• Technology

The Ultimate Guide to Real User Monitoring (RUM) for Enhanced Website Performance

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 5 min read
The Ultimate Guide to Real User Monitoring (RUM) for Enhanced Website Performance


What if we told you that reporting on website performance is only scratching the surface when it comes to understanding user experience? It's true – all businesses need the ability to leverage real user data to optimize their websites for speed, errors, and other issues impacting the overall site experience.

This is where advanced Real User Monitoring (RUM) comes into play, offering critical insights for businesses of all sizes.

Real User Monitoring

Exploring Advanced Real User Monitoring (RUM)

For years, RUM has been a key component of top-rated website monitoring suites. The latest advancements in RUM allow websites to analyze real user data through various lenses, including:

  1. User Satisfaction
  2. Time to Interactive (TTI)
  3. Error Rate (and most changed)
  4. Load Time (AJAX and page load)

This data is then categorized based on URL(s), devices, operating systems, browsers, and geographic locations, providing invaluable insights for Site Reliability Engineers (SREs), IT, and DevOps teams.

Understanding How RUM Works

RUM records anonymous user interactions with websites or applications to determine speed and error rates. This data helps ensure a better experience for visitors and allows SaaS companies to meet contractual standards and obligations. Configuring RUM checks and analyzing reports is now easier than ever, thanks to user-friendly interfaces and efficient performance monitoring.

Key Features of Advanced RUM

Advanced RUM is packed with features designed to offer a comprehensive understanding of website performance. Some of these features include:

  • Apdex Score Monitoring
  • AJAX Load Time Breakdown
  • Bounce Rate vs. Session Monitoring
  • Bounce Rate vs. Load Time Monitoring
  • Bounce Rate vs. Errors Monitoring
  • Bounce Rate by Segment Monitoring
  • Website Error Monitoring
  • Page Load Time Breakdown Monitoring
  • Page Load Time Trend Monitoring
  • Real User Monitoring by Device
  • Real User Monitoring by OS
  • Real User Monitoring by Browser
  • Real User Monitoring by Geography
  • Single Page Application (SPA) Support
  • Raw RUM Data Export (On Roadmap)
  • Real-Time Alert Notifications (On Roadmap)

The Importance of Apdex Score in RUM

Apdex score is a crucial metric in RUM, as it measures user satisfaction levels based on response time. Apdex scores are categorized into three levels: Satisfied, Tolerated, and Frustrated. By tracking Apdex scores, businesses can gain a better understanding of their users' experiences and make necessary adjustments to improve satisfaction levels.

The Importance of Apdex Score in RUM

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Track with RUM

Monitoring the right KPIs is crucial for businesses looking to optimize their website performance. Some of the essential KPIs to track with RUM include:

  • Page load time
  • Time to interactive
  • Error rates
  • Bounce rates, and
  • User satisfaction scores.

Tracking these KPIs helps businesses identify areas of improvement and set achievable goals for enhancing the user experience.

Leveraging RUM Data to Optimize User Experience

Utilizing RUM data to improve user experience involves comparing current performance thresholds to pre-set baselines. This helps businesses identify speed and error issues, allowing them to take action and improve the overall site performance and user experience.

RUM data can also be used to create customized reports that highlight specific areas of concern, making it easier for teams to prioritize and address performance issues.

RUM for Different Industry Verticals

RUM can be applied across various industries. For a few examples:

  • E-commerce: For online retailers, RUM can be invaluable in understanding customer behavior, identifying bottlenecks in the checkout process, and optimizing product pages for faster load times.
  • Media and Publishing: In the media and publishing industry, RUM can help identify slow-loading articles, images, or videos that negatively impact user engagement and content consumption.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): SaaS companies rely on RUM to monitor the performance of their applications, ensuring they meet contractual service level agreements (SLAs) and provide a seamless user experience.
  • Healthcare: In the healthcare sector, RUM can be employed to monitor the performance of patient portals, telemedicine platforms, and electronic health record (EHR) systems.

Each industry has unique performance requirements, and RUM provides the necessary insights to optimize user experience based on specific business needs. By tailoring RUM data to specific industry requirements, businesses can ensure they are providing the best possible experience for their users.

Leigh McKenzie of UnderFit.com states: "Advanced RUM has been invaluable for our online store. It helps us optimize load times and make data-driven decisions, ensuring a seamless shopping experience that keeps customers converting and returning."

RUM vs. Synthetic Monitoring: Complementary Techniques

Real User Monitoring (RUM) and synthetic monitoring are two complementary techniques used to evaluate website and application performance from different perspectives.

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RUM vs. Synthetic Monitoring: Complementary Techniques

RUM captures and analyzes data from actual users interacting with a website or application in real-time. This provides insights into user behavior, load times, error rates, and overall user experience, allowing businesses to optimize their website based on real-world performance.

Synthetic monitoring, on the other hand, involves simulating user interactions with a website or application using automated scripts or bots. This method helps identify potential issues, such as slow load times or broken links, before they affect real users. Synthetic monitoring also allows businesses to test their website performance under various conditions, such as different devices, browsers, and network speeds.

Combining RUM with Synthetic Transaction Checks

One of the most exciting aspects of advanced RUM is the potential to combine it with synthetic transaction checks. This allows businesses to immediately notify stakeholders when critical website pathways, such as login forms, buttons, and carts, fail, ensuring a seamless front-end performance. Synthetic transaction checks can also help businesses identify issues before they affect real users, enabling proactive issue resolution and improved user experiences.

Choosing the Right RUM Solution

Whether you're new to RUM or a long-time user, it's essential to select a solution that meets your specific needs. Researching the various data points collected by advanced RUM checks can help you make an informed decision. Factors to consider when choosing a RUM solution include ease of implementation, feature set, data granularity, scalability, and cost.

Implementing RUM for Continuous Improvement

Implementing RUM as part of your performance monitoring strategy can lead to continuous improvement in your website's user experience. By regularly analyzing RUM data and making data-driven optimizations, businesses can ensure that their websites continue to meet and exceed user expectations. Continuous improvement also helps businesses stay ahead of their competitors and maintain a strong online presence.

The Impact of RUM on SEO and Search Rankings

RUM not only helps improve user experience but can also positively impact search engine rankings. Search engines like Google prioritize websites with fast load times and a smooth user experience. By optimizing your website based on RUM data, you can potentially improve your search engine rankings, leading to increased visibility and organic traffic.


What is Real User Monitoring (RUM)?

  • Real User Monitoring (RUM) is a performance monitoring tool that captures and analyzes real user interactions with websites or applications. RUM helps businesses optimize their websites for speed, errors, and overall user experience, leading to improved conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

What are the key differences between RUM and synthetic monitoring?

  • RUM captures data from real users interacting with a website or application, while synthetic monitoring uses simulated user interactions to identify potential issues. Combining RUM and synthetic monitoring can provide a comprehensive understanding of website performance and help businesses address issues from multiple perspectives.

How can RUM help improve conversion rates?

  • RUM provides insights into user behavior, load times, and error rates. By analyzing this data, businesses can identify and rectify issues that may be negatively impacting their conversion rates. RUM can also be used for A/B testing different site elements to determine which variations perform best and drive higher conversion rates.
Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins


is the Co-founder of Ranktracker, With over 10 years SEO Experience. He's in charge of all content on the SEO Guide & Blog, you will also find him managing the support chat on the Ranktracker App.

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