Gaining an Insight into User Behaviour with Analytics

National Public Radio built the NPR One app to draw new audiences and deliver a great listener experience. The app also gave them user-behavior insights, which are crucial to helping the product team understand their audience and build awesome content.


NPR One needed to answer unique questions, such as how users listen - via headphones, speakerphone, bluetooth - and what they listen to from these different devices.

To do this, NPR One needed to cross event data from an Analytics tool with listening data from their own servers. This helped them understand how listeners navigate in the app, and gather critical engagement metrics such as total listen time.

The product team also needed this complete picture of the user journey to see what features, content, and pathways worked best, so they could understand user context and prioritize the product features that would benefit users most.


NPR chose Google Analytics for Firebase because it integrated with the rest of the Firebase tools, offered unlimited event tracking, and had free export to Google BigQuery, which NPR could use to run custom analysis.

With BigQuery, they combined the data in one place and created a universal ID for each app user. This let them match front-end behavioral data from Google Analytics for Firebase to their backend listener data to improve understanding of vital engagement and retention metrics.

NPR also uses Firebase Remote Config to run A/B testing to determine what features and functionality work best. They now better understand listening context, and know that most listeners use their devices on speakerphone.

Firebase has so much functionality in one powerful toolset. It’seasy code to integrate, and we’re confident it’s being continuallyupdated across iOS and Android. That’s a huge win.

Knowing how listeners navigate to stories affects how they construct the NPR One app. With super-fast implementation, they quickly connected Firebase to Google AdWords to run Universal App Campaigns (UAC) to attract new listeners and drive app installations. Within days, NPR found that Firebase is most powerful as part of the overall toolset.

And their developers need just one library for user integration, which means less overhead.