About media user events

This page describes user events for media apps, including user event types, requirements, and examples for user event types.

Recording user events is required for media recommendations apps. Media recommendations apps use real-time user events to generate recommendations. Other app types don't require user events.

The following table lists which app types to upload user events for:

App type User events required?
Media recommendations Yes
Media search (Preview with allowlist) No, but recommended
Generic recommendations No
Generic search No

For help with recording user events, see Record real-time user events.

User event types

You can record the following types of user events as end users browse your site:

User event name User action
view-category-page Views a category page, such as Home > TV > Dramas, Home > Movies > Action.
view-item Views a detail page of a document.
view-home-page Views homepage.
media-play Clicks play on a media item.
media-complete Stops playing a media item, signifying the end of watching.

For detailed information about the UserEvent object, see the UserEvent API reference.

Event type priority

The following table describes the priority of user event types. Some user events are required to use media recommendations. Others are recommended for improving your results, but not required.

Priority User Events
Required for initial live experiment

view-item

view-home-page

media-play

media-complete

Important for improving media recommendations result quality over time

view-category-page

User event requirements and best practices

The following tables list requirements and best practices for user event types that media recommendations apps use. Check that your user events fulfill these requirements so that your app can generate quality results.

Also see About media app recommendations types, which lists the types of user events needed depending on the recommendation type and optimization objective you plan to use.

Media recommendations requirements

Make sure your user events meet the following requirements so that your media recommendations apps can generate quality results.

Event type Requirement Impact
All events

Don't include synthetic data or duplicate events.

Synthetic or duplicate events negatively impact result quality and can prevent you from deploying your app. Duplicate events can cause incorrect metrics values.

Include at least 100 unique user pseudo IDs for each type of event ingested.

This ensures media recommendations apps have enough data to generate quality results.

User pseudo IDs must be formatted exactly the same across event import or event recording and in media recommendations requests.

Using a consistent format for user pseudo IDs helps media recommendations apps correctly identify visitor patterns and provide better-quality results based on user behavior.

The DocumentInfo.name field or the DocumentInfo.id field is required for all documents.

An event that includes a document without a DocumentInfo.name field or a DocumentInfo.id field can't be used by media recommendations apps.

Documents included in the events should exist in your data store.

The unjoined events ratio should be kept as low as possible. A high ratio can negatively impact the quality of results.

Some user events should have the same user pseudo ID.

To construct valid behavior sequence histories, media recommendations apps must be able to see multiple events with the same user pseudo ID.

For example, visitor123 has viewed five items and clicked play on two. If these events provide the same consistently formatted user pseudo ID, a media recommendations app can consider that behavior sequence in its results.

view-item

Include exactly one document per event.

The event can't be used if no document exists. If multiple documents are included, the event is malformed and can't be used.

media-play

Include exactly one document per event.

If multiple documents are included, the event is malformed and can't be used.

User event type examples and schemas

This section provides the data formats for each event type supported by media recommendations.

Examples for JavaScript Pixel are provided. For BigQuery, the full table schema for each type is provided.

For all user events types, userId is optional.

Note that:

  • The tagIds field is needed only if you are running an A/B experiment.
  • The attributionToken field is optional; it is used to measure performance. view-item events that are generated from media recommendations clicks should have an attribution token in order to link the events back to the recommendations that generated them.

For more details about the user event object, see the UserEvent API reference documentation.

view-category-page

The following shows the view-category-page user event format.

Minimum required view-category-page object

The following examples show only the required fields of the view-category-page user event format.

While there is usually only one category associated with a page, the pageCategories field also supports a category hierarchy, which you can provide as a list.

When you import events, you must provide the timestamp in the eventTime field in the format specified by RFC 3339.

Other fields might be required depending on the API method used or if additional fields are used. For full details of each field and when they are required, see the UserEvent API reference.

JavaScript Pixel

var user_event = {
  "eventType": "view-category-page",
  "userPseudoId": "user-pseudo-id",
  "eventTime": "2020-01-01T03:33:33.000001Z",
  "pageInfo": {
    "pageCategory": "category1 > category2"
  }
};

BigQuery

This is the complete JSON schema for this user event type. Specify this schema when creating tables for this user event type in BigQuery.

Modes for required fields are set to REQUIRED or REPEATED. Modes for optional fields are set to NULLABLE.

Note that eventTime is required for importing events with BigQuery. eventTime is a string with a Timestamp format.

[
  {
    "name": "eventType",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "userPseudoId",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "eventTime",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "userInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "userId",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "userAgent",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "pageInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "pageviewId",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "pageCategory",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "uri",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "referrerUri",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "attributionToken",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "NULLABLE"
  },
  {
    "name": "documents",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "REPEATED",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "id",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "tagIds",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REPEATED"
  },
  {
    "name": "attributes",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "example_text_attribute",
        "type": "RECORD",
        "mode": "NULLABLE",
        "fields": [
          {
            "name": "text",
            "type": "STRING",
            "mode": "REPEATED"
          }
        ]
      },
      {
        "name": "example_number_attribute",
        "type": "RECORD",
        "mode": "NULLABLE",
        "fields": [
          {
            "name": "numbers",
            "type": "NUMERIC",
            "mode": "REPEATED"
          }
        ]
      }
    ]
  }
]

view-item

The following shows the view-item user event data format.

Minimum required view-item object

The following examples show only the required fields of the view-item user event format.

In most cases, documents contains details for the associated document.

When you import events, you must provide the timestamp in the eventTime field in the format specified by RFC 3339.

Other fields might be required depending on the API method used or if additional fields are used. For full details of each field and when they are required, see the UserEvent API reference.

JavaScript Pixel

var user_event = {
  "eventType": "view-item",
  "userPseudoId": "user-pseudo-id",
  "eventTime": "2020-01-01T03:33:33.000001Z",
  "documents": [{
    "id": "document-id"
  }]
};

BigQuery

This is the complete JSON schema for this user event type. Specify this schema when creating tables for this user event type in BigQuery.

Modes for required fields are set to REQUIRED or REPEATED. Modes for optional fields are set to NULLABLE.

Note that eventTime is required for importing events with BigQuery. eventTime is a string with a Timestamp format.

[
  {
    "name": "eventType",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "userPseudoId",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "eventTime",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "userInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "userId",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "userAgent",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "pageInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "pageviewId",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "uri",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "referrerUri",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "attributionToken",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "NULLABLE"
  },
  {
    "name": "documents",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "REPEATED",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "id",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "tagIds",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REPEATED"
  },
  {
    "name": "attributes",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "example_text_attribute",
        "type": "RECORD",
        "mode": "NULLABLE",
        "fields": [
          {
            "name": "text",
            "type": "STRING",
            "mode": "REPEATED"
          }
        ]
      },
      {
        "name": "example_number_attribute",
        "type": "RECORD",
        "mode": "NULLABLE",
        "fields": [
          {
            "name": "numbers",
            "type": "NUMERIC",
            "mode": "REPEATED"
          }
        ]
      }
    ]
  }
]

view-home-page

The following shows the view-home-page user event format.

Minimum required view-home-page object

The following examples show only the required fields of the view-home-page user event format.

When you import events, you must provide the timestamp in the eventTime field in the format specified by RFC 3339.

Other fields might be required depending on the API method used or if additional fields are used. For full details of each field and when they are required, see the UserEvent API reference.

JavaScript Pixel

var user_event = {
  "eventType": "view-home-page",
  "userPseudoId": "user-pseudo-id",
  "eventTime": "2020-01-01T03:33:33.000001Z",
};

BigQuery

This is the complete JSON schema for this user event type. Specify this schema when creating tables for this user event type in BigQuery.

Modes for required fields are set to REQUIRED or REPEATED. Modes for optional fields are set to NULLABLE.

Note that eventTime is required for importing events with BigQuery. eventTime is a string with a Timestamp format.

[
  {
    "name": "eventType",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "userPseudoId",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "eventTime",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "userInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "userId",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "userAgent",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "pageInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "pageviewId",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "uri",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "referrerUri",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "attributionToken",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "NULLABLE"
  },
  {
    "name": "documents",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "REPEATED",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "id",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "quantity",
        "type": "INT64",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "tagIds",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REPEATED"
  },
  {
    "name": "attributes",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "example_text_attribute",
        "type": "RECORD",
        "mode": "NULLABLE",
        "fields": [
          {
            "name": "text",
            "type": "STRING",
            "mode": "REPEATED"
          }
        ]
      },
      {
        "name": "example_number_attribute",
        "type": "RECORD",
        "mode": "NULLABLE",
        "fields": [
          {
            "name": "numbers",
            "type": "NUMERIC",
            "mode": "REPEATED"
          }
        ]
      }
    ]
  }
]

media-play

The following shows the media-play user event format.

Minimum required media-play object

The following examples show only the required fields of the media-play user event format.

When you import events, you must provide the timestamp in the eventTime field in the format specified by RFC 3339.

Other fields might be required depending on the API method used or if additional fields are used. For full details of each field and when they are required, see the UserEvent API reference.

JavaScript Pixel

var user_event = {
  "eventType": "media-play",
  "userPseudoId": "user-pseudo-id",
  "eventTime": "2020-01-01T03:33:33.000001Z",
  "documents": [
    {
      "id": "document-id1"
    }
  ]
};

BigQuery

This is the complete JSON schema for this user event type. Specify this schema when creating tables for this user event type in BigQuery.

Modes for required fields are set to REQUIRED or REPEATED. Modes for optional fields are set to NULLABLE.

Note that eventTime is required for importing events with BigQuery. eventTime is a string with a Timestamp format.

[
  {
    "name": "eventType",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "userPseudoId",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "eventTime",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "userInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "userId",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "userAgent",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "pageInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "pageviewId",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "uri",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "referrerUri",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "attributionToken",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "NULLABLE"
  },
  {
    "name": "documents",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "REPEATED",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "id",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "tagIds",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REPEATED"
  },
  {
    "name": "attributes",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "example_text_attribute",
        "type": "RECORD",
        "mode": "NULLABLE",
        "fields": [
          {
            "name": "text",
            "type": "STRING",
            "mode": "REPEATED"
          }
        ]
      },
      {
        "name": "example_number_attribute",
        "type": "RECORD",
        "mode": "NULLABLE",
        "fields": [
          {
            "name": "numbers",
            "type": "NUMERIC",
            "mode": "REPEATED"
          }
        ]
      }
    ]
  }
]

media-complete

The following shows the media-complete user event format.

Minimum required media-complete object

The following examples show only the required fields of the media-complete user event format.

When you import events, you must provide the timestamp in the eventTime field in the format specified by RFC 3339.

Other fields might be required depending on the API method used or if additional fields are used. For full details of each field and when they are required, see the UserEvent API reference.

JavaScript Pixel

var user_event = {
  "eventType": "media-complete",
  "userPseudoId": "user-pseudo-id",
  "eventTime": "2020-01-01T03:33:33.000001Z",
  "documents": [
    {
      "id": "document-id1"
    }
  ],
  "mediaInfo": {
    "mediaProgressDuration": "65s",
    "mediaProgressPercentage": 1.2
  }
};

BigQuery

This is the complete JSON schema for this user event type. Specify this schema when creating tables for this user event type in BigQuery.

Modes for required fields are set to REQUIRED or REPEATED. Modes for optional fields are set to NULLABLE.

Note that eventTime is required for importing events with BigQuery. eventTime is a string with a Timestamp format.

[
  {
    "name": "eventType",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "userPseudoId",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "eventTime",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REQUIRED"
  },
  {
    "name": "userInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "userId",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "userAgent",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "pageInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "pageviewId",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "uri",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "referrerUri",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "attributionToken",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "NULLABLE"
  },
  {
    "name": "documents",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "REPEATED",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "id",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "tagIds",
    "type": "STRING",
    "mode": "REPEATED"
  },
  {
    "name": "attributes",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "example_text_attribute",
        "type": "RECORD",
        "mode": "NULLABLE",
        "fields": [
          {
            "name": "text",
            "type": "STRING",
            "mode": "REPEATED"
          }
        ]
      },
      {
        "name": "example_number_attribute",
        "type": "RECORD",
        "mode": "NULLABLE",
        "fields": [
          {
            "name": "numbers",
            "type": "NUMERIC",
            "mode": "REPEATED"
          }
        ]
      }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name": "mediaInfo",
    "type": "RECORD",
    "mode": "NULLABLE",
    "fields": [
      {
        "name": "mediaProgressDuration",
        "type": "STRING",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      },
      {
        "name": "mediaProgressPercentage",
        "type": "NUMERIC",
        "mode": "NULLABLE"
      }
    ]
  }
]

Custom attributes

You can include additional custom attributes and features for user events. This can result in improved, more specific recommendations for your users when you use media recommendations. To add custom attributes, use attributes when you record a user event.

If you provide custom attributes for ingested user events, it's important to also include them in the user events that you associate with recommendation requests. The formatting of custom attributes must be consistent between imported events and events provided with recommendation requests. This lets media recommendations apps use those custom attributes to improve quality.

You can provide custom text values by using the text field or custom numerical values by using the numbers field.

For example, the following shows the attributes section from a request to record a user event:

  attributes: {
    user_age: {text: ["teen", "young adult"]},
    user_location: {text: ["CA"]},
    user_zip: {numbers: [90210]}
  }

About user information

userPseudoId represents the unique user identifier and is required when you record a user event.

The user information (UserInfo) included when you record a user event contains the userPseudoId value and, if available, the userId value. userId is optional and can be used as a unique, persistent identifier for a user across devices whenever a user logs in to your site. When you record the userId for a user, media recommendations apps can generate more personalized results for one user across multiple devices, such as both a mobile device and a web browser.

About the timestamp

When you record a user event, be sure to include an accurate timestamp of when the event occurred. Accurate timestamps ensure that your events are stored in the correct order. Timestamps are recorded automatically for events collected using the JavaScript Pixel. When you import events, you must provide the timestamp in the eventTime field in the format specified by RFC 3339.

What's next