User Segments that Cannot Rely on Real User Monitoring

Statistics for mobile traffic

Real User Monitoring (RUM) has been discussed in great details and what it can provide for companies with mobile app, game or website. It’s has been also stated that Real User Monitoring will be a standard approach for many companies to get how their product does in the wild. However, in many cases, the RUM approach is not possible during the development and not even after release.

In this article, we’ll take a look of few important mobile monitoring user groups that should not rely on real user monitoring and why this is the case for these user segments. Furthermore, this article provides some reason why these app development ‘verticals’ get much better value out from synthetic mobile monitoring.

User Segments that cannot use RUM

Real User Monitoring is typically categorized as passive monitoring that is used to capture traffic from a network stack. This sort of data is also useful for performance measurement and analysis on which areas need improvements and optimization. However, passive monitoring is not necessarily an ideal way for several different types of app developers as it exposes application to users or simply app cannot be used with real users before the launch.

Passive monitoring differs from synthetic monitoring in that it relies on actual inbound web traffic to take measurements, so problems can only be discovered after they have occurred. Synthetic monitoring is also referred to as active monitoring, which helps alerting when something happens on system availability, performance and generally non-functional behavior.

Statistics for mobile traffic

Why do this matter? Both Real User Monitoring and Synthetic Mobile Monitoring have been created for a need as the web traffic has been quickly climbing during the past few years. For example, currently close to 70% of the traffic to any popular website is already from mobile. Additionally another 30-40% of the traffic to your back-end comes from your native Android and iOS apps. This means that some 80% of total users for many popular services (especially ecommerce or entertainment) come from mobile.

Let’s take a look at few developer profiles that RUM probably doesn’t work that well – and who probably get more value, stability and better results from synthetic mobile monitoring.

Mobile Advertising Technologies

Mobile advertising is growing faster than all other form of digital advertising, as advertisers begin allocating dollars to catch the eyes of a growing group of “mobile-first” users.

What comes with ads today and what are the most used formats? Display and video are the fastest growing mobile ad formats and digital ad dollars have been quickly shifting from desktop to mobile. In fact, this trend started already few years ago. And as the global mobile display and mobile video ad revenues are estimated to double at an astonishing rate between 2016 and 2020, this makes mobile advertising technology ‘vertical’ a tremendous growth market that nobody should not ignore.

So why RUM is not an ideal way for mobile advertising technology providers to monitor mobile app behavior on variety of different locations, devices that users have/use, and even different networks and user conditions? It basically starts how those ads are built today. App developers that integrate these ad technologies into their apps should also integrate the used SDK to the app and they would get the data of how application performs and works on hands of those end-users.

But mobile advertising technology providers do not. And typically it there is a problem with the platform, compatibility with certain OS version, device or something coming from the form factor, mobile advertising technology providers should be the ones using synthetic mobile monitoring instead of RUM.

Gambling and Casino Applications

Gambling and Casino applications – especially when real money is involved – are not allowed to be shared through Google Play and Apple App Store. For example, Google’s developer program states that:

Gambling: We don’t allow content or services that facilitate online gambling, including but not limited to, online casinos, sports betting and lotteries, or games of skill that offer prizes of cash or other value.”

There are tons of reasons why neither Google or Apple doesn’t (probably) want to advocate and allow sharing of these types of apps in their app stores. From regulations (for each and every country to be different with regulations) to payments and bunch of other things, these “apps” have been built to be HTML5 based applications.

There is no app market problem, but people can play those with a browser and device, but nevertheless using real user monitoring for these types of apps is and has never been favored by their developers. Instead, the synthetic mobile monitoring approach is popular among this user group and apps can be tested, monitored and optimized in real user conditions using synthetic mobile monitoring approach.

Streaming Media Providers

When streaming any content via Internet, problems can be encountered due to bandwidth changes and irregularity. Mobile network performance parameters may often cause the broadcast to freeze, and harm the quality of the viewing (end-user) experience, and make the use of the service impossible.

But media streaming usage and capabilities must be constantly monitored by streaming service providers in order to align network resources with bandwidth demand. When comparing real-user monitoring and synthetic mobile monitoring for these types of applications, streaming media providers do not get the network level data from viewers nor they will get video quality parameters how video actually was shown on screen of any device.

For this synthetic mobile monitoring is really the only approach to provide rich/diverse and reliable results of how stream would actually work for end-user. In addition, a wide variety of protocols and standards that are used for streaming require tools that can provide insight into end-user experience of a streaming session.


FinTech – also known as applications or computer programs and other technology that are used to support or enable banking and financial services – is naturally one of those verticals that is highly regulated. Testing and monitoring application with real users is not possible. That would mean that certain data, information about users, their transactions etc. would be delivered to an app provider. Sending user data to the 3rd party vendor is definitely something that blocks the use of real user monitoring for FinTech and naturally favored model would (again) to use synthetic mobile monitoring.

Security and secure integration of required back-ends is a top criteria for mobile banking and payment providers. Payments implemented in mobile apps rely on various technologies that must be bullet-proof and secure to be integrated as a part of the app. Monitoring payments and transactions on real networks, using various global locations is the top requirement for mobile apps and websites.

Based on this, mobile monitoring is still top priority and highly important for FinTech providers. Yet, the only real option that would get all the important end-user experience data and performance analysis would come from the use of synthetic mobile monitoring.

Service Integrators

If you use a company to build your application, service, transactions or any part of the vital revenue generation, it’s never recommended for them to use real users as a testbed. Using real users and whatever is integrated with your application, it’s not always possible to share things around for real users, but instead doing the same type of monitoring on synthetic mobile monitoring platform is the prefer model for these players.

What other segments or user groups you think can’t use real user monitoring? Let us know in the comment section below!

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