Mobile app developers must provide constant availability and a flawless user experience in a congested and competitive market to reduce abandonment. According to a report, users downloaded more than 218 billion mobile apps in 2020 and spend over four hours per day using these apps.
A vital point to note is that this number has only increased over the last three years, indicating the popularity of apps and the need for mobile app monitoring and mobile analytics that allow your apps to function flawlessly.
Mobile analytics lets you know what’s going on with your apps and what steps you can take to address any issues by revealing how apps are functioning and why they fail. With the correct monitoring solution, you can prevent issues from occurring and improve user satisfaction.
Mobile app maintenance and monitoring pose particular challenges because mobile apps run on a variety of devices. It’s crucial to continuously check your app’s performance and how your users are interacting with it and the faults they are encountering to make sure that your app consistently provides excellent user experiences.
What Is Mobile App Monitoring?
Mobile app monitoring involves tracking important app performance metrics to keep track of your app’s performance and any potential quality problems. Several factors such as the application code, the device, the server managing the data and the network giving the connection, impact app performance.
Monitoring and analyzing mobile applications helps track its performance and helps take necessary preventive and corrective steps. This is vital as apps that don’t perform seamlessly across devices and operating systems hamper user experience.
Such users typically delete the app and switch to another one. You can examine the number of crashes on your app over a given time frame to get an idea of how frequently crashes happen. End-user reports of crashes are also helpful, although you may face some challenges to link them to particular problems over time.
Key Metrics for Assessing the Performance and Health of Your App
Mobile consumers want their apps to respond swiftly to taps, swipes and inputs, as compared to online users who may be used to waiting a second after engaging with a web application. Numerous performance problems might harm the user’s experience with your application.
These problems can be challenging to discover in pre-production due to a variety of devices that are available with different specifications and the inherent regional unreliability of mobile networks.
To identify problems that need to be fixed as soon as possible, it’s crucial to understand when and where your customers are encountering glitches, such as freezes, crashes, slow loading of vital UI components, application not responding (ANR) errors and battery loss.
Below are some key metrics for assessing the performance and health of your app. By monitoring these metrics over a period of time you can get an idea of how well your app is performing and also make sure your team is kept aware if the performance of your app deviates from the service level objective.
This can contribute significantly in improving mobile app development efforts over time.
App Start Time
Your app’s first startup time creates a crucial first impression that will impact the user’s satisfaction and, in turn, have an impact on your app’s store ratings and user retention. Slow starts in payment apps or mobile boarding passes can lead to frustration, while faster startups result in long-lasting user interaction with your app.
In such scenarios, it is important to keep an eye on how your app performs under load both during cold starts and warm starts. Cold start is when none of the processes are active and warm start is when some app from the previous session is still available. If your app is experiencing long cold starts, segmenting user data based on things like device kind, app version and location might help you identify potential problems.
Regional network latency, for instance, can have a significant impact on your app’s load time if it necessitates downloading a lot of data via network requests. If you notice that a lot of users are having trouble starting your app quickly, you can consider reducing the number of resources needed to display your app’s initial UI. Since some of the application is already put into memory during warm starts, they should be completed faster than cold starts.
View Processing Times
Customers may be dissatisfied with slow display, scrolling latency or slow responses to touch-based activities which may lead to an impression that they don’t have direct control. It is recommended that each frame in your app’s runtime should not exceed 17 milliseconds to render. A UI frame that takes longer than 700 ms to render is a frozen frame.
Android will raise an application not responding (ANR) error and display a dialogue box with a kill button if a frozen frame lasts longer than five seconds. When the main thread is unresponsive for at least 250 ms, Apple records it as the app hangs. Instead of raising an ANR, the iOS will crash your app.
You can keep track of which areas of your app are behaving slowly by monitoring the frame rate of views across your app and keeping an eye out for frozen frames, ANRs and app hangs. It is important to remember that the main thread of your program should not be used for time-consuming operations, slow I/O operations or lengthy network requests as they can result in frozen frames and ANRs.
Distributed tracing allows you to track requests as they move through your app’s architecture to find bottleneck-causing delayed network and other service calls. It is a method of tracking application requests as they move from frontend devices to backend services and databases.
To handle tasks like recommendations, authentication and account storage, almost all mobile apps make use of some sort of backend service infrastructure. Network connectivity is a frequent cause of performance degradation as your app can’t connect to its backend services.
Thus, it is crucial to keep track of the network traffic, both from your app and between all of your backend services, to identify any outages that can affect the availability of your services. The traditional RED (requests, errors, duration) metrics for network requests made by your app and your backend services can help in identifying the problems.
A network outage is indicated by an increase in average latency and timeout errors, especially if they are concentrated in a certain area. Simultaneously, you must also keep an eye on how many queries your app is sending.
Apps that are frequently making background network queries can cause hardware resource overuse and battery exhaustion. If your app is making too many network requests, you may consider retaining additional data on the user’s device or ask the user to manually refresh to load the most recent content.
Use of Resources
Irrespective of the operating system, customers will use a wide range of devices with various hardware setups. This implies that knowing how resource-intensive your app is might help you understand how it performs across different devices.
For instance, you can identify problems that lead to overheating, battery exhaustion, high disk utilization and out-of-memory errors when your software consumes more memory than the OS allows. This is done by keeping an eye on how much CPU and memory your application uses.
Measuring the average number of CPU ticks per second for each view throughout a user session is one technique to monitor the CPU consumption of your app. By doing so, you may determine which views are using the most CPU and direct your optimization efforts in that direction.
You may identify trouble areas for your app’s memory use that may be causing out-of-memory problems or device delays by analyzing the average memory usage of each view. Additionally, it’s crucial to monitor the disk space your app is using. If your app is using up too much of the customer’s device’s hard drives, they might decide to delete it to make room for other stuff.