Google, in its Analytics Blog, just showed a way to begin tracking user interaction via their Analytics web metrics program.
While there have been homemade systems in the past to accomplish this, Google just now developed, with some third party help including Adobe, and displayed some new ways to do it at the Adobe Developer's Conference.
Matthew McNeely, VP of Engineering at Sprout, showed how they had begun to implement Google Analytics tracking on certain pieces of Flash they have on a model site for the singer Pink. Sprout helps advertisers design rich media content and Matthew showed how Sprout has used the code to track distributed content across MySpace.
The tracking libraries are available for both Flash and Flex and support the following:
- Flash visual component
- Flash AS3 library
- Flex MXML component
- Flex AS3 library
For the documentation on how to use it head over to the developer docs. The full code is being made available as open source under the Apache 2 License for the entire AS3 (ActionScript 3) API code base.
The project page can be found here http://code.google.com/p/gaforflash/
Here's the video where they talk about it and show off some of the code:
The full story can be seen at the Analytics BlogSpot.
What does this mean for online video?
Well anyone with a flash player or flash site with video can now start tracking how much time viewers spend looking at the content, certain types of interaction and more. This will definitely be a benefit when you are attempting to decide if you have the proper creative content on your site which makes users interact or converts them into customers, etc. More information is always good and this certainly looks like it will be beneficial in the long run.