Tracking Brightcove Analytics With GTM via The Data Layer

I recently discovered that while Brightcove has a lot of documentation available for a wide variety of topics, they don’t really dig into limitations of each topic or the specifics in terms of how to really get them working.

They do have a default connection to Google Analytics BUT it’s all done via API so you don’t have a lot of room to customize how you organize or collect your data. In this case, I wanted to capture some custom dimensions tied to taxonomies used on the site. I had our engineering team push those dimensions and values into the data layer to capture but there were no available events to use for triggers and no easy way to force those custom values from WordPress into the API sends heading to Google Analytics.

The good news is that there is a Google Tag Manager plugin for Brightcove. The bad news is that the documentation doesn’t seem to be very comprehensive in terms of

  1. Being updated/accurate in terms of the configuration process.
  2. Really explaining what the plugin itself does.

The Plugin Does Not

  • Create variables, triggers or tags in GTM.
  • Connect to existing variables, triggers or tags in GTM.

The Plugin Does

  • Allow you to choose what Brightcove Analytics events or values you want to push to the data layer.
  • Nest those values in a customDimensions container.
Screen Shot

Other things worth calling out before you start on this:

  • Brightcove documentation for the GTM plugin provides you with an “Automated” and a “Manual” way to configure it. I found that the automated way is more time consuming and I also hit a wall with getting the script to run because it required Google review and “may take up to three days”. I waited the three days and was never able to run the script so I ended up just using the manual configuration that ended up being simple edits to a JSON file that just lives in the Brightcove player.
  • The values that are served up from Brightcove live within a container and to access them you just need to use CSS targeting. h/t to Simo Ahava for answering this for me in the Facebook Google Tag Manager Community.
Screen Shot

Once you have the dimensions and events you need in the data layer it’s a pretty standard setup with GTM. Hopefully, you can use this as a shortcut to getting video analytics in place without breaking a sweat.