Mobile Real User Monitoring

Easily track and analyze the performance and user experience of your mobile applications.

Embrace Mobile RUM tools makes reproducing and fixing issues, fast and simple

  • Get to the root cause faster, with a single timeline view into your real, production-level data, including every technical and behavioral detail leading up to issues.
  • See vitals, webviews, taps, network calls, crashes, push notifications, backgrounded sessions and more, to understand exactly what happened and what went wrong.
  • Understand how issues impact segments and individual users, with data that’s never sampled, while maintaining RBAC controls, as well as data privacy and PII compliance.

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Guide to mobile real user monitoring

Today, the performance of mobile applications is more important than ever.

With users’ expectations constantly evolving, providing a stellar mobile experience is no longer optional; it’s imperative for the survival of your mobile software.

This guide to mobile real user monitoring (MRUM) sheds light on an essential tool for ensuring your app not only meets, but exceeds, user expectations by tying the behavior of actual users to the technical detail behind your app.

What is mobile real user monitoring?

Mobile real user monitoring (MRUM) is a sophisticated method of tracking and analyzing the performance and user experience of mobile applications.

By focusing on real user interactions, MRUM provides invaluable insights into how users engage with apps, helping engineers resolve issues and optimize their mobile offerings. Having a clear view of an app’s frontend performance helps developers better understand how real users experience it.

Mobile RUM vs real user monitoring (RUM)

You have most likely heard of real user monitoring before. Real user monitoring (RUM) is a monitoring technology that analyzes a site’s performance from a user’s perspective, offering a broader perspective across various platforms, including desktops.

Although they seem similar, there are a lot of differences when it comes to MRUM vs RUM.

  1. Scope of Monitoring
    • MRUM primarily focuses on user interactions, performance, and overall user experience, specifically on mobile platforms.
    • Conversely, RUM provides a more comprehensive scope that includes monitoring across a variety of platforms, such as desktops.
  2. Network Conditions
    • In the realm of network conditions, MRUM pays meticulous attention to the network’s quality and connectivity levels as they pertain to mobile devices.
    • RUM, on the other hand, addresses a broader spectrum of network conditions, taking into account the diversity of network environments across different device types.
  3. Important Metrics
    • MRUM places an emphasis on metrics that are crucial for mobile devices, tailoring its analysis to the unique demands of mobile usage.
    • RUM, in contrast, considers a wider range of metrics, focusing on the user experience across multiple devices, not just mobile ones.

While both Mobile RUM and RUM share the goal of monitoring user experiences, they have distinct focuses based on the platform being analyzed. In reality, MRUM and RUM are a small subset of what organizations should be looking for. Mobile user experience monitoring takes into consideration all of these factors and more.

What does MRUM do?

MRUM goes beyond basic monitoring by:

  • Collecting real-time data: The continuous and instantaneous gathering of data about user interactions and app performance as they occur on mobile devices. This process enables the monitoring system to capture and analyze user behavior, app responsiveness, and device conditions the moment they happen. Such timely data acquisition is crucial for identifying and addressing issues promptly, thereby enhancing the overall user experience and ensuring optimal app performance. Real-time insights allow for immediate action, from troubleshooting errors to adapting features to better suit user needs.
  • Segmenting users for targeted analysis: The ability to divide an app’s user base into distinct groups based on specific criteria, such as behavior patterns, device types, geographic locations, or app usage frequency. This segmentation allows for a more detailed and customized analysis of how different user groups interact with the app. By focusing on these segments, mobile engineers can gain deeper insights into user experiences, identify unique issues or preferences within each group, and optimize their app for the needs and behaviors of each segment more effectively. This targeted approach enhances the app’s relevance and performance for diverse user groups, ultimately improving user satisfaction and engagement.
  • Providing device-level insights: The detailed analysis of how an app performs on various mobile devices. This involves collecting and examining data specific to different mobile device types, such as smartphones and tablets, and considering factors like operating system versions, hardware specifications, screen sizes, and battery life. By understanding how the app behaves across different devices, developers can pinpoint issues that may only arise under certain hardware or software conditions. This granular level of insight is crucial for optimizing app performance and ensuring a consistent, high-quality user experience across the diverse landscape of mobile devices.
  • Offering geographic perspectives: The ability to analyze app performance and user behavior based on the users’ geographical locations. This aspect of MRUM recognizes that user experiences and app performance can vary significantly across different regions due to factors like network quality, cultural preferences, local regulations, and device popularity. By examining data from a geographical viewpoint, app developers and businesses can identify region-specific trends, adapt their services to cater to local needs, and optimize performance issues that may be unique to certain areas. This geographical analysis helps in making informed decisions to enhance user satisfaction and app usability on a global scale.
  • Detecting errors and reporting crashes: The process of continuously scanning for and identifying any issues that disrupt the normal functioning of a mobile application. This process includes capturing and logging errors as they occur, along with detailed information about the crash circumstances, such as the device type, operating system, app version, and user flows leading to the issue. By systematically tracking these incidents, MRUM provides mobile engineers with critical insights needed to diagnose and fix problems. This not only aids in improving app stability and performance but also enhances the overall user experience by reducing the frequency and impact of app failures.
  • Offering performance benchmarks: The process of setting and providing standard metrics for app performance, against which an app’s actual performance can be measured and evaluated. These benchmarks typically include indicators like load times, response speeds, crash rates, and user interaction responsiveness. By comparing an app’s performance to these benchmarks, developers and stakeholders can assess how well the app is performing in real-world scenarios. This comparison not only helps in identifying areas needing improvement but also aids in maintaining high standards of app quality and user experience, ensuring the app meets or exceeds industry expectations.

Limitations of mobile RUM

The diversity in mobile devices means each one is distinct. Considering the variations in operating system, application versions, geographic locations, network connectivity, and state of the device, the experience of each user is highly unique.

Therefore, identifying the root causes of issues necessitates deep dives into detailed data from specific sessions. Mobile teams require tools that can quickly replicate the complete technical and behavioral aspects of any session, rather than just providing an overview like screenshots and logs.

Let’s examine some issues that mobile RUM may not effectively reveal.

Problems across multiple sessions

Mobile users frequently switch between apps, leading to experiences that cross several sessions. Monitoring tools not designed to aggregate and connect data from these sessions fail to identify root causes of issues that originated in earlier sessions. While mobile RUM provides deep session-level insights for individual sessions, some solutions may lack the ability to link these sessions together in order to provide a full view of a user’s experience.

For example, a prominent mobile e-commerce app experienced a recurring crash impacting 1% of users with each update. This issue persisted from the app’s initial launch. The underlying cause was a failed network call from a previous session, which was eventually identified and resolved with a mobile-centric platform like Embrace.

Exceeding resource limits

Mobile applications often crash upon exceeding the system’s resource limits. Comprehensive session replays, detailing instances of high CPU usage, memory warnings, low battery, etc., are vital in pinpointing and preventing such crashes.

For instance, e-commerce and social media applications that load numerous photos and videos can suffer from out-of-memory (OOM) issues more frequently than traditional crashes. An app with a 99% crash-free rate but only a 97% OOM-free rate effectively has a 96% overall crash-free rate.

Mobile RUM solutions lack the context to identify these issues. Even if network requests for downloading content are successful, they don’t flag potential problems. Rather, solutions with comprehensive mobile user monitoring, combined with insights into additional factors, are ideal as mobile teams require continuous insights into the device’s condition throughout a session to detect these failures.

Unclassified crashes

Traditional monitoring systems often struggle to classify certain types of crashes, such as Watchdog terminations, Auto Layout exceptions, and CollectionView crashes.

These incidents might not provide useful stack traces, limiting the mobile team’s ability to diagnose and address them. Most standalone mobile RUM solutions typically lack this depth of coverage specific to mobile devices.

Application not responding (ANR) errors

ANRs in Android occur when the main thread is blocked for at least 5 seconds, prompting the user to close the app. However, even shorter ANR episodes can degrade the user experience. Screen freezes and stutters can result from blocked main threads, leading users to exit or forcibly close the app.

While mobile RUM can track slow network requests, screen freezes can arise from various other causes. For example, simultaneous initializations of multiple SDKs or intensive data processing tasks can overwhelm the CPU, causing the app to freeze.

User exits

There are numerous reasons why users might forcibly close mobile apps, ranging from routine app management to frustration with the app’s performance. Mobile RUM solutions are not equipped to offer insights on increased rates of user exits, as they don’t monitor complete user experiences. Full session data is essential to identify and understand patterns leading to these issues.

While mobile RUM can signal problems, it often lacks the depth needed to find a resolution. Mobile teams need a data solution that not only detects all user-impacting issues but also provides the necessary context for resolution.

Benefits of mobile RUM

The future of mobile technology lies in effective monitoring and analysis. Mobile RUM provides:

  • Device and network context for comprehensive understanding: By analyzing data from a variety of devices, MRUM can identify how different hardware, operating systems, and configurations affect app behavior. It also examines network conditions, such as connectivity strength and speed, to understand how these factors impact app functionality and user experience. This dual focus on device and network contexts allows MRUM to deliver a nuanced, complete picture of an app’s performance in real-world scenarios, enabling more targeted and effective optimizations.
  • Session-level information for detailed insights: Session-level information offers detailed insights into user interactions with an app. Each session is tracked individually, capturing data like user navigation paths, interaction times, and response rates. This granular approach allows for a deep understanding of user behavior and app performance within each unique session. By analyzing these details, developers can identify specific issues, understand user engagement patterns, and optimize the app based on how users interact with it in actual use cases. This session-specific analysis is key to enhancing user experience and app functionality.
  • Proactive identification of potential issues: By continuously analyzing app performance and user interactions in real-time, MRUM aids in the early detection of anomalies, errors, and performance degradation before they escalate into major problems affecting a wider user base. By identifying trends, unusual patterns, or recurring issues within the app’s operation, MRUM empowers developers to address problems preemptively, often before users even notice them. This proactive approach is crucial in maintaining a smooth, uninterrupted user experience and ensuring the app’s reliability and efficiency.
  • Data-driven decision-making capabilities: MRUM provides comprehensive and actionable insights into app performance and user behavior. It collects a wealth of data — from user interactions, app response times, crash reports, to device and network performance metrics. This rich dataset allows teams to analyze trends, identify pain points, and understand user needs more accurately. Armed with this information, decision-makers can prioritize development efforts, allocate resources more effectively, and make informed choices about app enhancements and optimizations. The result is a strategic approach to app development and maintenance that is guided by concrete, empirical evidence rather than assumptions or guesswork.

Who should use mobile RUM?

Mobile RUM is essential for any organization prioritizing a seamless mobile user experience. It is particularly beneficial for mobile developers in the gaming, e-commerce and retail, media and entertainment, and travel and hospitality industries.

Mobile RUM for game developers

Gaming developers can greatly benefit from solutions that offer specialized insights and tools tailored to the unique needs of gaming apps. Such solutions provide comprehensive monitoring of game performance in real-time, capturing critical data like frame rates, load times, and resource utilization. This enables developers to identify and address issues like lag, crashes, or glitches that could disrupt the gaming experience.

Additionally, these solutions can track user engagement metrics, such as session lengths and frequency of play, offering valuable insights into player behavior and preferences. This data helps in optimizing game design and functionality to enhance player retention and satisfaction.

Status-quo sampling methods — which only show game developers a portion of their mobile data — do not provide the entire picture. Real user monitoring for the unique context of mobile helps game engineers resolve user-impacting issues faster, with insights into every user session.

Moreover, by offering segmented analysis based on device types, operating systems, and network conditions, these monitoring tools enable developers to ensure their games perform optimally across a wide range of devices and networks, crucial for reaching a broad audience in the diverse mobile gaming market.

Such a comprehensive and tailored approach to mobile game player monitoring aids developers in maintaining high-performance standards, ensuring smooth gameplay experiences, and making data-driven decisions to continually improve their games.

Mobile RUM for e-commerce and retail

For e-commerce and retail developers, leveraging MRUM brings several key advantages.

These solutions enable developers to closely monitor and analyze user interactions with their apps, such as product-browsing behavior, transaction completion rates, and response times to user actions. This level of monitoring is crucial for identifying and resolving any performance issues or bottlenecks that could hinder the shopping experience, directly impacting sales and customer satisfaction.

Another significant benefit is the ability to track and optimize the checkout process. By understanding where users face difficulties or abandon their carts, developers can streamline the checkout experience, potentially increasing conversion rates.

Additionally, these monitoring tools provide valuable insights into how different segments of users interact with the app across various devices and network conditions. This information is vital for tailoring the app’s performance to diverse user needs and ensuring a smooth shopping experience regardless of the user’s device or location.

Lastly, by offering detailed crash analytics and real-time alerting, such solutions help e-commerce and retail developers quickly pinpoint and address any critical issues, minimizing downtime and maintaining a reliable, high-performing app. This proactive approach to app maintenance and optimization is key to staying competitive in the dynamic e-commerce and retail sector.

Mobile RUM for media and entertainment

Specialized monitoring solutions like MRUM offer several advantages for mobile engineers in the media and entertainment space.

These tools are adept at tracking key performance indicators crucial for media apps, such as streaming quality, load times, and buffering instances. This is essential for ensuring a seamless streaming or media playback experience, which is central to user satisfaction in this sector.

Moreover, these solutions provide insights into user engagement patterns, like the duration of sessions and frequency of app usage. Understanding these metrics helps developers optimize content delivery and layout for better user engagement.

Another advantage is the ability to monitor and analyze user interactions across various device types and network conditions. This capability is particularly important for media apps, which are often used in diverse environments. By optimizing app performance for different scenarios, developers can ensure a consistent and high-quality experience for all users, regardless of their device or connectivity.

Additionally, these tools offer detailed crash and error reporting, enabling developers to quickly identify and resolve issues that could disrupt content consumption. By maintaining high app reliability and minimizing downtime, developers can enhance overall user trust and loyalty.

Overall, such monitoring solutions empower media and entertainment app developers to fine-tune their applications, ensuring they meet the high standards of performance and reliability that users expect in this highly-competitive market.

Mobile RUM for travel and hospitality

For developers in the travel and hospitality sector, utilizing a specialized mobile real user monitoring solution brings several key benefits. These tools enable the tracking and analysis of critical aspects such as booking processes, search functionality, and user navigation within the app. This level of insight is crucial for identifying and rectifying any usability issues or performance bottlenecks that could impede the booking experience, a central function in travel and hospitality apps.

One significant advantage is the ability to monitor user interactions in real-time, particularly important for services like flight check-ins, hotel reservations, and last-minute bookings. By ensuring these features function seamlessly, developers can enhance user satisfaction and reduce the likelihood of booking abandonment.

These solutions also provide detailed insights into how the app performs across a variety of devices and network conditions. Given the mobile-centric nature of travel and hospitality services, where users often rely on apps in different locations and under varying network conditions, ensuring consistent app performance is vital.

In addition, they offer in-depth crash analytics and real-time alerts, enabling developers to promptly address any critical issues. This rapid response capability is essential in the travel and hospitality industry, where app reliability can directly impact travel plans and overall customer experience.

Overall, these monitoring tools empower travel and hospitality app developers to optimize their applications for reliability, efficiency, and user-friendliness, contributing to enhanced customer service and competitive advantage in a dynamic industry.


While MRUM offers extensive insights into mobile app performance, it’s not the only tool available. For different needs, consider exploring Mobile APM.

Learn more about this and how it compares to MRUM in our detailed blog post Observability, APM, and RUM, in our previous blog.

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