Kumu logo

Kumu uses Embrace to eliminate networking issues and thrive in the social livestreaming space

Kumu logo with examples of the app
INDUSTRY
Social Media, Livestreaming
LOCATION
The Philippines
PLATFORMS
Android and iOS
“With Embrace, we no longer waste time with limited information, but instead can know ahead of time whether an issue is worth fixing and how to fix it.”
Andrew Pineda, Cofounder and Chief Architect, Kumu
Andrew Pineda, Cofounder and Chief Architect, Kumu
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CUSTOMER

Kumu is a powerful social media platform that brings together the voices of users from all over the globe. They use it to connect with each other and have fun by messaging, livestreaming, and participating in events like game shows, trivia contests, and ongoing campaigns to see who can earn the most virtual gifts.

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CHALLENGE

Kumu grew its global footprint from an initial userbase that was heavily concentrated in The Philippines. Like in many parts of the world, the users had older, less powerful Android phones and lived in areas with poor network connectivity. This resulted in crashes and app failures due to the memory and data-intensive nature of Kumu’s platform. Kumu engineers needed a way to identify and categorize issues to more effectively prioritize engineering resources.

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RESULTS

Embrace’s network monitoring and session replay empower Kumu to look up user complaints and immediately identify whether they stem from poor network connection or the application. With this information, Kumu can deliver better user experiences while reducing their issue resolution times.

Kumu is on a mission to be the dominant social livestreaming app

While Kumu started as a messaging app akin to Line or WeChat, it soon evolved to embrace its users’ changing digital behavior. They wanted a more authentic way to connect with each other, and Kumu pivoted towards livestreaming to provide a space for more immediate and real experiences.

“We’re all about building features our users love, like daily game shows where users can earn money, gaming livestreams, multi-host video chats, audio streams, gifting campaigns where influencers compete to win prizes by having users donate virtual gifts, and even adding e-commerce to our platform.”

Andrew Pineda, Cofounder and Chief Architect

And though Kumu has now expanded globally, when it first partnered with Embrace, it was a small app with its fair share of growing pains. With so many network and resource-intensive features, Kumu engineers had difficulty troubleshooting the cause of app failures.

Kumu struggled to quickly identify and solve issues with Crashlytics

Early on, with a userbase primarily in The Philippines, Kumu faced three main problems in delivering a stable, performant mobile app:

  • The users had older, cheaper Android devices.
  • The Philippines has some of the worst WiFi in the world.
  • The Kumu app is incredibly data and memory-intensive.

This meant that app failures could easily stem from code, device, and environmental factors. Kumu engineers couldn’t effectively prioritize their debugging efforts because they couldn’t identify the root cause behind user complaints.

“Crashlytics did not give us enough information about ANRs and networking issues. We couldn’t tell if problems were occurring because of code in the app or because of poor network connection.”

Andrew Pineda, Cofounder and Chief Architect

Crashlytics lacked actionable data to identify new issues and solve the issues Kumu already knew about.

“We wanted visibility into things like seeing a screenshot when something went wrong in the app, seeing the network calls and which ones weren’t connecting, and seeing when users launched the app, when the main screen wouldn’t load.”

Andrew Pineda, Cofounder and Chief Architect

Different features on the Kumu app

Embrace provides comprehensive data for every user session, including networking

With Embrace, Kumu engineers can go from a user complaint directly to the individual session where it occurred. They can see the technical details (e.g. views/activities, breadcrumbs, logs, network calls) alongside user actions (e.g. taps, button presses). In this way, Kumu is able to dramatically expedite their troubleshooting process.

“When we look up a user in the Embrace dashboard, we can see if the problem is out of our control. If a user had no network connectivity, we don’t need to investigate further. But if there is an issue that needs further attention, the developer can immediately reproduce the session and diagnose the problem.”

Andrew Pineda, Cofounder and Chief Architect

Kumu previously struggled to fix high numbers of ANRs (Application Not Responding) crashes on Android.

“Embrace’s network monitoring showed us that our users were downloading heavy images from Akamai that were leading to ANRs. We could see if the network was slow when the issue happened and test solutions like lowering the resolution of images. Then we could easily validate in future releases if the changes lowered our ANR rate.”

Andrew Pineda, Cofounder and Chief Architect

In addition, Kumu engineers added code to the app to help users deliver better reports.

“We put prompts in the app if there are network failures. For example, a user might see a message that says, ‘Can’t complete transaction because of network. Please report this issue to support.’ Our users are great about reporting issues.”

Andrew Pineda, Cofounder and Chief Architect

It’s easy to deluge mobile engineers with too much information though. That’s why it was important that Kumu’s tooling made their lives easier by simplifying the debugging process.

“Our developers and QA team love Embrace because they can immediately reproduce issues.”

Andrew Pineda, Cofounder and Chief Architect

Example livestreams on Kumu

Kumu can ship features faster because of Embrace

Kumu has come a long way in the past few years. They currently have over two million monthly active users and are getting around ten thousand new user downloads per day. In October 2020, the app topped the download charts of both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in the free apps category. And Kumu’s success is no accident — it is a reflection of their endless commitment to delivering exceptional user experiences

“Kumu is about fun. It’s about connecting and interacting with each other. We’ve got so many places we want to take the platform as well. We’re currently experimenting with dynamic augmented reality-type ads into our livestreams”

Andrew Pineda, Cofounder and Chief Architect

Embrace is happy to help companies like Kumu achieve their goals. By being the single source of truth for mobile teams, Embrace enables faster issue identification, prioritization, and resolution. Mobile-first companies like Kumu get complete visibility into the health of their apps, so they can spend less time fixing issues and more time building features.

See why the world's best mobile-first companies use Embrace