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Mobile application monitoring: the state of the art in 2021

The year 2020 is going down in history for many reasons, one of which was the evolution of mobile usage. Mobile application monitoring, once overlooked or underestimated, has now become indispensable. But how can you monitor mobile applications, whether native or web-based? What’s the best solution? This article aims to clarify these subjects.

State of the market: the mobile boom of 2020

M-commerce, or mobile commerce, already very popular before 2020, skyrocketed last year during the global pandemic and an acceleration in the use of mobile devices. According to economists, we even sprang forward by 2 or 3 years in the space of 12 months, the first-ever leap of such magnitude.

This is what emerges in 3 key figures from the findings of an App Annie study of the mobile market in 2021:

  • The number of downloads increased by 7% to reach 218 billion in 2020.
  • Average consumption per person rose by 20% to 4 hours a day, primarily on B2C applications like streaming video, the biggest audience magnets especially during lockdowns.
  • The growth in revenues generated on mobile platforms for online shopping reached 20%, which amounted to 143 billion euros in 2020. This was the strongest year on record!

Rise of all collaborative applications

In 2021, mobile internet traffic amounted to 55.56% of total internet traffic worldwide, well over half. Smartphones have thus become the reference device for end users.

This rapid evolution has also led to a phenomenal rise of all collaborative applications, like Teams, Zoom, etc. The chart below speaks for itself: on a global scale, there was growth of 300% from Q1 2020 to Q4 2020. The European scene alone saw growth of 100% over the past year.

Mobile trends in 2021

As for mobile trends in 2021, Forbes sums them up in 4 priority areas:

  • The user or coworker moves from in-person to virtual: for IT and business managers, interactions must be redesigned toward ‘virtual first’, where client interactions are dematerialized to enable remote self-service usage modes
  • Better remote collaboration using collaborative applications or via VPN
  • A focus on security aspects
  • Promoting ease of use and user comfort

Regarding technology, the past year confirms the trends that had been shaping up over the preceding years. Application vendors are still trending away from stores (App Store, Google Play) by developing web-based mobile applications or PWAs rather than native apps.

How are mobile apps monitored?

The technical chain of mobile consumption is made up of 3 elements: the user, the application on the device, and any remote servers where the application gets content.

For native applications:

Each of the 3 elements can be monitored with separate solutions:

  • Server APM by positioning sensors on the server side to gain insights into how well the server is operating
  • SDK (Software Development Kit) by inserting code into the applications to gain full visibility into how well the application is operating
  • Robots which can pilot the device and navigate the application without interfering with the inner workings of the phone


For web-based applications:

The same logic applies to PWAs/web-based applications. The only difference is the technology which is used to monitor the application on the device, as SDK is not relevant for web-based apps. In this case, Real-user monitoring (RUM) instruments the web components that are on the application to provide insights into the how well the application is operating.

Comparison of mobile monitoring solutions

The SDK and RUM see into 100% of sessions. To distinguish between them (apart from their consecrated use on either web or native apps), it is important to consider diagnostics and ease of deployment.

What is the ideal solution?

The ideal solution for mobile monitoring must be able to:

  • monitor native mobile applications as well as web-based mobile applications
  • factor in the crucial, sensitive subject of security, for example with the new two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • run on real devices
  • be up-to-date with the most recent versions (iOS, Android)
  • detect incidents
  • be user friendly, with good ergonomics

How Ekara can help you monitor your mobile applications

Ekara has the ability to monitor your mobile application on real devices, with data centers across Europe and in China. It is also possible to install dedicated server farms and project to your infrastructures.

The second technology that we have to offer, Cloud Android, consists of a fleet of ARM servers at 14 measurement points around the world. Again, it is also possible to use Cloud Android within your data center.

For even greater customization, we have a third proposal, where you can select the device of your choice. This is the way to go when you want to measure a B2B application associated with a particular kind of device, as is the case with parcel tracking apps or ticket-checking applications on public transportation.

Ekara thus accommodates every type of physical or virtual device.

6 key points make Ekara a one-of-a-kind solution

Discover in the video how to create a mobile user journey with Ekara Studio.



  • handles native apps as well as web-based mobile applications
  • uses real mobile devices to obtain realistic measurements of performance
  • runs the latest iOS and Android to match user experience
  • centralizes your monitoring (mobile, web, business) within a single solution: the Studio lets you steer mobile and web monitoring
  • accommodates the latest authentication methods (2FA in particular)
  • is easy to use and deploy: a robot can be rolled out in just 15 minutes!


To find out more, we invite you to view or review the replay of the webinar on mobile application monitoring!