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Combining APM and RUM to Improve Your User Experience

By: Gauravs Sharma
  |  March 14, 2024
Combining APM and RUM to Improve Your User Experience

Providing an intuitive user experience that caters to your audience’s needs is essential for your business. By combining APM and RUM, you can help eliminate application issues and give your users a seamless experience.

Combining APM and RUM helps you look at both the front-end and back-end of your application, find and fix issues. Don’t quite know what APM and RUM are? Let’s take a closer look.

What are APM and RUM?

Application Performance Monitoring or APM tools help businesses monitor, manage and optimize their software applications. APM looks at the server-side of things or the back end.

Real User Monitoring, on the other hand, monitors software applications’ real-time use. It focuses on the client or user side of things by looking at the user’s location, what device or browser they are using and how they interact with your software.

Combining APM and RUM helps you get a 360-degree view of how your application is performing and how you can improve the user experience. Let’s find out some more benefits of combining APM and RUM for your business.

How Combining APM and RUM Helps Your Business

When you combine RUM and APM, you can gather data that helps you optimize critical areas of the user’s experience, giving them a great end-to-end experience.

Here are four ways you can do this:

1. Create Relevant Content for Your Audience

With the help of RUM, you can accurately map out your user journeys. You have access to their click path, the pages they interact with the most and what devices they use to access the application.

Here is an example of a RUM dashboard from Retrace.

Your marketing team can use this data to create personalized content based on user behavior.

For instance, you may notice that many users visited your site and opened the pricing page but never went past that page.

It would be a great time to send personalized communication using contact management tools like ZoomInfo. A great piece of content would be a case study that shows how a client had reservations about the price of your service but later used it and got great results.

You may also notice features that users don’t use often from APM and RUM data. This could indicate that they don’t know about these features. A product demo video that shows how to use the features may help them learn about it.

You’re probably thinking, ‘Google Analytics already does this for my team.’ And you’re right; Google Analytics is a simplified version of a RUM. Like other RUM tools, it also shows you user-side data, as seen in the screenshot below.

However, Google Analytics primarily focus on SEO and marketing. 

Therefore, while you would know which web pages a user visited and where they are located, you wouldn’t know why users in Asia had a delayed response time. You also would not be able to diagnose problems that emerge from the back end, which requires an APM tool.

A proper diagnosis of issues and their root cause is essential to provide a great user experience. And you can only make this diagnosis by combining APM and RUM.

2. Fix Bottlenecks and Resolve Issues

When your audience visits your website or software application, the last thing you want is for them to leave because they can’t complete a task.

Let’s look at a few scenarios where issues often pop up for users when interacting with software. Your user may:

  • Want to purchase a product from your ecommerce store, but they can’t add it to their cart
  • Be unable to log in to your app
  • Try to visit your website using a link or by scanning a QR code but are met with the annoying 404 error message

These issues may be hard to detect without a tool to help you and your DevOps team. Sometimes users may report them, but when reported, you still need to diagnose the cause of the problems. More often, users will just go to the next best provider. That’s when APM and RUM tools come in handy.

A good RUM tool will generate reports and show you whether the problems are on the user side or your server side. Perhaps multiple people from a specific area are facing a similar problem? RUM will help you work towards finding a solution to this problem.

If the user side seems okay, it could be a backend problem. In this case, your APM tool may have already picked it up and sent you an alert. This makes it much easier to get to the root cause of the problem.

Without these tools, all you would have to go by are incident reports, which could take your team days to figure out the actual problem and how to fix it.

The combined power of APM and RUM makes it easier to quickly fix any bugs, errors or crashes, giving your applications the best shot at delivering a great user experience.

3. Maintain Consistency 

Consistency is key to delivering a great user experience. Your applications must continually provide quick responsiveness over time to keep users engaged. By optimizing application performance, you have a better chance of maintaining this consistency.

You also need to provide a unified and consistent experience across different devices, browsers and geographical locations. The unified experience also needs to be maintained over time, which means you need to be constantly updated on the user experience. Combining APM and RUM tools helps you monitor how different aspects of your applications work over time and quickly fix issues as they arise. 

For instance, common issues appear when plugins you have on your websites are updated. You could find that updates caused your lead generation software solution to load slowly on some devices.

A different lead generation software solution or changes to your plugin may be needed. 

4. Plan for Potential Increases in Demand

Lastly, planning for growth is imperative to delivering an improved user experience. Can your applications handle increased demand? Would a significant increase in the number of visitors lead to a crash?

Let’s go back to the ecommerce example and imagine you have created a live shopping experience with the live shoppable videos. And on one of the live shows, there are so many users that the site stops working. That would be a disaster for your brand and sales!

But a good APM tool lets you avoid such cases. You would be informed if there was a need for more disk space before such a disaster occurred.

Such APM capabilities work great together with RUM’s ability to show you aggregated or per user data.

Ready to Combine RUM and APM to Improve User Experience?

Keep your web app well-monitored and optimized with the help of both RUM and APM. You don’t need to invest in two different software applications to get the benefits of combining RUM and APM.

Applications such as Retrace include both APM and RUM capabilities, making it easy for you to combine the two features and give your users a fully optimized experience.

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