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Recently Facebook updated their app to have an in-app browser. Previously, clicking on web links bumped the user out of the FB app and into their device browser. Now the user is kept inside the Facebook App with a handy header bar at the top ensuring users naturally find their way back to their news feed.

My question is, does Google Analytics record pageviews from in-app browsing differently to normal device?

If the answer is "no" my second question is, If not, why not?

Part of me thinks it would be useful to know if a site is being viewed through the browser loaded inside the FB app, another part thinks treating it separately would dilute the facts. Therefore, maybe the in-app/not-in-app data should be a separate metric. Maybe that's already recorded! Ahh this question's got messy. Any thoughts appreciated.

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When you choose Browser dimension, you've got info about in-apps views.

enter image description here

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  • I'm having a bit of trouble generating a view like your screenshot. Is it a custom report? – Martin Joiner Jan 26 '15 at 16:26
  • Ah! Found it. I started with the built-in report Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals and then added 'Browser' as the secondary dimension. – Martin Joiner Jan 26 '15 at 16:33
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While I haven't test this myself I imagine the answer is 'YES' Google analytics will still work since It's likely that the in-app browser is running your site in an <iframe> which will load all internal and external scripts.

You should be able to test this by using firebug and inspecting the DOM and viewing the iframe element (right click under the header and click inspect).

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In short - yes, FB in-app records Google Analytics traffic, but there's more, lot more. There's traffic that FB in-app generates, but that is not tracked in GA.

Facebook in-app traffic can be identified and tracked by User-Agent signature:

  • FB_IAB/FB4A;FBAV [Android]
  • FBAN [IOS]

Other approach to tracking in-app usage in Google Analytics would be to use custom dimension in GA, and set it during page load, based on User-Agent signature.

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