RUM vs. other monitoring tools

RUM vs synthetic monitoring

Synthetic Monitoring creates synthetic interactions with your website to predict performance and monitor uptime. Because it uses scripts to predict behavior, it can’t account for the complex ways users navigate your apps—it will only test for what you ask it to. 

Real user monitoring, on the other hand, takes data from how real users are experiencing your app. RUM is a passive form of monitoring and sits in the background constantly analyzing how your application is performing for end users.

RUM vs Google Analytics

A common question about RUM is “Can’t I just use Google Analytics to find slow loading pages?”

Technically you can, but Google Analytics (GA) isn’t a competitor to RUM, and you’ll need to run both as part of your monitoring and analytics strategy. The main difference is that GA looks at where site visitors came from, and how effective marketing channels are in terms of traffic. RUM, on the other hand, is designed specifically for development teams to identify and solve problems within their control, for example, which assets are slowest.

A few more differences are:

  • GA uses sampled data for reporting purposes, which can show different results for large datasets
  • No code-level performance view. You can see that there is a slow loading page, but GA doesn’t tell you why
  • GA can’t give you any user identifiable information, unlike RUM, which allows you to reach out to frustrated users easily

Although both include browser, platform, and device data, RUM should be the choice for your development team.