The Art of Analytics: Mobile vs. Desktop Tracking In New COVE Player

By Dan Haggerty, PBS Digital Analyst

This blog post is only relevant to stations who have implemented the Google Analytics Event-Tracking feature of their COVE portal. If you haven't implemented this powerful feature of COVE, we highly recommended you contact your SPI representative for details.

One of the most valuable features of COVE is the advanced analytics it provides about your videos. With very little setup, the system can track an immense amount of data about video streaming and report it to Google Analytics for you.

For a refresher on what Event-Tracking is and how COVE uses this feature, see our Guide to COVE Video Event-Tracking.

With the launch of the new video portal, accessing this data will get a little bit easier. 

One of the many things COVE tracks is the number of streams occurring in each player type. This lets you see the number of streams for a video in the portal vs. the number of streams in the COVE Viral Player.

Up till now, there was one category for streams by users visiting the desktop video portal ("Video - Portal), and one category for streams in the mobile web video portal ("Video - Mobile Web Portal").

The separate categories made sense because the two portals were very much different experiences, with all desktop users being sent to the desktop version and mobile users being sent to the mobile version.

With the roll-out of the new responsive COVE video portal, though, the website is the same for desktop and mobile users. It is the same experience no matter how you access the site. So it made sense that we would also consolidate the streaming totals.

Previously, video events for the Desktop video portal were reported in to an event-category titled "Video - Portal," and events for the Mobile Web portal were reported in to an event-category titled "Video - Mobile Web Portal". Beginning this past Monday, August 5th, all video events were consolidated in to the "Video - Portal" event category, regardless of whether or not they happened on a desktop or mobile device.

If you are monitoring the number of streams in COVE (MediaStart event actions), you will notice the streams for the "Video - Mobile Web Portal" category declining (eventually going to 0), and a slight increase in the number of streams in the "Video - Portal" category.

So the first thing that gets easier is your ability to pull total streams for your desktop and mobile web portals. No need to do the math to add streams from the "Video - Mobile Web Portal" category with the streams in the "Video - Portal" category. They are now added together for you in the single "Video - Portal" Event Category. Awesome!

Of course, we wouldn't leave you without the ability to still see which segment your audience streamed content: mobile vs. desktop. There is just a new way for you to access that information. 

So, to recap, the "Video - Mobile Web Portal" event category is going away. It will be consolidated under the "Video - Portal" Event Category and you will now use "Advanced Segments" in Google Analytics to determine what portion of those streams happened on a mobile device.
We hope this helps you access your streaming totals more quickly and gain the insight you need.