Metrics Guide

Parse.ly's Data Pipeline starts with a standard set of metrics and events that are worth instrumenting about many kinds of content and audience.

Event Types

Parse.ly's tracking integration supports a number of standard event types out of the box, which help for measuring standard websites that include text and video content.

The type of an event is determined by the value of the action field in each event. In a standard JavaScript integration, you will see mostly pageview and heartbeat events to start out. This table lists Parse.ly's standard events and what they mean.

name description
pageview View of a URL; JavaScript tracker auto-fires this on load.
heartbeat Indicates page activity; auto-fires every few seconds.
videostart Video asset has started playing.
vheartbeat Video watching activity; auto-fires every few seconds.
custom Aside from the above reserved names, any name may be used for custom events.

Metrics

A metric is nothing more than a count, unique count, or sum of a specific or filtered events.

The metrics below are each described in terms of a SQL query one might write to calculate the metric from a table containing all the raw data.

Page Views

SELECT COUNT(action) as views
FROM parsely.rawdata
WHERE action = 'pageview';

Unique Visitors

SELECT COUNT(DISTINCT visitor_site_id) as visitors
FROM parsely.rawdata;

Unique Sessions

SELECT COUNT(DISTINCT session) as sessions
FROM (
    SELECT CONCAT(visitor_site_id, '_', session_id) as session
    FROM parsely.rawdata
);

Engaged Time

SELECT SUM(engaged_time_inc) as time_in_seconds
FROM parsely.rawdata
WHERE action = 'heartbeat';

Video Starts

SELECT COUNT(action) as videostarts
FROM parsely.rawdata
WHERE action = 'videostart';

Unique Video Viewers

SELECT COUNT(DISTINCT parsely_visitor_id) as viewers
FROM parsely.rawdata
WHERE action = 'videostart';

Video Watch Time

SELECT SUM(engaged_time_inc) as time_in_seconds
FROM parsely.rawdata
WHERE action = 'vheartbeat';

Other Actions

SELECT action, COUNT(action) as num_actions
WHERE action != 'pageview'
FROM parsely.rawdata
GROUP BY 1
ORDER BY 2 DESC;

This query will count all the event types other than pageview and sort by the ones with the highest frequency.

Channels

Channels are places where user interactions happen. The most "traditional" channel is a website or blog, but as content moves around and as systems capture offline events, channels for tracking span beyond the website itself.

Mobile Distributed Content

Parse.ly has support for Facebook Instant Articles (IA) and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), as described elsewhere in the integration docs. Raw events complying with the above event types come through as normal on these channels. AMP traffic is distinguished by a special query parameter whereas IA traffic is distinguished with a special referring URL.

Native Mobile Apps

Parse.ly has mobile SDKs for iOS and Android. At the present time, these SDKs only support the pageview event, which are expected to be registered against "URLs" in the app that correspond to pages on your site with web parity. Support for custom events in our mobile SDKs is coming soon.

Server-Side Events

Parse.ly's data collection servers are fronted by a simple HTTP GET interface, which can be called directly from websites or called server-side. Our documentation on Tracking without JavaScript describes the expected query parameters in detail.

Off-Site Social Interactions

Parse.ly's dashboard measures a number of off-site interactions, including organic social sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. These social interactions are not yet available in the Data Pipeline, but are coming soon.

Get Help

  • If you are already a Parse.ly customer, get in touch with us, and we'll be happy to walk through how events and metrics in the raw data map to Parse.ly's real-time dashboard.

  • If you are not a Parse.ly customer, we are glad to schedule a demo where we can share some of the advantages of our standard metrics and events in measuring user interactions, and how to sync that with custom events relevant to your business.

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