Real User Measurement (RUM) is a new analytics tool for marketing and operations professionals. Marketing has a huge data component and good marketing is all about how you use that analytical data.
A month ago we installed our new product, mPulse, on SOASTA.com. mPulse is a product we co-developed with Lognormal, the leading Real-time User Measurement company that we just acquired. We’re getting all kinds of great data that allows us to correlate page load time with user behavior and user engagement. More about this in a moment.
Think of RUM as a car dashboard. The 1972 wood-paneled Ford Country Squire station wagon you spent your childhood in had just a few instruments to display: speedometer, fuel gauge, oil temp. Forty years later the Toyota Prius has digital instrumentation that includes a speedometer, fuel gauge, odometer, instant fuel economy, shift position indicator, fuel consumption history, average fuel economy, distance to empty, average speed and trip distance … all delivered in real-time. To say that we have access to much more data now is a gross understatement.
RUM gives us the same data progression but it’s for our web site and apps. As Google Analytics users, we have good data on visits, time on site and overall bounce rates, but lacked real-time measurement on what was behind those stats. We needed to better understand how our web site performance, page load times, connection speeds and geography affected our user’s experience. Now we get much richer data sets and can drill down and look at performance issues based on page groups, browsers, geography or the available bandwidth a user has to access our site. This allows us to make data-based conclusions about how web performance effects time on site, page views and bounce rates.
For example, understanding the number of web visitors that come to our site using a Chrome browser vs. IE 9 and the average page load times of each allows us to prioritize our optimization efforts for each browser type. We also know how fast page load times are in the US, South Africa and in all the other countries that bring visitors to SOASTA.com. This helps us determine our content distribution and caching strategies for the geographies we serve.
All of this is critically important because research from Aberdeen Group tells us that that 25% users abandon a web site after just three seconds.* That can translate into a whole lot frustrated users and abandoned shopping carts.
This sort of data helps us, and people like you, figure out the right balance for different types of content. Maybe your home page needs to have a fast load time but your product pages, which are heavy with multiple images, may not because people are willing to wait little longer for content they are especially interested in. You can use this data to reduce bounce rates and provide relevant content in a format your users want.
Imagine this as a continuous cycle of user experience testing. Smart businesses use real-time data to drive better users experiences, continuously testing, deploying and measuring those experiences. Rinse and repeat. It helps you provide the online experience your customers want and your competitive business demands across all your properties: web sites, mobile devices and native apps. And as a marketer, I think that’s cool.
*Aberdeen Group, First Class Mobile Application Performance Management, Jim Rapoza, Aug 2012
Peter Galvin, SOASTA SVP of Marketing, authored this post.
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