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Media tracking

This plugin is the recommended way to manually track media events from video players. While we also provide plugins for integrating with specific video players (e.g., YouTube, HTML5), this plugin allows you to implement media tracking for any player.

note

The plugin is available since version 3.12 of the tracker.

Snowplow media events and entities must be manually tracked.

Install plugin

Tracker DistributionIncluded
sp.js
sp.lite.js

Download:

Download from GitHub Releases (Recommended)Github Releases (plugins.umd.zip)
Available on jsDelivrjsDelivr (latest)
Available on unpkgunpkg (latest)
window.snowplow(
'addPlugin',
'https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/npm/@snowplow/browser-plugin-media@latest/dist/index.umd.min.js',
['snowplowMedia', 'SnowplowMediaPlugin']
);

Usage

The Snowplow media tracking APIs enable you to track events from media playback on the Web as well as mobile apps. The trackers provide a set of tracking APIs that enable you to track changes in the media playback (e.g., play, pause, seek events), playback position (ping and percentage progress events), or ad playback events (e.g., ad breaks, ad progress, ad clicks).

While the trackers provide integrations with a few media players, the media tracking APIs are designed to be player agnostic to enable users to implement tracking for any media player.

Tracked events and entities

The media tracking works with a set of out-of-the-box event and entity schemas. Additionally, you can track custom entities along with the events.

Example app

To illustrate the tracked events and entities, you can visit a React example app that showcases the tracked media events and entities live as you watch a video.

Visit the app here. Source code for the app is available here.

Media player events

Each media player event is a self-describing event with a unique schema.

The schema URIs have the format: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/{EVENT_TYPE}/jsonschema/1-0-0.

You can see the schemas listed under the event tracking methods below.

Media player entity

The media player entity is attached to all media events and gives information about the current state of the media player. It contains the current playback position (currentTime) as well as the paused or muted state.

Media player entity properties

The schemas contain a single label property:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
currentTimeYnumberThe current playback time
durationNnumberA double-precision floating-point value indicating the duration of the media in seconds
endedYbooleanIf playback of the media has ended
fullscreenNbooleanWhether the video element is fullscreen
livestreamNbooleanIf the media is live
labelNstringHuman readable name given to tracked media content
loopNbooleanIf the video should restart after ending
mediaTypeNenum: audio or videoType of media content
mutedNbooleanIf the media element is muted
pausedYbooleanIf the media element is paused
pictureInPictureNbooleanWhether the video element is showing picture-in-picture
playbackRateNnumberPlayback rate (1 is normal)
playerTypeNstringType of the media player (e.g., com.youtube-youtube, com.vimeo-vimeo, org.whatwg-media_element)
qualityNstringQuality level of the playback (e.g., 1080p)
volumeNintegerVolume percent

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow/media_player/jsonschema/2-0-0.

Media session entity

The media session entity is used to identify the playback using the mediaSessionId. It also contains statistics about the media playback computed on the tracker (e.g., timePlayed, timeBuffering, adsClicked).

Media player session entity properties
Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
mediaSessionIdYstringAn identifier for the media session (can be provided by the user)
startedAtNdate-timeDate-time timestamp of when the session started.
pingIntervalNnumberInterval (seconds) in which the ping events will be sent. Default (10s) is assumed if not specified.
timePlayedNnumberTotal seconds user spent playing content (excluding ads).
timePlayedMutedNnumberTotal seconds user spent playing content on mute (excluding ads).
timePausedNnumberTotal seconds user spent with paused content (excluding linear ads)
contentWatchedNnumberTotal seconds of the content played. Each part of the content played is counted once (i.e., counts rewinding or rewatching the same content only once). Playback rate does not affect this value.
timeBufferingNnumberTotal seconds that playback was buffering during the session.
timeSpentAdsNnumberTotal seconds that ads played during the session.
adsNintegerNumber of ads played.
adsClickedNintegerNumber of ads that the user clicked on
adsSkippedNintegerNumber of ads that the user skipped
adBreaksNintegerNumber of ad breaks played.
avgPlaybackRateNnumberAverage playback rate (1 is normal speed).

It is an optional entity that is enabled by default.

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/session/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Media ad and ad break entities

These entities give information about the currently playing ad and ad break.

Media ad break entity properties
Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
nameNstringAd break name such as pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll.
breakIdNstringID of the ad break.
startTimeYnumberPlayback time in seconds at the start of the ad break.
podSizeNintegerThe number of ads to be played within the ad break.
breakTypeNenum: linear, nonlinear, companionlinear – take full control of the video for a period of time

nonlinear – run concurrently to the video companion – accompany the video but placed outside the player |

Schema for the ad break entity: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_break/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Media player ad entity properties
Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
nameNstringFriendly name of the ad
adIdYstringUnique identifier for the ad.
creativeIdNstringThe ID of the ad creative
podPositionNintegerThe number position of the ad within the ad break, starting with 1.
durationYnumberLength of the video ad in seconds
skippableNbooleanIndicating whether skip controls are made available to the end user

Schema for the ad entity: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Starting and ending media tracking

The tracker keeps track of ongoing media tracking instances in order to manage entities that are tracked along with the media events.

Media tracking instances are identified by a unique ID (that is tracked in the media session entity as mediaSessionId). You provide the identifier in the startMediaTracking call that initializes the media tracking instance. All subsequent media track calls will be processed within this media tracking if given the same ID. Make sure that each media player and content tracked have a different ID.

const id = 'XXXXX'; // randomly generated ID
window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', { id });

Use the endMediaTracking call to end media tracking. This will clear the local state for the media tracking and stop any background updates.

window.snowplow('endMediaTracking', { id });

Configuration

You can provide additional configuration to the startMediaTracking call to configure the tracking or give initial information about the media played.

Media player properties

The media property lets you provide information about the media playback that will be used to populate the media player entity tracked with media events.

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', {
id,
player: {
currentTime: 0, // The current playback time
duration: 150, // A double-precision floating-point value indicating the duration of the media in seconds
ended: false, // If playback of the media has ended
livestream: false, // If the media is live
label: 'Sample video', // A human-readable title for the media
loop: false, // If the video should restart after ending
mediaType: 'video', // The type of media
muted: false, // If the media element is muted
paused: false, // If the media element is paused
pictureInPicture: false, // If the media is in picture-in-picture mode
playerType: 'html5', // The type of player
playbackRate: 1.0, // Playback rate (1 is normal)
quality: '1080p', // The quality level of the playback
volume: 100, // Volume level
}
});

Media ping events

Media ping events are events sent in a regular interval while media tracking is active. They inform about the current state of the media playback.

Media pings vs page pings

Media ping events are different events from the page ping events tracked by activity tracking in the tracker. See the following section to read how page ping events are tracked during media playback.

By default, ping events are sent every 30 seconds. This can be configured as follows:

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', {
id,
pings: { pingInterval: 30 }, // Interval in seconds for sending ping events. Defaults to 30s.
});

The ping events are sent in an interval that is unrelated to the media playback. However, to prevent sending too many events while the player is paused in background (e.g., in a background tab), there is a limit to how many ping events can be sent while the media is paused. By default, this is set to 1, but it is configurable:

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', {
id,
pings: { maxPausedPings: 3 }, // Maximum number of consecutive ping events to send when playback is paused. Defaults to 1.
});

You can disable ping events as follows:

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', { id, pings: false });

Media ping events have the following schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ping_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Page ping events

Page ping events are tracked when activity tracking is enabled in the tracker as long as the user engages with the page (clicks, moves the cursor, scrolls, ...). In contrast with the media ping events, page ping events don't contain any information about the media playback (e.g., the player or session entity).

However, when the user watches a video on the page, they might not be interacting with it, causing page ping events not to be tracked. The media tracking plugin addresses this problem and automatically keeps the page pings alive while the video is being played. On the background, it calls the updatePageActivity function in activity tracking every time the media tracking is updated or a media event is tracked.

The behaviour is enabled by default. In case you don't want the page activity to be automatically updated when the video is playing, you can disable it as follows:

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', { id, updatePageActivityWhilePlaying: false });

Media player session

Tracking the media player session entity with all media events is enabled by default, you can disable it as follows:

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', { id, session: false });

Percentage progress events

Percentage progress events are tracked when the playback reaches some percentage boundaries. To send percentage progress events, set the percentage boundaries when they should be tracked:

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', { id, boundaries: [10, 25, 50, 75] });

Percentage progress events have the following schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/percent_progress_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Filter captured events

In case you want to discard some of the events that are tracked during the media tracking, you can set the `captureEvents` property to a list of event types that are allowed (all other event types will be ignored):

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', { id, captureEvents: ['play'] });

Filter repeated events

Some media players produce a large number of subsequent seek start and seek end (or volume change) events when the user is scrubbing the slider controls (e.g, the Vimeo or HTML5 players). The large number of repeated events is usually not desirable and it's preferable to only keep the first and the last of those events. The media plugin has the ability to do that for seek start, seek end and volume change events.

The algorithm to filter out the repeated events keeps tracked seek (or volume change) events in a buffer until an event other than a seek event is tracked or until the media tracking ends (endMediaTracking is called). At that point, it takes the first seek start and the last seek end from the buffer and tracks them.

So if the following events are tracked:

  1. play
  2. seek start 1
  3. seek end 2
  4. seek start 2
  5. seek end 2
  6. pause

By filtering events, the result will be:

  1. play
  2. seek start 1
  3. seek end 2
  4. pause

Filtering out repeated seek and volume change events is enabled by default, but it is possible to disable as follows:

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', { id, filterOutRepeatedEvents: false });

Or separately for the seek and volume events like this:

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', { id, filterOutRepeatedEvents: { seekEvents: false, volumeChangeEvents: false } });

There is also an internal timeout after which the buffer with events waiting to be filtered is processed even if no other events are tracked. The default timeout is 5s but is configurable:

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', { id, filterOutRepeatedEvents: { flushTimeoutMs: 1000 } }); // sets the timeout to 1s

Add context entities to all events

You can provide custom context entities to describe the media playback. They will be added to all events tracked in the media tracking.

window.snowplow('startMediaTracking', {
id,
context: [
{
schema: 'iglu:org.schema/video/jsonschema/1-0-0',
data: { creativeId: '1234' }
}
]
});

Updating playback properties

Updates stored attributes of the media player such as the current playback. Use this function to continually update the player attributes so that they can be sent in the background ping events. We recommend updating the playback position every 1 second.

window.snowplow('updateMediaTracking', {
id,
player: { currentTime: 10 }
});

Tracking media events

Having started a media tracking instance, you can use it to track media events as you receive them from the media player.

Typically, you would subscribe to notifications from the media player (e.g., user clicks play, volume changes, content is buffering) with callbacks that would track the Snowplow events. For an example, see the code that subscribes for events from an HTML5 media player here.

Providing additional information

This section explains how to update information in the media entities along with tracked events.

Update media player properties

You can update properties for the media player entity as events are tracked. The updated properties will apply for the current and all following events.

window.snowplow('trackMediaSeekEnd', {
id,
player: { currentTime: 30.0 }
});

Update ad and ad break properties

When tracking ad events, you can attach information about the currently playing ad or ad break. It is only necessary to attach this information once – at the start of the ad break for ad break properties, or at the start of an ad for ad properties. The tracker will remember the information and attach it to all following ad events until the next ad complete or ad break end event.

window.snowplow('trackMediaAdStart', {
id,
ad: {
name: 'Podcast Ad', // Friendly name of the ad
adId: '1234', // Unique identifier for the ad
creativeId: '4321', // The ID of the ad creative
duration: 15, // Length of the video ad in seconds
skippable: true, // Indicating whether skip controls are made available to the end user
}
});
window.snowplow('trackMediaAdBreakStart', {
id,
adBreak: {
name: 'pre-roll', // Ad break name
breakId: '2345', // An identifier for the ad break
podSize: 2, // The number of ads to be played within the ad break
breakType: 'linear', // Type of ads within the break
}
});

Add context entities to tracked event

You can add custom context entities to tracked events. This will only apply to the currently tracked event.

window.snowplow('trackMediaPlay', {
id,
context: [
{
schema: 'iglu:org.schema/video/jsonschema/1-0-0',
data: { creativeId: '1234' }
}
]
});

Available event types

Events for controlling the playback

Ready

Tracks a media player ready event that is fired when the media tracking is successfully attached to the player and can track events.

window.snowplow('trackMediaReady', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ready_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Play

Tracks a media player play event sent when the player changes state to playing from previously being paused.

Tracking this event will automatically set the paused property in the media player entity to false.

window.snowplow('trackMediaPlay', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/play_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Pause

Tracks a media player pause event sent when the user pauses the playback.

Tracking this event will automatically set the paused property in the media player entity to true.

window.snowplow('trackMediaPause', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/pause_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

End

Tracks a media player end event sent when playback stops when end of the media is reached or because no further data is available.

Tracking this event will automatically set the ended and paused properties in the media player entity to true.

window.snowplow('trackMediaEnd', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/end_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Seek start

Tracks a media player seek start event sent when a seek operation begins.

window.snowplow('trackMediaSeekStart', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/seek_start_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Seek end

Tracks a media player seek end event sent when a seek operation completes.

window.snowplow('trackMediaSeekEnd', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/seek_end_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Events for changes in playback settings

Playback rate change

Tracks a media player playback rate change event sent when the playback rate has changed.

The event schema has two properties:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
previousRateNnumberPlayback rate before the change (1 is normal)
newRateYnumberPlayback rate after the change (1 is normal)

The previousRate is set automatically based on the last playbackRate value in the player entity. The newRate is passed when tracking the event and is automatically updated in the player entity.

window.snowplow('trackMediaPlaybackRateChange', { id, newRate: 1.5 });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/playback_rate_change_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Volume change

Tracks a media player volume change event sent when the volume has changed.

The event schema has two properties:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
previousVolumeNintegerVolume percentage before the change
newVolumeYintegerVolume percentage after the change

The previousVolume is set automatically based on the last volume value in the player entity. The newVolume is passed when tracking the event and is automatically updated in the player entity.

window.snowplow('trackMediaVolumeChange', { id, newVolume: 80 });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/volume_change_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Fullscreen change

Tracks a media player fullscreen change event fired immediately after the browser switches into or out of full-screen mode.

The event schema has one property:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
fullscreenYbooleanWhether the video element is fullscreen

The fullscreen value is passed when tracking the event and is automatically updated in the player entity.

window.snowplow('trackMediaFullscreenChange', { id, fullscreen: true });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/fullscreen_change_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Picture-in-picture change

Tracks a media player picture-in-picture change event fired immediately after the browser switches into or out of picture-in-picture mode.

The event schema has one property:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
pictureInPictureYbooleanWhether the video element is showing picture-in-picture

The pictureInPicture value is passed when tracking the event and is automatically updated in the player entity.

window.snowplow('trackMediaPictureInPictureChange', { id, pictureInPicture: true });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/picture_in_picture_change_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Events for ad events

Ad-break start

Tracks a media player ad break start event that signals the start of an ad break.

Tracking this event will increase the counter of adBreaks in the session entity.

window.snowplow('trackMediaAdBreakStart', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_break_start_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Ad-break end

Tracks a media player ad break end event that signals the end of an ad break.

window.snowplow('trackMediaAdBreakEnd', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_break_end_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Ad start

Tracks a media player ad start event that signals the start of an ad.

Tracking this event will increase the counter of ads in the session entity.

window.snowplow('trackMediaAdStart', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_start_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Ad skip

Tracks a media player ad skip event fired when the user activated a skip control to skip the ad creative.

The event schema has one optional property:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
percentProgressNintegerThe percent of the way through the ad

Tracking this event will increase the counter of adsSkipped in the session entity.

window.snowplow('trackMediaAdSkip', { id, percentProgress: 60 });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_skip_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Ad first quartile

Tracks a media player ad first quartile played event fired when a quartile of ad is reached after continuous ad playback at normal speed.

The event schema has one required property – it is set automatically to 25%:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
percentProgressYintegerThe percent of the way through the ad
window.snowplow('trackMediaAdFirstQuartile', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_quartile_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Ad midpoint

Tracks a media player ad midpoint played event fired when a midpoint of ad is reached after continuous ad playback at normal speed.

The event schema has one required property – it is set automatically to 50%:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
percentProgressYintegerThe percent of the way through the ad
window.snowplow('trackMediaAdMidpoint', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_quartile_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Ad third quartile

Tracks media player ad third quartile played event fired when a quartile of ad is reached after continuous ad playback at normal speed.

The event schema has one required property – it is set automatically to 75%:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
percentProgressYintegerThe percent of the way through the ad
window.snowplow('trackMediaAdThirdQuartile', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_quartile/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Ad complete

Tracks a media player ad complete event that signals the ad creative was played to the end at normal speed.

window.snowplow('trackMediaAdComplete', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_complete/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Ad click

Tracks a media player ad click event fired when the user clicked on the ad.

The event schema has one optional property:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
percentProgressNintegerThe percent of the way through the ad

Tracking this event will increase the counter of adsClicked in the session entity.

window.snowplow('trackMediaAdClick', { id, percentProgress: 30 });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_click_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Ad pause

Tracks a media player ad pause event fired when the user clicked the pause control and stopped the ad creative.

The event schema has one optional property:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
percentProgressNintegerThe percent of the way through the ad
window.snowplow('trackMediaAdPause', { id, percentProgress: 30 });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_pause_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Ad resume

Tracks a media player ad resume event fired when the user resumed playing the ad creative after it had been stopped or paused.

window.snowplow('trackMediaAdResume', { id, percentProgress: 30 });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/ad_resume_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Events for data quality

Buffer start

Tracks a media player buffering start event fired when the player goes into the buffering state and begins to buffer content.

The tracker will calculate the time since this event until either the buffer end event or play event or a change in playback position and add the duration to the timeBuffering property in the session entity.

window.snowplow('trackMediaBufferStart', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/buffer_start_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Buffer end

Tracks a media player buffering end event fired when the the player finishes buffering content and resumes playback.

window.snowplow('trackMediaBufferEnd', { id });

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/buffer_end_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Quality change

Tracks a media player quality change event tracked when the video playback quality changes.

The event schema has the following properties:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
previousQualityNstringQuality level before the change (e.g., 1080p)
newQualityNstringQuality level after the change (e.g., 1080p)
bitrateNintegerThe current bitrate in bits per second
framesPerSecondNintegerThe current number of frames per second
automaticNbooleanWhether the change was automatic or triggered by the user

The previousQuality is set automatically based on the last quality value in the player entity. The newQuality is passed when tracking the event and is automatically updated in the player entity.

window.snowplow('trackMediaQualityChange', {
id,
newQuality: '1080p',
bitrate: 1000,
framesPerSecond: 30,
automatic: false,
});

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/quality_change_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Error

Tracks a media player error event tracked when the resource could not be loaded due to an error.

The event schema has the following properties:

Request KeyRequiredType/FormatDescription
errorCodeNstringError-identifying code for the playback issue. E.g. E522
errorNameNstringName for the type of error that occurred in the playback. E.g. forbidden
errorDescriptionNstringLonger description for the error occurred in the playback
window.snowplow('trackMediaError', {
id,
errorCode: '500',
errorName: 'forbidden',
errorDescription: 'Failed to load media',
});

Schema: iglu:com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.media/error_event/jsonschema/1-0-0.

Custom self-describing events

You may also define your custom event schemas to address your specific needs not covered by the events above. When tracked within the context of a media tracking, the tracker will attach the player, session, ad, and ad break entities to these events.

window.snowplow('trackMediaSelfDescribingEvent', {
id,
event: {
schema: 'iglu:com.acme/event/jsonschema/1-0-0',
data: { foo: 'bar' },
},
});
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