What is Real User Monitoring?
Editorial note: I originally wrote this post for the Monitis blog. You can check out the original here, at their site. While you’re there, have a look around at their assortment of monitoring solutions.
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “real user monitoring” in passing. Our industry generates no shortage of buzzwords, many of the them vague and context dependent. So you could be forgiven for scratching your head at this term.
Let’s go through it in some detail, in order to provide clarity. But to do that, I’m going to walk you through the evolution of circumstance that created a demand for real user monitoring. You can most easily understand a solution by first understanding the problem that it solves.
A Budding Entrepreneur’s Website
Let’s say that the entrepreneurial bug bites you. You decide to build some kind of software as a service (SaaS) product. Obviously, you need some time to build it and make it production ready, so you pick a target go-live date months from now.
But you know enough about marketing to know that you should start building hype now. So, you put together a WordPress site and start a blog, looking to build a following. Then, excited to get going, you make a series of post.
And then, nothing. I mean, you didn’t expect to hit the top of Hacker News, but you expected… something. No one comments on social media or emails you to congratulate you or anything at all.
Frustrated, you decide to add a commenting plugin and some social media share buttons. This, you reason, will provide a lower friction means of offering feedback. And still, absolutely nothing. Now you begin to wonder if your host provider hasn’t played a cruel trick on you in which it only serves the site when you visit.
The Deafening Lack of Feedback
If perhaps it sounds like I empathize, that’s because I sincerely do. Years and years ago when I started my first blog, I posted into the ether. I had no idea if anyone read those early posts. Of course, I was just having a good time putting my opinions out there and not trying to make a living, so I didn’t worry. But nevertheless, I eventually felt frustrated.
The frustration arises from a lack of feedback. You take some actions and then have no ability to see what affect they have. Sure, you can see the post go live in your browser, but are you reaching anyone? Has a single person read the post? Or have thousands read the post and found it boring? It’s like writing some code, but you’re required to hand it off to someone else to compile, run, and observe. You feel blind.