Top 5 Mobile APM Myths: Myths 3-5

If you’re just tuning in, please check out my previous post where I dispel myths 1 & 2, bad app ratings are uncontrollable and it’s impossible to understand your backend services.

Typically, mobile app developers accept some things they feel they can’t change — ratings, end-to-end visibility, user experience, and so on. However, these can all be avoided and under your control with the right mAPM solution to give you the proper insights to give your users a seamless experience.

Now, on to the myth busting…

Myth #3: Users are an enigma that I can never really understand

You cannot nail down the mobile end-user experience unless you know your audience. You need to understand where the end user is spending time while using your application. Are they spending time scrolling down search results to find what they want? In other words, are you presenting the most relevant information at the top? Are they abandoning the shopping cart at any specific points in the checkout process? Is there funnel friction that you need to optimize your app against?

The modern mobile APM tools have some great capabilities to understand your end user and their behavior. You can inject timers across any two arbitrary points and measure times taken for a collection of any number of steps. For example, you can measure how long it takes your user from conducting the first search to purchasing a product or a service. This can be done at an individual user or at aggregate levels. You can measure how much time users spend on which screen. This will give you great insights into who your typical user is and what interactions do they indulge in with your application. You can then optimize the app experience for those common patterns.
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Myth #4: I’m going to spend the rest of my life certifying my mobile app on the infinite permutations and combinations of device types, OS types, and network carriers/types

This is where you need concrete data to understand your user demographics. A good mAPM solution will give you detailed breakdown of who your core audience is. What device types they prefer, what OS’s (iOS vs Android) they run, and which networks they mostly originate from. A good APM solution will also allow you to correlate this information with revenue or engagement information to determine your highest-value audience.

With all this valuable information, you can prioritize development, testing, and certification of your mobile app. You can even optimize your app experience and test for performance bottlenecks for the high-value audience. And lastly, you can focus on retaining them by delivering on their roadmap demands over the lesser engaging ones.
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Myth #5: There’s no way to know the business impact of the performance issues of my mobile app

Most mAPM tools in the market today are too developer-centric. They deliver crash analytics and performance delays caused by delayed response from backend services but little else. Often times, the mobile channel is an enabler of some business goals such as better customer engagement, additional revenue streams, cost savings from productivity or efficiency gains. Plus, it’s the broader context that feeds investments into the mobile channel. Ignoring the business context is like missing out on half the picture.

The right tool needs to deliver full context on the mobile application. The full context should include what impact the app has on business metrics such as revenues, cost savings, customer engagement KPIs, etc. A comparative chart that shows performance impact of mobile app on these business metrics can be incredibly powerful to raise awareness among the organization.
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With these myths dispelled, I hope you have gotten a different perspective on your mobile app initiatives and are rethinking your approach to mobile APM. Feel free to leave comments and share your thoughts.

Also, check out my previous post to learn about myths 1 and 2.

Interested in trying AppDynamics Mobile RUM? Check out our FREE trial!

For a introduction to AppDynamics Mobile Real-User Monitoring, watch our On-Demand Webinar now.

Top 5 Mobile APM Myths: Myths 1 & 2

Mobile is now regarded as the most explosive source of revenue growth, employee productivity improvement, and customer engagement. GigaOm research reports that mobile users represented 40 percent of eBay’s 36 million new users in 2013, accounting for $35 billion in enabled commerce volume (ECV) — an astounding increase of 88 percent over the prior year.

However, mobile engagement is a very tricky one. Because the mobile user is so focused on the mobile app while interacting with it, it is an intense interaction over a rather small screen. With so many alternative choices at their fingertips, the user has almost no tolerance towards ill-designed or poorly performing mobile applications. The last I heard the iTunes App Store has 1.2 million apps. For the Android user, there are about 1.3 million apps to try from. Loyalty needs to be earned, and cannot be taken for granted. Plus, a lot of your brand value and revenue/cost savings are at stake.

It is not as hopeless as it sounds, however. Remember, mobile users are also known for rewarding a great experience; it took the Angry Birds app only 35 days to reach 50 million users! The total franchise value including merchandise, etc. had exploded to a few billion dollars at their peak. Mobile is a high velocity market. The first mover’s advantage is tremendous, and you need to take charge of your experience with the right mobile application performance monitoring (mAPM or mobile APM) tools at hand.

There is a lot of confusion in the market today. So in this blog post, I’d like to dispel some key myths around mobile apps. And how, with the right mAPM tool, you can nail your mobile app experience — both interactivity-wise and performance-wise — and thereby win the market.

Myth #1: Unforgiving app ratings on the app store are an unfortunate reality

There is no such thing as bug-free code. Any sufficiently complex code will have bugs, and so will your mobile app. Your users understand this reality but are looking for well thought-out designs that have fewer performance and crash issues. Customers are also amenable to quick fixes and are willing to give chances to organizations that are responsive to bugs, performance issues, and crashing issues. The critical success factor here is the turnaround time.

In order to avoid brutal app ratings, you need to a ship a good product, but more importantly show you are willing to respond to your user problems and fix them promptly. Use state of the art crash analytics and network request analytics to understand how your app is performing. The ideal mAPM tool should show the crashes and their stack traces in near real-time as they happen. For fastest response time, the mAPM tool should group these crashes based on common patterns and uniqueness. The same mAPM tool should also provide network request latencies at group levels as well as individual request levels. Resolution of information should not be lost when troubleshooting performance and crash issues.

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Myth #2: Backend services are black boxes of performance bottlenecks and I should just give up on them

I keep observing the finger pointing between mobile developers and the IT Ops teams. Those mobile developers who use mobile-only APM tools have visibility only till the point where a network request is made from the mobile app. Anything beyond is pretty much a black box which is usually the main cause for performance delays and mobile app’s poor response time. For the lack of better information, the mobile developer is quick to blame the back end service. On the other hand, the IT Ops team that has invested in legacy APM solutions that are unable to distinguish mobile-originating transactions from the others. They often struggle to isolate the mobile transaction delays caused by their services and get defensive.

A modern end-to-end APM solution that delivers context-awareness for transactions originating from mobile devices all the way to the backend database or even storage would completely take away the guesswork in performance troubleshooting. And if the entire infrastructure can be managed with a single pane of glass, there will be no information lost in translation and the mobile dev and IT Ops team can collaborate to focus on nailing down the end-user experience rather than play the blame game.

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This is the most critical requirement we hear from our customers time and again.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the series where I’ll cover myths 3-5:

  • Users are an enigma that I can never really understand
  • I’m going to spend the rest of my life certifying my mobile app on the infinite permutations and combination of device types, OS types, and network carriers/types
  • There’s no way to know the business impact of performance issues of my mobile app
  • Here’s a quick infographic showing all 5 Mobile APM myths:

    Interested in trying AppDynamics Mobile RUM? Check out our FREE trial!

    For a introduction to AppDynamics Mobile Real-User Monitoring, watch our On-Demand Webinar now.

    Check out myths 3, 4, & 5 here

    Improving the quality of mobile applications with Mobile APM

    Mobile applications now account for 15 percent of all Internet traffic, with 1.5 billion users worldwide. Done right, a simple iPhone application can reach 50 million users in days. When you have a successful mobile application it is difficult to ensure all of your users have a great experience. While good performance gets a high rating and strong sales in the App Store, poor performance will impact the application’s rating—and can cost a business tens of thousands of dollars for every second of delayed response or app failure.

    The reality is often times the organization responsible for infrastructure and monitoring have limited influence with the mobile application owners. Most mobile application owners have visibility into the server-side applications, but limited visibility into the mobile experience. In a recent report from Gartner, Jonah Kowall calls out the growth in the mobile space:

    By 2018, 25% of those organizations with current, five-dimensional APM investments will extend them to mobile devices and applications, up from under 1% today.

    Monitoring native mobile applications is increasingly challenging due to the sheer amount of platforms, devices, and variability of connectivity. In order to truly understand your users you need to leverage end user experience monitoring (EUEM) to gain visibility into how your actual users perceive your application. You need to utilize Mobile APM to gain visibility into application crashes and hangs, understand the interactions between mobile applications and the server-side, and understand your users through analytics. AppDynamics makes it easy to get complete visibility across your web and mobile applications:

    Mobile APM

     

    Find out more about the key challenges in improving the quality of mobile applications in a Gartner analyst report written by the leading APM analyst Jonah Kowall.

    Take five minutes to get complete visibility into the performance of your mobile applications with AppDynamics Mobile RUM today.

    For a introduction to AppDynamics Mobile Real-User Monitoring, watch our On-Demand Webinar now.

    Diving Into AppDynamics Mobile APM & End User Monitoring

    In the AppDynamics Spring 2014 release we greatly improved our End User Monitoring solution and added Mobile Application Performance Monitoring for iOS and Android applications. Through our end user experience dashboard you can understand the end user experience of your users in real-time via browsers or mobile devices:

     

    We greatly improved visibility into the geography drill down breaking down requests by web vs mobile and  iOS vs Android:

    We added more granular client-side metrics with a new waterfall timing visualization for browser snapshots:

     

    We also added server-side correlation for browser snapshots for end to end visibility from the client-side to the server-side:

    We enhanced our browser snapshots with a better drill down for discovering javascript errors:

    We also expore all client-side metrics in the metrics browser to easily track and correlate over time:

    AppDynamics added support for iOS and Android applications with complete end user monitoring, crash reporting, network request snapshots and device and user analytics:

     

    Through instrumenting network requests from mobile apps to the server side you gain end to end visibility from device all the way to the server-side with Network Request Metrics. With AppDynamics Mobile Snapshots with Server-side Correlation you can correlate network errors and exceptions on the server-side:

    With AppDynamics Mobile APM Crash Reporting you can proactively detect and respond to application crashes, hangs, and failed network requests and discover crash metrics by Device, Geo, App and OS Version etc. Gain complete visibility with iOS Crash Reporting with symbolication:

    With User & Device Analytics you can understand your users with breakdown by device, connection, carrier, os version, app version

    Through the AppDynamics metric browser you can track custom  metrics and get complete visibility into the performance of  your mobile apps:

    Take five minutes to get complete visibility into the performance of your production applications with AppDynamics today.