The vzaar analytics system is designed to offer extremely accurate play-counts, which update quickly. The system is based around JavaScript events, which are fired within the vzaar iframe.

These events are fired whenever there is a video impression (a video is loaded but not necessarily played) or played (whether by the user initiating playback or autoplay).

What do we track?


There are two cases when a play is counted:
  • Whenever the play button is pressed, to begin video playback.
  • When an autoplaying video begins playback.
These are the only two things which will cause a play to be counted.
In any other scenario a play will not be recorded. So, for instance, if a video is looping (or if the ‘replay’ button is pressed) we will not record multiple plays. Likewise, we will not record plays for downloads or other interactions. The intention here is to keep play counts as transparent as possible.
We also record another metric called ‘impressions’. These represent every time the vzaar video player is loaded onto a page. So, whenever someone requests a web page with a video embedded upon it, that’s one impression counted for the associated video.
We usually expect your impression count to be higher than your play count. It allows you to compare how many people are seeing your video on a page, against the number who are actually watching it.

The vzaar Playability Index

The problem
When comparing the number of times a video is loaded with the number of plays, we tend to find a sense of perspective helps.
Simple ways of comparing the two tend to prove problematic, when subjected to more sustained analysis. For instance, if you work out the percentage difference between the two, you encounter the following issue:
Video Impressions Plays % Plays to Impressions
A 100 40 40%
B 10,000 3500 35%
The percentage differences in this simple ranking system tell you that video A is performing better. However, it’s plain to see that video B is seeing way more traffic.
The data itself requires further analysis to really understand. In most cases, the conclusion you’d reach is that the percentages are pretty misleading. You certainly can’t just glance at them, to see how a video’s doing.
The solution
So how does the vzaar Playability Index address this issue? Well, sit tight, because this is going to get a little mathsy.
The core problem is that, in the example above, scale isn’t factored in. However, when looking at playcounts, scale is likely to be your primary concern. You want to know which video is receiving the most interest.
For your percentages to be meaningful, you’ll need some degree of weighting to take scale into account.
Naturally, there are hundreds of ways you could do this. After a lot of research we settled on the lower bound of a Wilson score confidence interval for a Bernoulli parameter. For the mathematicians out there, that looks like this:

“Here p̂ is the observed fraction of plays, zα/2 is the (1-α/2) quantile of the standard normal distribution, and n is the total number of impressions.” - source: Evan Miller, Feb. 2009 (adapted for context)
You can find a more complete explanation, along with our source for this summary, over   here at Evan Miller’s blog. If you get really into it, you may also want to check out  this Wikipedia article on binomial proportion confidence intervals (I mean if you get reeeaaaallly into it...)
Most importantly, here’s what the vzaar Playability Index gives you. The percentage difference, between a video’s impressions and play count, is weighted against the number of impressions it’s received in total. This makes the resultant number ideal for ranking your videos’ performance and getting an instant sense of how they’re doing.

Google Analytics

If you wish to have more in-depth analytics we suggest using our Google Analytics integration. This will allow you to track...

  • playerLoaded is a count of how many times the vzaar player has finished loading.
  • frameGrabLoaded is a count of how many times the poster frame (thumbnail) has loaded.
  • playbackStarted counts how many times the video/audio has started playing. Note: this will not be counted twice if a viewer resumes playback after pausing the video.
  • pause counts how many times the video has been paused.
  • resume counts how many times a viewer has resumed playing the video after pausing.
  • percent (10-100) counts how many times this proportion of the video has elapsed.
  • seekbar counts how many times the player seek bar area has been clicked.
  • seekbarhandle counts how many times the player seek bar handle has been clicked.
  • fullscreenon counts how many times the video has entered full screen mode.
  • fullscreenoff is a count of the number of times the video has exited full screen mode.
  • soundOff counts how many times the mute button has been pressed.
  • soundOn counts how many times the sound has been unmuted.
  • buffered (s) counts the amount of time the video has buffered (in seconds).

How do we Track it?


The vzaar analytics system is designed to offer extremely accurate play-counts, which update quickly. The system is based around JavaScript events, which are fired within the vzaar iframe.

These events are fired whenever there is a video impression (a video is loaded but not necessarily played) or played (whether by the user initiating playback or autoplay).

Google Analytics

While our  GA integration currently only supports Flash based video streams we do offer an HTML5 alternative. If you are using your Google Analytics account for the first time you will need to activate your account (otherwise Google Analytics will not start tracking your videos). This will not happen automatically, but it is easily done by following these simple steps:

  • First copy the tracking embed code that Google Analytics will present you with when you first make your account.
  • Embed this code onto any website. Note: it does not matter at all which website you choose to embed this code on, even if the site does not contain any of your videos. This code simply enables Google Analytics to start tracking your videos.
  • Google Analytics will now track all of the videos on your vzaar account.

Note about pre-made blogs: There are lots of pre-made blogging websites out there and it may be that the above instructions are too general for the particular site. If this is the case then you can either take a look at their help documentation (e.g. search for "How to Add Google Analytics on Blogger/ Tumblr/ Wordpress" etc.) or you can ask one of our support staff for help setting up your tracking code on a particular website.

Once your account is set up you will need to decide whether you plan to stream your videos using Flash or HTML5 and set up your GA integration accordingly.

GA - Flash

Go to your Google Analytics account and copy your web property ID or UA number from the page that holds your Tracking Code (Google Analytics calls this your Tracking ID) into the field under the Third Party tab on the vzaar Global Settings page. Click Save:

Google Analytics will now start tracking your video data, although this can take up to 24 hours to take effect. See the section entitled "vzaar Video Page on Google Analytics" below for directions to your video page on Google Analytics.


Setting up the page
First, you need to set up your Google Analytics tracking on the page which contains the embedded vzaar video, using the current Universal Analytics JavaScript tracking snippet.
You must use the default `ga` global object variable name in order for your vzaar videos to be tracked. More information about the JavaScript tracking snippet can be found on the  Google Analytics developers site.
Second, you need to include the vzaar Google Analytics enabling script. This must be embedded on the page after the GA JavaScript tracking snippet:
<script src="//" type="text/javascript"></script>

Setting up the iFrame

For each video you wish to include in your Google Analytics you will need to add the query string `?GAOn=true` to your video embed code:

That's it. Once that's done, GA events will be sent using the tracking code specified in the GA JavaScript tracking snippet.
By default, vzaar videos will send playback progress events to Google Analytics at intervals of 10% of the video duration. You can change the progress event interval percentage using the `GAProgressInterval` in your video embed code, e.g., for 5% intervals:
<iframe src="//{video_id}/player?GAOn=true&amp;GAProgressInterval=5" ...></iframe>

Google Tag Manager

It is possible to load the JS via a Google Tag Manager tag, but it has to be in the same custom HTML tag as your Universal Analytics JS.
Having the two in separate tags may cause JS timing issues but bundling them together produces page-view data as normal, while also allowing the vzaar GA integration to work. Here is a simple example:

Where to find your stats

Within vzaar

You can find   a summary of all your analytics here or by clicking on “Analytics”, on the green bar, from any page in your vzaar account.
This will take you to the following page:

It’s designed to give you an at a glance overview of everything going on in your account.
The graph on this page tracks your views and impressions over the time (see the What’s Counted section for more info). You can change the time period it displays in the top, right-hand corner of the page.
Below this you’ll find a table with a more granular breakdown of the current numbers. It show the number of plays and impressions for each video, along with the percentage difference between the two, and a  vzaar Playability Index.

Within Google Analytics

Once your account has been activated you can find your vzaar video page on Google Analytics in the following way:
Click the Behavior tab on the left-hand side of the Google Analytics page and then select the Events tab. At this point you can either click Overview (to get an Overview of your video data), Top Events and Pages. To find your video page select Top Events as shown in the screenshot below:

Now if you select Event Label you will see a list of all of the videos on your vzaar account that have been actively played or seen. These are labelled by their vzaar video ID.
Selecting a video ID from this list and clicking Event Action will give you a breakdown of all of the actions on that video:

Downloading your reports

Within vzaar

You can download your analytics from month to month in the form of a comma separated text file in your dashboard: The report can then be imported into Excel or other application of your choice for further analysis:

The column headings are mostly self-explanatory but the following may be of interest. 
bandwidth_bytes - The total amount of data we've delivered for this video during the month. Note that this figure may be higher than you expect when simply multiplying plays by encoded file size:
  • Because, when we deliver a video to your viewer, we don't just deliver the video data itself. We have to also deliver the video player and the poster frame (so that we have something to show your viewer before playback begins). Those assets are relatively small (e.g. the player is ~200K) but it does multiply and it is a factor
  • Because of browser preloading. Even just loading the player preloads a small amount of video data. There is an HTML attribute we can use to tell the browser how much data to download. You can read the background in this article: HTML5 Video Preload I don't expect you to read the whole thing so here's the important part. We use the `preload='metadata'` attribute value to tell the browser to not pre-load any video itself, just the metadata (dimensions, first frame, duration, and so on).

    You'll see from that article that many modern browsers (including the most popular browsers Chrome and IE, ignore the value and download video data anyway. We have absolutely no control over this behavior. You'll further see form that article that the amount of video preloaded varies across the major desktop browsers and browsers tend to preload too much by default.
  • Because of CDN propagation. Propagation is when we send your video out to caching servers in our CDN so that, when your viewers go to play them, the videos will load much faster regardless of where they are in the world. Again, like the player itself and the poster frame, CDN propagation tends to account for a (relatively) small amount of bandwidth but, when multiplied across many videos, it is a factor. It's also, because of it's nature, more of a factor early on as propagation happens when you initially upload your videos.of 

deleted - We keep data on your videos even after they are deleted so they are included in the report. You may care to simply sort the sheet data by that column and delete all rows with "Deleted" in the `deleted` column.

CFRs - these are " CDN file requests". Simply put, we used to measure a play anytime there was a request to the CDN for the underlying video file. But, we found that many modern mobile clients might make multiple requests for the same video file for a single user during a single view. For that reason, we recently completely re-engineered our approach to gathering analytics to produce numbers which more accurately mapped on to end-user viewer behavior. It's a complex and subtle issue and you can read more background here: Dev Chat: The Next Generation Of Video Analytics

We give you the option to include some extra data in your downloadable report:

As stated above, impressions and plays are only captured when our player is embedded using the vzaar iframe. The last three options here allow you to see video activity which occurs outside the iframe:

Include Download Counts: counts video downloads initiated via the  /download URL download or via the in-player, social sharing button.

Include Non-iframe Embed Video Requests: counts videos accessed via the  /video URL. This would be typical if you're using a third-party player or you're playing back video on a mobile device using native media classes.

Include Podcast Play Counts: counts plays which result from use of the vzaar  Podcast feature.

Within Google Analytics

It is possible to create custom reports using the Custom Reporting tab on Google Analytics to show, for example, the number of plays for each video in a given date range. Google Analytics supports two types of report: an Explorer style report and a Flat Table report. The screenshot below shows an example of a Flat Table report:

The report in the above example is a list of vzaar video ID numbers and the number of times they have been played in the selected date range. Here a filter has been used to select only those video actions with the name "playbackStarted" but the other event actions can be filtered similarly. Filters can be used in conjunction with regular expressions to obtain more selective reports, as shown below:

These reports can be exported in a variety of formats, including PDF and CSV.
For more information about Custom Reporting, visit the   Google Analytics help pages.

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