Real User Monitoring – Definition, Benefits & 5 Best Practices

Gaurav Sharma Developer Tips, Tricks & Resources

What is Real User Monitoring (RUM), and how does it help developers improve their applications? Real User Monitoring is a technology that analyzes the user experience on your web apps.

Tracking how visitors interact with your pages, RUM tools capture how fast your pages load, your app’s responsiveness and its functionality. Compiled statistics help you gauge your users’ level of satisfaction with your web app. Plus, measuring app performance from your users’ perspective provides insights into fixing problems users may face.

Real User Monitoring tools are therefore crucial for web developers. Let’s take a deeper look into the definition, importance and best practices for Real User Monitoring.


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What is Real User Monitoring?

Real User Monitoring is a web performance monitoring technique that passively collects data and reports about the user experience. People sometimes refer to Real User Monitoring as end-user experience monitoring, real user measurement or digital experience monitoring. Here’s one practical example of how you might leverage the technology.

Say you want to grow your eCommerce sales, but too many users aren’t completing their purchases. RUM tools track the click path of users and identify issues. Armed with detailed insights into the customer journey, you can fix problems within your application.

The problem may be with the product page and the way your product is introduced. You could try creating explainer videos using Premiere Pro templates to help users better understand your product and drive more purchases.

Real User Monitoring provides a detailed end-analysis and reports that help you monitor your application and pinpoint unusual occurrences.

Why is Real User Monitoring Important?

It’s important to have a Real User Monitoring tool to stay ahead of your web app’s potential malfunctions.

A basic version of such tools would be Google Analytics. It provides important information about your web app, such as user location, click path, views, browser type, page speed and load time.

However, with specialized RUM functionality like Retrace has, you’ll do more than just these functions. Retrace RUM enables you to narrow your analysis down to a single user’s experience and track specific metrics. This way, you’ll view your application exactly how your user sees it and monitor it based on their experience.

Real User Monitoring functions make it easier to identify issues and keep your app healthy. Let’s take a look at the components that make RUM functions possible.

RUM gathers important statistics that help you improve the user experience with your applications.

How Does Real User Monitoring Work?

Real User Monitoring examines user experience through these components.

Capturing is an application monitoring system that collects RUM data from different sources. Application monitoring systems record details such as JSON and requests for pages. Even if the content sought is hosted on another web application, they record resources from web browsers to distant servers. JavaScript, for example, only collects data from web browsers, passive network taps, load balancers and server logs.

Sessionization is the process of storing and reassembling the data captured above in a database. The database contains information about each users’ individual visits organized and grouped by timing, duration, pages, page components and more.

Problem Detection carefully examines these pages, visits and objects for any errors and unusual occurrences. Any delays, errors and malfunctions are analyzed for all these objects, visits and pages.

Visit Reports are individual visits recreated for examination by the tech team using RUM. How these recreations appear depends on the RUM solution you use. Some can accurately recreate the user visit exactly as it appeared on their browser, while others provide just a summarized overview. Technicians can analyze user journeys as needed, using these recreations.

Overall Reporting is the RUM component that enables you to view and analyze data in aggregates. For instance, the performance of a web-based transcription app can be checked on different browsers. The data can be viewed in aggregates to analyze any potential issues across the different browser types and categories.

Alerts are basically the warning mechanism that notifies developers when issues are detected. This component of RUM constantly scans the app and is therefore likely to pick up on any anomalies on time. Alerts can be customized, so IT teams can resolve issues promptly when serious problems are detected.

Best Practices for Real User Monitoring

Here are 5 best practices for successful Real User Monitoring.

1. Check New Feature Performance

Applications are dynamic, going through updates all the time to keep up with growing customer needs and technology advances. The ability of these changes to meet user expectations is one crucial aspect businesses focus on.

Therefore, it’s useful that the developer tests the new feature first before users experience them. With Real User Monitoring, you can further fix bugs and any other problems during this testing phase to improve your clients’ experience.

2. Share Data Across Teams, Especially Marketing

Data collected through Real User Monitoring benefits not only technicians and the development team. You can also share useful data across other teams.

Marketing, for one, benefits significantly from RUM data. User experience insights are crucial for launching successful marketing campaigns. Faster loading speeds normally improve the user experience and lead generation programs.

3. Improve Testing Strategy

Real User Monitoring data can impact your testing strategy dramatically.

For instance, when you’re testing your app on mobile devices, RUM data is extremely helpful in quality assessment. Real User Monitoring provides a deeper look into specific functionalities, giving developers actionable insight into the mobile user interface. Developers can also optimize applications for mobile devices and PCs alike during their testing stages.

4. Align Web App Performance to Your Business

Your web app’s performance can help you understand how your business is growing. Data from RUM tools, such as load time, directly link business performance to your website.

For instance, load time can affect your conversions and revenue. By assessing your business objectives, you’ll know how much revenues increase from optimizing your application’s speed. Quite often, improving your user experience on your pages will also improve your overall business performance.

5. Data for RevOps

You can improve RevOps performance leveraging data captured by your RUM tool. Here’s how. Your sales, marketing and service teams all have interactions with your customers, many of which are online. Leveraging RUM, you can optimize digital processes at each point of customer interactions.

Therefore, with data from Real User Monitoring, you can further improve the user experience and make each interaction more efficient. This results in faster, seamless operations, and ultimately more revenue.

Get Your Real User Monitoring Solution

Your web app needs to stay healthy all the time and Real User Monitoring alerts you of malfunctions in real-time. Not only does this help with your operations, but it enhances your marketing efforts too. With specialized RUM in solutions such as Retrace full lifecycle APM, you can monitor your user experience, analyze data and optimize each user experience with your company. Hopefully, this article helps you see just how important RUM can be to the overall performance of businesses.

About Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma is the founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. An entrepreneur and writer, Sharma has been published in top publications, including HuffPost, Adweek, Business 2 Community, TechCrunch and others.