PacketZoom Unveils Retail App Performance Index for Better Customer Engagement

PacketZoom CEO talks to MTS to explain factors that affect app performance and help marketers identify CDNs to bring excellent CX without disruptions.

CMOs are increasingly leveraging the power of mobile app to drive customer engagement in a more meaningful manner. For marketers who are yet to acknowledge the power of mobile app messaging and advertising, 2017 could turn out to be a major tearjerker for them. Despite advancements in predictive and customer behavior analytics, not many martech companies can help CMOs determine the exact nature of their app spending and the performance. To bridge the very gap in-app metrics and performance benchmarking, PacketZoom released its Retail App Performance Index.

How Retail App Performance Index helps you and your app performance?

Read on…

PacketZoom, a mobile app performance enabler, announced Retail App Performance Index as a benchmarking tool to measure the download metrics for content within the most popular retail apps. The index highlights how important download times are for retail apps, and how far most leading retail apps have to go to meet consumer expectations. As app developers turn to AI and IoT technologies to connect to their products, finding the true worth of each app becomes even more vital.

According to data from market research firm Dynatrace, a majority of consumers — 61% — expect pages within mobile retail apps to download completely in four seconds or less. Anything longer than that, and retailers risk frustrating their users and having them abandon the app or perhaps uninstall it completely. Despite knowing this, retail apps fail to capitalize their campaigns.

There are two reasons for this—

  • Adding too many requests or making the total file size too large
  • Not optimizing their app’s overall performance

PacketZoom identified that most major retail apps take at least two or three times that desired amount of time to download the main page.

PacketZoom’s Mobile App Retail Index benchmarks the performance of selected popular retail applications. The Index focuses on the most frequently visited page of each app and ranks them by average download time. The variability in download time is a result of both (1) app infrastructure and (2) design methodology. Brands that are ranked high are likely to use either advanced mobile acceleration technologies or minimal design approach (or both).

In addition to the current performance, the Mobile App Retail Index lists the download time of each app using PacketZoom Mobile Expresslane technology.

How Mobile App Retail Index lists download time?

Similar to web pages, mobile pages represent essentially a collection of content elements that are fetched from the server and rendered on the user app. From a networking point of view the communication back and forth is very similar between the two platforms, and as such the size of the content download combined with the number of elements that has to be fetched will affect the number of network round trips that will take place to download the entire page.

PacketZoom Retail Index Comparison
PacketZoom Retail Index Comparison

Other than the app design itself, other factors that affect the app performance are the network conditions, which may vary from one geo-location to the other.

MTS Speaks to CEO of PacketZoom

We had Shlomi Gian, CEO of PacketZoom responding to some of our queries on how app performance and Content Delivery Network (CDN) CDN are actually related.

Shlomi Gian
Shlomi Gian, CEO of PacketZoom

MTS: How CDN affects app performance? What can retailers do to overcome CDN challenges?

Shlomi Gian, CEO of PacketZoom (SG): CDNs are designed to speed up static and dynamic (API) content in what is called the “middle mile” (i.e. from one geo to another on the internet) but lack the ability to do so in the “last mile” (i.e. between a server in a given geo and the end use phone). As shown in the figure below PacketZoom focuses on the slow last mile and enhances the traditional CDN.

CDN has limitations and PacketZoom Mobile Expresslane removes those roadblocks in the last mile and speeds up content delivery. For retailers, it means more page views, enhanced user experience and an increase in conversions.

via PacketZoom
via PacketZoom
via PacketZoom
via PacketZoom

MTS: Mobile apps and retail services— what’s the hardest thing to manage in bringing excellent CX without disruptions?

SG: The hardest thing for mobile retail apps is to deliver a rich UX under poor network conditions. Large department stores are known to have poor cellular coverage and WiFi is not often unavailable. When searching for a product most apps leverage what’s called the carousel widget (or a long list of the search result) from which the customer can sort, filter and look up the product they want. This activity required a high level of connectivity (high throughput to download high res. images and a high number of connections), that will often fail when the surrounding networks cannot support.

(Thank you Shlomi for answering our queries)

After reviewing PacketZoom’s Retail App Performance Index, I realize that the CDN utilized by the app publisher plays a huge role in app performance. The PacketZoom report reveals that indeed Mobile app publishers have moved away from traditional CDN’s and are adopting newer ones (such as Amazon Cloudfront) that were created with mobile developers in mind.

What should App Marketers ideally be doing?

In order to optimize app page download times, PacketZoom recommends proper testing and monitoring using real devices during the design stage and not after. Too many mobile departments are “driving blind” by not having real-time access to user experience data. Real user monitoring for mobile apps is not difficult to employ and is offered by PacketZoom along with our Mobile Expresslane in-app technology.

Going forward, marketers can leverage PacketZoom’s in-app technology that is uniquely positioned as a CDN enhancer and not a CDN replacement. By removing roadblocks in the mobile last mile, in-app marketers can accelerate performance by 2x to 3x, rescue up to 80% of sessions from TCP connection drop and reduce CDN costs