Web performance monitoring is usually broken into two camps: passive and active. Active monitoring is more experimental based monitoring and uses algorithms to take current log data and predict future network states. A good example of active monitoring is synthetic transaction monitoring. This type deploys behavioral scripts in a web browser to simulate the path a customer or end-user takes through a website.
Synthetic transaction monitoring is especially important for ecommerce and other high traffic sites as it allows webmasters to test new applications prior to launch. Synthetic transactions are scripted in advance and then uploaded to the cloud as a transaction test.
Passive monitoring, as one definition puts it “looks at real-world historical performance by monitoring actual log-ins, site hits, clicks, requests for data, and other server transactions.” This is the kind of monitoring you need for the day to day, which ensures your business website keeps running optimally and that there are no downtime issues impacting your customers.
Real User Monitoring, or RUM for short, is a type of monitoring technology that looks at exactly how your online visitors are interacting with your website or application by examining everything from page load times to traffic bottlenecks to global DNS resolution delays.
Now with these definitions and preliminaries out of the way, let’s move into a focused discussion of why you should adopt real user monitoring for your business. There are, in fact, 10 specific reasons why your business needs this approach to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced digital market.
1. Puts the Customer First
Many folks surprisingly still buy into the “if you build it, they will come” mentality. But having a website is the easy part relatively speaking; anyone can do that much. The real work starts by building your rapport with the end-user and making them number one.
One of the worst things for your business is an error prone, buggy site. Nothing will drive potential customers away faster than making them wait for the site to load up, or if they find it down altogether. That’s why making your customer happy begins by putting their needs first.
2. Gives 360-degree Views of Your Visitors
Real user monitoring is all about knowing what customers experience the second they go to your website. Understanding page views and load times, site page build performance, and users’ browser and platform performance – all across various geographical regions – are key metrics for understanding how your site users are doing.
3. Monitoring Application Uptime is Not Enough
Even with the shift in recent years to focusing on the end-user, there still tends to be an assumption within IT that application runtime metrics are enough to keep things flowing. It is not, and here’s why.
Knowing how a single application is behaving at a point in time doesn’t necessarily give a full picture of your infrastructure. We need optics on the quality of the end-user experience across all applications on all devices at all times.
It really comes down to this, as one writer has well summarized: “To translate IT metrics into an End-User-Experience that provides value back to the business.”
4. Mobile is Changing Everything
Mobile must not be just an adjunct to your business; it must be the core of your digital strategy. PC sales continue to decline as mobile devices grow globally. More mobile devices are used to access the internet than PCs, and more people are shopping online with smartphones and tablets than ever before. In fact, mobile commerce transactions in the United States are expected to total $123 billion in 2016. $76 billion will be from tablets, while the remainder will be from smartphones.
The ongoing business impacts of BYOD are significant as end users expect the same level of 24/7 performance and availability on mobile devices as they get on desktops. Smaller and more dynamic form factors and mobile device sizes will require innovative and flexible approaches to monitoring the end user experience – and ultimately, keeping the customers happy.
5. Application Monitoring Requires Complete Transparency
Just because an application is up and running, doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is fine. There’s always the possibility that key parts of the application flow are not performing at optimal levels.
Multi-tier applications today are complex and there are lots of moving parts between the frontend, middleware, and backend. It’s important to understand the lifecycle of each application including its individual components and modules; the transactions that cross many modules and systems; and the underlying infrastructure of servers and networks that support each application.
6. Keeps Your Customers Happy
Research shows that if your site doesn’t do a full page load in 3 seconds or less, then your customers will leave and abandon your brand and head over to your competitors site to spend their money there. This is just a sample of how little patience customers will have for slow, erratic, or downed websites.
Real user monitoring is really about getting optics on your visitors’ online experience. It’s about understanding such key metrics as page views and load times, site page build performance, and users’ browser and platform performance.
7. Customer Expectations Constantly Change
If you were the owner of a brick-and-mortar business you wouldn’t have a dirty store, poorly stocked shelves, or grumpy assistants, and then expect customers to stick around. The same goes for your online business. It’s incumbent to know if there’s a problem with your site as soon as possible to avoid downtime and lost revenue.
Your customers are your revenue source, plain and simple! If you want to stay in business, then you’ll need to give them a rich and engaging user experience. Your ultimate aim is to turn visitors into faithful, repeat end-users of your product, brand, and service.
8. Leads to Better Productivity & Morale
It’s a simple calculus: the less time you have to spend on putting out fires due to poor performance, the more you can invest in keeping your employees and customers happy. Everyone wins in this scenario. Companies meet their SLAs, customers are happy, and employees are more proactive and productive.
[Additional useful tip!] For a better value, use Real User Monitoring not only as standalone product, but in complex with following tools: Uptime Monitoring, Transaction Monitoring, Full Page Load and server device monitoring!