Unlike aggregate web analytics services such as Google Analytics, Real-time User Monitoring (RUM) data provides much more granular insight into how users interact with your website or application. In this article, we will explore what RUM is, the benefits of using RUM tools, and some of the most popular RUM tools available.
What is Real-time User Monitoring?
RUM is a technique used to collect and analyze data on how users interact with websites or applications in real-time. This is done by collecting and analyzing data on the front-end performance of the website or application. RUM data is much more granular than what the aggregate web analytics services like Google Analytics provide.
With RUM data, businesses can gain insight into individual user behavior, such as page load times, interactions with specific elements on a page, and any errors or problems that users experience.
Insights from RUM Data
RUM data provides businesses with a wealth of information that can help them improve the user experience on their website or application. Some of the insights that businesses can gain from RUM data include:
- Identify and diagnose front-end performance problems impacting your users: RUM data can help businesses pinpoint performance issues that are causing frustration for users, such as slow page load times, errors, or broken links.
- Measure the impact of optimizations and changes you have made: RUM data can help businesses measure the impact of changes they have made to their website or application. While the CrUx data only comes with a 28 days lag, the RUM data is available immediately.
- Understand exactly how real customers experience your application: RUM data provides businesses with real-time insight into how real users are interacting with their website or application. This helps businesses understand the actual user experience and make data-driven decisions to improve it.
One example of an insight that is only apparent through RUM data is the impact of third-party scripts on website performance. In practice, the set of scripts to be loaded and executed might vary according to the user's acquisition channel or his interactions with the website. (Think of tracking and advertising scripts, as well as social media plugins). The impact of particular scripts is often undetectable on the aggregate level. Monitoring the performance for cohorts of users with similar origin, behavior or device context sheds light on the paths for improvement.
Leander Westerhout from Rumvision shared another instance of performance killer only visible with RUM data. His client’s website had a very decent general web performance, and its TTFB of 285 ms didn’t call for special attention. However, an examination of TTFB for each GET parameter showed a rather slow TTFB of 2116 ms for pages with the fbclid query in the URL. It was caused by an error in the caching policy for users coming from Facebook Ads. A quick update to the caching rules was enough to solve the issue.
When is RUM a Must-Have?
Websites that require real-time user monitoring include:
- Online marketplaces
- High-traffic e-commerce sites
- Social networking platforms
- Streaming services
- Online gaming sites
- News and media websites
- Financial services platforms
- Government and public sector portals
- Web applications with high load
Popular RUM Tools
There are many RUM tools available, and each tool offers different features and functionality. Some of the most popular RUM tools include:
Quanta is a comprehensive RUM tool that offers real-time monitoring and alerting for website performance issues. It also provides businesses with a range of analytics and reporting tools to help them understand their website's performance and identify areas for improvement. Quanta also provides data on carbon emissions of websites.
Glassbox is a customer experience analytics platform that offers real-time monitoring and analysis of website and application performance. It provides businesses with a range of features, including session replay, heatmaps, and funnel analysis, to help them understand how users are interacting with their website or application. Glassbox also offers a range of data privacy and security features to protect sensitive customer data.
Speedcurve is a comprehensive RUM tool that offers a range of features for website performance monitoring, including real-time monitoring, alerting, and historical analysis.
Akamai mPulse is a cloud-based RUM tool that offers real-time monitoring, alerting, and performance analysis for websites and applications.
Raygun is a comprehensive application monitoring tool that offers RUM data as part of its feature set.
Uptrends is a cloud-based RUM tool that offers real-time monitoring and alerting for website performance issues.
Catchpoint is a comprehensive RUM tool that offers real-time monitoring, alerting, and historical analysis for website and application performance.
Pingdom is a popular RUM tool that offers real-time monitoring and alerting for website performance issues.
By providing businesses with real-time insight into how users are interacting with their website or application, RUM data can help them identify and diagnose performance issues, measure the impact of optimizations, and understand exactly how their customers experience their website or application.
Popular RUM tools like Speedcurve, Raygun, Uptrend, Catchpoint, Quanta, and Glassbox provide businesses with a range of features and functionality to help them monitor and analyze their website or application performance. Ultimately, investing in RUM tools can help businesses provide a better user experience for their customers and drive business success.