea, England as individual groups:

Divide users into 5 groups with different difficulty

Define user segmentations, after values are tested, you need to define ‘goal metrics’ you want to know.  Firebase support you to select 6 statistic, some default on users engagement such as: daily engagement, user retention or using additional statistics customized by yourself. Even better, Firebase reports provides you know exact revenue comes from AdMob or IAP.

Choose related statistics to user to use as result

Complete steps to select users, we can double check before testing:

Last checking before testing

The interface above is also the one help you to check the result of the test. default group (control group) will be used to be the standard to compare different groups. You can learn the difference in result, how statistics change (+/- how many percent) compared to standard group. Then make the best decision for yourself.

Example on result of A/B testing

Remote Config cannot help you to decide 100% which one is best for you. However, it provides synergy between powerful tools for you to test all scenarios. At the end of test, you would have set of statistics/data to have a clear picture on how better/worse your updates gonna be when released. In conclusion, with Remote Config and A/B testing, there is no doubt that you would be able to judge what changes/update is most likely to succeed for your apps with confidence.

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