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Mobile application performance monitoring

Find broken user flows, identify and close performance gaps, and improve app health and stability with actionable data and insights about your key metrics.

mobile app performance

Find slow, unresponsive, and broken user flows

  • Visualize user abandonment, stalls, and points of failure for any custom user flow or interaction, all within defined timeframes.
  • Dive into specific user journeys; filter and sort data based on custom key-value pairs, app versions, or time windows.
  • Set custom thresholds and receive alerts for potential slowdowns before they impact users.

Grow users, decrease churn

  • Identify the true cost of performance problems. See how slowdowns in key revenue flows, like “add to cart” or “purchase completion,” directly impact your bottom line.
  • Uncover the “why” behind drop-off. Go beyond the surface and pinpoint the exact behavioral and technical issues causing users to abandon key retention and revenue flows.
  • Unmask performance drains: Leverage out-of-the-box filtering and grouping to identify specific third-party code or AD SDKs potentially impacting user experience.

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Guide to mobile app performance monitoring

As we spend more time on our phones, the mobile app market is becoming increasingly crowded. This has resulted in teams that are more aware of their competition, and are paying new attention to performance, in turn.

In fact, when we surveyed more than 1,000 mobile engineers, managers, and senior leaders, they told us that improving app performance is their top day-to-day priority.

Unfortunately, there’s not one, standard way of measuring performance and many common tools lack the ability to go beyond the basics of crash reporting. In that regard, monitoring app performance has become a challenge for teams that lack the proper tooling and data.

What is mobile application performance monitoring?

Mobile application performance monitoring (MAPM) is the process of collecting critical telemetry data from your mobile application’s frontend. This data can then be analyzed and used to understand how well key features and user flows are operating, and monitor the status of those functions and flows over time.

Crashes are a critical, albeit basic, datapoint that is tied to performance because it directly impacts the user experience. With that in mind, crash rate is a metric that can be measured and improved with the help of a mobile app performance monitoring tool.

Mobile APM tools can also help you monitor other key performance metrics, including:

  • Startup time
  • ANR rates
  • Session duration
  • Churn rates
  • User termination rates
  • Timing of key user actions
  • Memory usage
  • Network connectivity

Why use APM for your mobile app?

Mobile app performance optimizations have traditionally lived in the backend. That’s mainly because engineers typically lack the data they need to make improvements on the frontend.

MAPM tools are capable of capturing an entire user’s session data, making it possible to identify and close performance gaps on the frontend. Engineers that leverage mobile app performance monitoring tools are able to find hidden crashes, stay below app store bad behavior thresholds, deploy fixes twice as fast.

MAPM tools can also be used for:

  • Improving the user experiences: Mobile APM tools can be used to measure performance metrics associated with key user flows like startup time, page load success rate, and checkout screen failures.
  • Faster issue resolution: Since MAPM tools are capable of capturing the entirety of user session data, mobile teams never need to go back and add breadcrumbs just to investigate an issue. That means they can deploy the right fix the first time around and eliminate a bunch of trial and error.
  • Crash reporting and analysis: Mobile application performance monitoring tools cover the basics of crash reporting, but can go further by providing a comprehensive view into the entire user context leading up to the crash.
  • Complete, real-time data: Basic crash and app monitoring tools sample and delay data processing, making it difficult to understand the scope and scale of issues and even harder to be agile in issue resolution. The best mobile APM tools, on the other hand, provide unsampled, real-time data, making it possible to leverage these tools during critical peak traffic periods.

How does mobile application performance monitoring work?

Since mobile APM is the process of collecting and analyzing frontend mobile telemetry data, the first thing you’ll need to do is integrate your MAPM tool’s SDK with your mobile app.

Mobile app performance monitoring tools typically have SDKs for both Android and iOS, and some will even support non-native platforms like Unity, React Native, or Flutter.

Once the SDK is fully integrated, your MAPM tool will begin collecting user session data as your app is used. Mobile APM tools are capable of collecting a wide range of user session data, including crashes, network errors, Application Not Responding (ANR) errors, and other unhandled exceptions.

When enough data has been collected, the real magic occurs in analysis. Basic mobile app performance monitoring tools can tell you when a crash has occurred. Great mobile APM tools can help you correlate crashes with OS versions and devices, in order to help you prioritize where to spend engineering time and resources.

By continuously collecting, processing, and analyzing your mobile application data, mobile APM tools can be used to:

Best practices for monitoring your mobile app’s performance

If your app is experiencing slow load times, broken user flows, frequent crashes, failed network calls, or long response times, deploying a mobile application performance monitoring tool is past due.

A Mobile APM tool can help you optimize performance by helping you better understand user behavior, performance bottlenecks, and where opportunities exist for improving your code.

There’s a ton of information MAPM tools can provide, so the question becomes: What do I do with all that data? Following these best practices for optimizing app performance are best applied in conjunction with an MAPM tool:

  • Profile and benchmark: Profiling and benchmarking are powerful tools used together to optimize mobile app performance. Profiling acts like a diagnostic tool, pinpointing resource-intensive sections of code. Benchmarking provides context by comparing your software’s performance metrics against industry standards or previous versions. This one-two punch lets engineers identify areas for improvement (bottlenecks) through profiling and then optimize those areas effectively through targeted adjustments informed by benchmarking.
  • Test and monitor on real devices: Don’t just rely on emulators for testing. Actual devices provide a more realistic picture of your app’s performance. They account for variations in operating systems, network speeds, battery life, and how real users interact with the app. This comprehensive testing can even reveal opportunities to optimize the app for specific devices or regions.
  • Monitor and act on user feedback: Bug reports are fine, but users will always tell you exactly where their pain is at. MAPM tools provide enough context to look up exact user sessions, making it easier to prioritize feedback in the form of app store reviews and support tickets. Addressing these user-facing issues directly translates to happier customers, fostering loyalty and positive word-of-mouth, which is a win-win for your app’s success and ranking.
  • Leverage dashboards for focused monitoring: While some upfront effort is required, the payoff of custom dashboards is huge. These tools become central to monitoring app performance, giving you a clear view of key metrics like new releases, errors, and slowdowns. With this real-time data, you can prioritize improvements and ensure a smooth app experience.
  • Configure alerts around performance thresholds: The right data can turn alerts from an annoyance to a powerful tool. Most MAPM tools integrate with your existing comm tools like Slack and allow you to set custom trigger thresholds. This means you’ll be notified before issues escalate and able to prevent them from reaching your wider user base.
  • Take advantage of tracing capabilities: Tracing acts lets you put your app’s performance under a microscope. It goes beyond errors and crashes, allowing you to analyze how individual parts of the app function and impact users. Imagine an e-commerce app where users abandon checkout — tracing can pinpoint exactly where in the process this happens, even if no errors are logged. This deep dive helps identify hidden issues affecting the user experience.

Monitor mobile app performance with Embrace

Mobile app performance monitoring (MAPM) is an essential tool for any mobile developer or team serious about user experience and app success.

By leveraging MAPM tools and best practices, you can gain valuable insights into your app’s performance, identify and fix bottlenecks, and ultimately deliver a smooth and enjoyable experience for your users.

Embrace is a mobile app performance monitoring tool built by and for mobile developers. We provide mobile devs with high-fidelity telemetry data that provides a more complete picture of how their app operates, making it easier for them to find and fix bugs, close performance gaps, and deliver best-in-class experiences.

By capturing 100% of user session data, Embrace eliminates the guesswork, associated with fixing issues and optimizing performance, that makes developers’ lives more difficult.

Request a demo, and learn how Embrace can help you monitor and improve your mobile app performance today.

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