What Is Real User Monitoring (RUM)?

What Is Real User Monitoring (RUM)

An effective Real user monitoring (RUM) solution enables you to rapidly detect errors impacting real users, which enables you to address these issues without waiting for users to file support tickets.

Select an RUM tool designed to monitor metrics that matter most for your business (e.g. site speed). This will enable you to quickly identify performance bottlenecks that impede customer experience and business ROI.

What is real user monitoring RUM?

Real user monitoring (RUM) is a form of performance testing that monitors actual users as they navigate websites and applications, providing businesses with insights into user journeys that provide useful data regarding customer experience. By monitoring customers directly, businesses can then identify issues which prevent delivering an optimal customer journey – ultimately increasing conversions while decreasing churn.

An effective RUM tool should collect data without disrupting user experiences, using Navigation Timing Specification (NTS) or JavaScript code to collect user actions and metrics from web pages, then send this information onward to an application for analysis of users.

RUM tools offer immense value to an organization as a whole, from SREs and IT operations teams, developers, helpdesk teams and support staff to webmasters and helpdesk support staff – each can gain substantial advantage from real user monitoring’s visibility capabilities.

However, it is essential that teams find and monitor KPIs that align with business goals in order to focus their team efforts on those technical markers which drive business outcomes – this may prove challenging but is absolutely vital in order to maximize the effect of RUM solutions.

What is real user monitoring?

Real user monitoring (RUM) is a passive technique that observes users interacting with web applications. As opposed to synthetic monitoring techniques which simulate user experiences through scripted testing, RUM captures and analyses end user data for frontend performance analytics.

Real user monitoring software uses JavaScript to collect metrics like resource timing (how long it takes pages to load), first contentful paint (the moment when browsers render the first piece of DOM), and document completion (when all static resources have loaded). These measurements are then sent into an analysis application so IT teams can view website performance across browsers, devices and platforms.

Real user monitoring allows teams to easily detect performance issues such as page load times, navigation issues and system errors – which allows teams to quickly fix any performance problems and optimize websites where possible. A fast performing website has a significant effect both on user experience and the bottom line: one study found that an improvement of just 0.1 second in site speed led to an 8.4% rise in retail conversions!

How real user monitoring works

Real user monitoring (RUM) gathers data on what occurs when visitors to websites and web applications interact with it. RUM works by embedding a small piece of JavaScript within each website or app to collect performance metrics as users browse. This data is then forwarded onto an RUM server for further analysis.

Software teams can use this data to identify issues, optimize websites and enhance user experiences. While synthetic monitoring mimics user traffic to measure application performance, real user monitoring measures real end-user experiences in production environments.

At the core, real user monitoring solutions should help capture the most pertinent data for your needs. Doing this ensures you can capture mission-critical information like page load times, resource timing API metrics and first contentful paint of each DOM element. Furthermore, an ideal RUM tool can help monitor critical business metrics to verify service level agreements with customers as well as make data-driven decisions about designing an improved digital experience.

Real User Monitoring vs. Synthetic Monitoring

RUM stands out from synthetic monitoring in that it captures real user experience data, providing developers with valuable insight into performance trends and metrics such as end-user connection speeds. Furthermore, RUM captures bandwidth throttling and estimates of network latency estimates which help identify issues which traditional monitoring could miss.

With a reliable RUM tool, you can collect almost infinite data that’s relevant to your business and view it in ways that make sense for you. Therefore, it is imperative that you identify and track metrics that matter the most for your organization.

RUM can also help you analyze geographic region-based performance variations, providing valuable information that enables informed decisions about where to focus optimization efforts. RUM provides fast troubleshooting of SPA bottlenecks by offering detailed information about page loads and resource consumption – this helps address potential performance problems quickly, giving your customers an optimal experience. Plus, RUM is great at catching regressions during development cycles so you can test your website or app without disrupting users in any way!

Benefits of RUM

Real user monitoring provides valuable insight into end user experiences. With these insights in hand, teams can improve the overall performance of websites and applications by quickly recognizing problems missed by synthetic monitoring methods; also quickly responding to any potential issues for optimal customer experiences.

RUM can detect when page load times exceed acceptable standards or users encounter errors that cause them to leave a website, helping website managers and application developers address these issues before too many customers lose interest in using it. It also aids teams in meeting service level agreements as they priorities tasks accordingly.

Real-user monitoring solutions should capture end-user data efficiently to give an accurate picture of what’s working and what isn’t. Look for solutions with flexible monitoring of devices, browsers and connections; easily accessible data visualization capabilities that correlate it with revenue or voice of customer (VOC) metrics; as well as robust data handling practices such as anonymization and encryption to protect user privacy while complying with regulations.

1. Improved customer experience

RUM assists teams in making smarter decisions based on actual user experiences. It offers valuable insight into the performance of websites or applications, helping improve customer experiences while increasing revenue streams.

Utilizing RUM with synthetic testing, transaction tracing, log management and infrastructure monitoring tools provides you with an end-to-end picture of your digital operations, enabling you to identify issues quickly and address them more efficiently.

Real-user monitoring tools do not require code modifications for proper functioning; rather, they instrument your website or application’s frontend and server-side to track user journeys seamlessly so you can effectively address frontend performance issues without interrupting user experiences or losing customers.

Site reliability engineering (SRE) aims to maximize customer satisfaction and achieve business results by providing fast and stable services that exceed agreed SLOs (Service Level Indicators). RUM helps SREs ensure their services comply with these expectations while also helping identify any underperforming parts such as frontend components, network infrastructure or content payload that require improvement.

2. Enhanced visibility

Real User Monitoring gives your team access to real user insights about what works and doesn’t. By connecting technical markers such as page load times with desired business outcomes, RUM helps your team align development efforts for customer satisfaction and revenue generation.

As it offers visibility across devices, browsers and networks – you can observe how customers experience your applications across those channels – giving you insight into which work on the front-to-back stack has the greatest effect on business outcomes.

Helpdesk teams often struggle to identify the source of customer dissatisfaction when customers contact them; with RUM, however, they can use its unified observability platform to quickly locate and share all requests which contributed to an error in an efficient manner.

While RUM is an invaluable tool that offers many advantages, it’s essential to know its limitations. Because this software relies on code being added into applications in order to capture data, its effectiveness only becomes apparent once integrated with DevOps processes fully and traffic volumes become too low for it to provide meaningful results.

3. Higher productivity

RUM collects performance data directly from actual users navigating and engaging with digital applications – not synthetic user models – providing valuable insight that can be used to understand and enhance website and software user experience (UX), troubleshoot performance issues, monitor key business metrics and evaluate marketing channels among many other areas.

RUM tools provide support teams with all of the information needed to quickly find and resolve issues without going back and forth between engineers and customers. When tracking user experiences on websites or banking systems, RUM allows you to compare performance against your competition and measure how your performance stacks up against them.

However, some RUM tools require users to manually change application code in order to instrument it for monitoring and analytics, which is risky due to human errors and potential bugs introduced into your codebase. Modern monitoring platforms like eG Enterprise are equipped with AIOps engines that allow them to monitor real user behavior automatically without manual changes being needed.

Steps in Real User Monitoring

Real user monitoring (RUM) solutions provide invaluable benefits for website and mobile app development teams. However, selecting an RUM solution requires careful consideration of both business goals and technical necessities when selecting an appropriate RUM provider.

An effective monitoring platform is key for efficient troubleshooting and in-depth performance evaluation, while data reporting and visualization provide actionable insights quickly.

1. Data capture

Real User Monitoring helps identify front-end applications with performance issues by anonymously tracking user experiences in real time. A lightweight script embedded into web pages or mobile applications collects user data such as performance metrics and transaction times before sending it back to a server for storage and processing.

Data collected and aggregated through these means provides real-time visibility into the digital experience, including any issues which might affect end users’ satisfaction. Results can then be used to optimize application performance – which in turn impacts key business metrics like conversion rates and search engine ranking signals.

With demand for better digital experiences growing, more sophisticated monitoring solutions will become necessary. While synthetic monitoring remains useful, real user monitoring offers a more holistic approach to website and application performance management by tracking real-time interactions and using aggregated analytics. Real user monitoring enables organizations to understand how web performance affects core business metrics as well as alert teams when issues such as slow page loads arise so they can address it immediately.

2. Sessionization

Real user monitoring can be more powerful than synthetic monitoring by collecting metrics from actual end-users in real time. This provides accurate insights into how your site performs under various situations, which helps make better decisions.

Real user monitors can help gather this data by adding a lightweight script into your app that collects performance data while the app is being used. Once collected, these numbers can then be organized by session so you can quickly identify areas requiring improvement and quickly pinpoint digital journeys within digital journeys that need improving.

Some RUM tools also enable users to monitor individual page performance, helping you identify front-end bottlenecks which may be hindering user experience or stopping you from reaching business goals. With this capability you can optimize individual pages to improve user experiences and increase conversion rates. Furthermore, performance trends over time allow you to track how page load times change over time; making it easy to pinpoint potential causes of performance issues quickly before they become bigger issues.

3. Problem Detection

Real user monitoring provides teams with data they can use to convert online customers faster, reduce churn, and enhance overall digital product quality. By measuring error rates, page/query speeds, user experience metrics and error alerting details for incident alerting, RUM provides insights that enable better customer experiences for all parties involved.

Modern web pages and applications are dynamic distributed systems that evolve constantly, often having unintended repercussions that only impact certain users, making performance management challenging.

Real user monitoring solutions like New Relic allow teams to identify issues quickly and precisely, showing what site traffic looked like when issues first started and pinpointing root causes like network, database or geographic issues. RUM can also reveal key page performance data like load time and which pages users value the most; helping teams meet service level agreements while keeping their best customers happy. Instrumenting websites with RUM involves adding an asynchronous script file which loads automatically while recording performance data.

4. Individual Visit Reporting

RUM provides great value by reporting on each individual user’s performance, making these tools invaluable in quickly spotting issues before they have an adverse effect on user experiences and helping teams take steps quickly to address them.

RUM tools typically record data for every page, resource and interaction that users interact with as they navigate a site. Once collected, this data is sent to a monitoring server for analysis and reporting purposes – usually available as dashboards and reports that demonstrate typical metrics related to user experience like page load times.

Real user monitoring solutions with more advanced capabilities provide teams with the ability to monitor individual web requests, allowing them to gain insight into what may be causing slowness behind-the-scenes. They can see how each query is performing over timeframes – including an in-depth breakdown by location, device, browser and OS. This “first cause analysis” approach may prove more actionable than simply providing general alerts like, “The first contentful paint is slow”. Such alerts may simply mean one user experiences slowness but not another user.

5. Reporting and Segmentation

Like any web or app monitoring solution, RUM must fit within an organization’s overall observability strategy and foster open dialogue between technical teams and business stakeholders to understand how data interpretation varies between groups.

RUM can help provide insights that go beyond traditional site performance metrics (such as loading times and user duration on each page), to your target audience or geography. For instance, if your website primarily attracts shipping companies based in Asia then monitoring performance for these users could be particularly important.

RUM can also serve as a useful testing tool when testing new features or product releases, providing insight into their effects on real users before their release; testing how software performs across devices, browsers and bandwidths; as well as helping prevent costly website outages while improving customer experiences and prioritizing performance issues.

6. Alerting

Notification is key when performance metrics fall outside acceptable parameters, as this allows teams to respond swiftly before issues impact customer satisfaction and revenue. Alerts may be set off by traffic spikes and outages, page load times that exceed thresholds, and deviations from core website vitals or “golden signals”.

Once an issue is identified, an automated notification system will notify team members via their preferred form of communication – typically email but some monitoring systems also support SMS, push notifications and voice calls – of its detection. Alerts should include actionable details about where additional data on the issue can be found as well as priority levels and recommended responses; some alerts can even automatically take actions like auto-scaling infrastructure to speed response times and increase operational efficiency.

How does Real User Monitoring Works?

Real user monitoring is an invaluable asset that offers IT teams invaluable insights. This monitoring technique can help optimize front-end performance, reduce customer frustration, and increase conversion rates for increased conversion rates.

Real User Monitoring works by adding a lightweight script into your web or application code that collects performance data from user browsers as they load and interact with your website or app. Once collected, this data is sent directly to a designated server that then processes and stores it in their database.

When an issue arises, servers can access their databases to reconstruct the end-user experience and pinpoint its cause – helping IT teams quickly identify its cause and address it accordingly.

RUM can be an excellent addition to your website and application monitoring tools, yet it does have limitations such as its reliance on users to interact with your service, which may pose issues during off-hours or when launching new versions of it. Synthetic monitoring may fill in any gaps during these periods.

Final Thoughts

Real User Monitoring offers an invaluable source of data that enhances website performance while mitigating future risk. Tech leads can use Real User Monitoring to quickly identify pages bringing high value conversions and optimize them appropriately, product managers without much coding expertise can quickly detect and fix slow queries that impact site speed and businesses can gain insight into how changes they make affect user experience.

Integrating RUM data with other metrics such as infrastructure health, logs, traces and user experiences provides you with more comprehensive monitoring data; while standalone RUM solutions offer an easier user-experience focused solution.

Both synthetic and Real User Monitoring approaches have their place in the digital environment. Synthetic monitoring can provide insight into short-term issues like errors that arise during development or testing of apps; while Real User Monitoring gives insight into actual users’ experiences once your website goes live. In essence, selecting either synthetic or RUM depends on your business objectives.

Sam is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.