How to boost app engagement with mobile application performance monitoring (APM)

Application performance monitoring (APM) tools act as an extra layer of safety for mobile teams to detect and fix bugs before your users even notice a thing. It diagnoses deep-level performance problems so your team can detect code change mistakes that could impact your company’s bottom line or worse, erode your users’ trust. 

In one of our Mobile DevOps is a thing! podcasts, we spoke to Rasmus Larsson (who has a wealth of product strategy experience in the sporting industry) about APM and what the future brings. Here are the top must-ask questions about APM, as answered by Rasmus.

Why is APM important?

In the extremely competitive world of mobile apps, your users are just one inconvenience away from uninstalling your app—and never returning. Identifying and fixing these issues early on—and as a result, keeping your users engaged and satisfied—boils down to having APM best practices in place. APM is important because it helps you listen to your users and understand them, not through just one tool, but a combination of approaches like monitoring crashes, product health, reviews, and ratings. 

Essentially, you’re monitoring what people are actually doing and how they’re doing it so you can learn from your users’ behavior and create improvements that increase the app’s attractiveness. 

Rasmus recalled a costly incident that could have been easily avoided with APM in place:

Dubbed “The $200,000 Mistake,” a seemingly routine update (which for the record, had passed through code review and testing) caused abnormal spikes of data leading to skyrocketing costs.

While the issue was resolved quickly, Rasmus said that had there been an APM tool in use, they would have been able to catch the problem as it happens instead of weeks later

What is the difference between web APM and mobile APM?

Of course, one of the main differences between web-based APM and mobile APM is the device it’s built for. The experience around request delays is vastly different when comparing web APM and mobile APM. 

For instance, a website won’t work if the connection isn’t there in the first place. But for apps, it’s not as simple: mobile developers need to cater to, manage, and understand what happens when the connection fails and there’s no data available. 

APM helps you keep track of these things and answers questions like:

  • Where are we getting our data from?
  • How often should the app fetch new data?
  • What should and shouldn’t we store longer?
  • What business logic should we have?

However, with the convergence between websites and apps slowly but surely happening, expect to see more of these features being available on both platforms. 

What differentiates a great app from the rest of the pack?

According to Rasmus, the most important ingredient you need when it comes to building great products is care. “When you have people who care about the product…[your customers] are always going to get a 10 times better product than people who are just doing something that’s written on a list.”

How do you achieve this level of care within your team? 

  • Make sure everyone who is involved understands what the users want, care about, and don’t care about, and how the product satisfies all of the above for the user. And everyone—from the product designer to the developer to the project manager—has to be involved in this process of understanding.
  • Making data available to these teams enables this process and empowers them to be more self-reliant when it comes to creating improvements or facing challenges. The more your team understands the user, the more they care about how their decisions affect the user, and ultimately, the better the end result will be.

What’s hot in mobile APM?

More and more, teams are making sure that they can build their products as branches that are relatively independent from each other. This is crucial as your products get bigger and you introduce more features.

There’s also the rising importance of architecture. “We’re seeing more and more that people are starting to understand the value of having a very modular architecture and approach to their products in many ways,” said Rasmus.

And then on the monetary side of things, it’s also becoming more important that you have a complete view of the usage of the products that you have released. This is where machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can truly make a difference, especially with all the data that’s available.

So instead of APM being just a tool that identifies bugs, there is a huge opportunity here for it to be used for suggesting improvements and changes.  

Monitor your app’s performance across the entire install base

Building an app that your users love and keep coming back to requires you to have well-thought-out strategies in place. App performance monitoring is an essential part of that strategy for mobile development teams that are intent on delivering top-notch user experiences

Bitrise brings your CI/CD performance closer to your development teams so they can locate and resolve problems for themselves. By integrating Bitrise with your existing tools, such Firebase Performance Monitoring, you gain insights into your app’s overall performance, identify any issues, and quickly remedy them.

With Bitrise, you get up-to-date performance status for all your workflows, steps, and tests. And, you can effortlessly drill down through your workflows to locate the cause of the performance bottleneck. Request a demo with us and we’ll show you how to gain an edge in the competitive app market.

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