Streaming & Video-on-Demand Analytics
About Hot Go
- Hot Go is the online video platform that the main adult content brands (Playboy TV, Venus, Penthouse, Sextreme and Brazzers) decided to create for their clients in Latin America
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Users are given access to Hot Go’s video platform when subscribing to an adult channel plan with their cable television providers. Several of the company’s departments wanted to be able to see in real time how many users were logged in by cable operator. Since Google Analytics only has a few dimensions that can be seen in real time by default (Country, Medium, Source, Page, Page Title, Event Category, Event Action and Goal Name), fulfilling the client’s request seemed impossible at first.
We hardly ever give ‘no’ as an answer, and if presented with difficult tasks we will always go to great lengths to accomplish the desired results. We are hackers at our hearts and feel greatly motivated by seemingly impossible technical feats. After doing some deep research and trying out a few things, we found a very simple yet effective way to achieve special data real time monitoring.
First, we created a custom dimension in GA for the cable operator and helped the client – by working directly with their Software Development department – to implement the required counterpart in their site using the Data Layer. Then, we had to incorporate that custom dimension to the pageview hit. It is important to note that since our initial GA implementation included setting up everything to collect and view according to User ID, we also included this piece of data as a custom dimension (for consistency and error checking) as well as a User Type dimension which allowed us to track user privileges as per the client’s request. Finally, the trick was to create a filter to replace the original source value for the cable TV provider one. Thereby, all of Hot Go’s divisions were able to see this key breakdown of information in real time (Fig. 1).
Figure 1. Real time user monitoring according to cable operator.
With the public release of the platform, it was crucial for both the developers and sales teams to monitor real time cable TV providers information among other data so as to detect possible errors and bugs. Since each user has to sign in through their operators backend, it was critical to ensure that there were no authentication problems with any provider given that users pay for the service. The real time solution let developers quickly validate some changes introduced in the platform were bug-free.
The fact that hotgo.tv is solely a video content platform posed other problems that had to be dealt with. One of the first things we realized was that some of the standard GA measurements could turn out to be totally wrong in a site of this nature: visitors can spend a lot of time in a specific video page. Unless we took careful action, we faced the following risks:
Users spending more than 30 minutes in a page mistakenly having their GA session ended while they are still on the website.
Users that watched a video and then closed the browser would get 0 seconds as their time on page on that exit page.
To stop these problems from happening we decided to implement a ‘ping solution’ that would send an event to GA every minute so as to keep the session alive and with background interaction (Fig. 2).
Figure 14: Ping event implementation in GTM to keep sessions alive.
The client needs to regularly report on general user activity to cable TV providers as well as to the media partners that are part of the project. In this respect, an adequate measurement infrastructure is fundamental to the provision of all of the information that has to be distributed across different in-company channels or delivered to third-party stakeholders.
Furthermore, the aforementioned implementation of User ID data has allowed the client to have a more holistic understanding of real users’ behaviour across all of their devices, enabling a more comprehensive overview of the signed-in experience and video content engagement.
Both of these aspects are enormously valuable for the client and its partners as they allow them to evaluate video content generation and targeting more accurately, leading them to smarter business decisions and better contract negotiations with their providers.