At Torbit we’re always looking for ways to make performance data more accessible, easier to use, and more integrated. Performance monitoring is a critical component to ensuring a useful site and happy customers. RUM data is the ultimate source of truth for that. We increasingly hear from our customers that they are integrating performance data into SLA’s for their teams and locking releases until a performance threshold is met. We want to encourage more of our clients to use their performance data to make decisions about their sites and businesses and because of this we’re proud to announce the new Torbit Insight API.
The Insight API is a simple REST API that returns JSON results. Any of the data you see in the reports on Torbit.com can also be accessed via the API (in fact we use the API ourselves to generate those reports). This makes it possible to pull your Torbit Insight data into your own reporting tools and monitoring systems. Now you can integrate performance monitoring even deeper into your development workflow and business tracking.
So whether you just want to have access to your data outside of the Torbit.com interface or you want truly deep integration of the performance metrics of your site into other systems, the Torbit Insight API makes it all simple and easy. If you’d like to start diving into your data via the API just let us know at email@example.com and we can get you started today.
Tracking your website performance with a RUM (Real User Measurement) tool like Torbit Insight is a critical first step for all websites. It’s impossible to know how your site is performing without tracking it regularly and RUM is one of the best ways to do this.
Once you have a baseline idea of how your site is performing using the standard metrics like Page Ready and Page Load it can be extremely valuable to start using your own site specific events to track performance. For instance, maybe “Above the fold” time or the time that it takes for users to be able to interact with the sidebar navigation is actually a more significant performance metric to track with your visitors. Steve Souders recently posted about the importance of moving beyond “window.onload()” and we couldn’t agree more. This is why we’re proud to announce the addition of custom event tracking in Torbit Insight.
With custom events, you can instrument your page to track any relevant timing metric and see all the same reports you know and love in Torbit Insight. The simplest example is tracking a different load time metric (something other than Page Load or Page Ready, which are included by default) – for example “Sidebar loaded”. To add tracking for this custom event, you’d simply need to add the following code snippet at the point in the page where you consider the sidebar to be fully loaded.
So start tracking your own custom events and get an even better view into your site’s performance and how it’s impacting your business. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get custom events added to your Insight account.
Here at Torbit we’re always working to make our Insight tool more useful and more accessible. The performance of your site is critical for your site’s success as we’ve seen time and again the strong correlation between speed and user engagement. Knowing just how important speed is to your business has always been a core part of our product. Tracking your performance is critical for everyone in the organization from the frontend developers to the CEO, and now we’ve made it easier than ever to have everyone involved in monitoring your site’s performance.
We’re happy to announce that you can now have multiple users in your Torbit account. This allows everyone in the company to have their own login and still access all the critical performance data Torbit provides. To add new users to your account simply click Account -> Manage Accounts -> Settings and find the “Add a User” section. Here you simply provide the new user’s email address and, optionally, their job title. They’ll then be invited to create a Torbit account or immediately added to your account if they’re already a Torbit user. You can see what this looks like in the screen shot below.
This has been one of our most requested features and we’re excited to make it available. We hope you’ll take this chance to share your performance data with your entire team.
It’s important to look at the distribution of your data when considering your performance. I’ve written before about the dangers of only looking at your average loading time. Averages can be very misleading. I’ve seen plenty of sites that have a 4 second average loading time, but a 20 second 90th percentile loading time. That’s why we offer a histogram view and always encourage our customers to track their goals using their 90th or 95th percentile loading time.
We’ve also had requests to include the geometric mean as one of our featured metrics. We thought that was a great idea and geometric mean is now featured on your Torbit dashboard along with your existing metrics (Median, Average, 90th Percentile, 95th Percentile, and 99th Percentile).
For those of you who are unfamiliar with a geometric mean, here is a quick explanation of what this new metric means for you and your performance data.
As you know, there are a lot of different factors that influence how fast your website loads. The geographic proximity of your server to your visitors has a big impact on your speed. It also makes a difference which browser each visitor is using and whether they are on a fast internet connection or not. When you look at your performance data as a whole, you are seeing the combination of many independent variables. When looking at end user performance data, it usually looks like the graph below. The data does not take a normal distribution shape, as it is skewed to the right. However, if you took the logarithm of all the data and re-graphed, you would have a normal distribution, or the standard bell curve. Thus, this is called a log-normal distribution.
The arithmetic mean (what we usually think of as an average) is very susceptible to outliers. In pageload times, it’s easy to have a few really slow data points that skew your data. It’s not a problem if you have a normal distribution since the outliers balance each other out (both visually and mathamatically). The problem is, we don’t have a normal distribution, we have a log-normal distribution. As it turns out, when you have a log-normal distribution, the geometric mean is a much better way of representing the central tendency of your data.
A geometric mean is calculated by multiplying your data points together and taking the nth root (n being the number of data points you have) of that resulting product. With this calculation, the geometric mean normalizes the ranges being averaged, so that no range dominates the weighting, and a given percentage change in any of the properties has the same effect on the geometric mean. In this way, the geometric mean helps with outliers so they don’t have undue weight. To learn more about geometric mean, I’d recommend heading to wikipedia for a more in-depth explanation of how it is calculated and when it’s most useful.
Your geometric mean will likely be the lowest value on your dashboard, but we didn’t just add this to make you feel better about your site speed. Our goal is always to give you more transparency and a more holistic view into your website performance.
We’ve been growing rapidly since launching Torbit Insight at the end of April. We are already processing billions of pageviews every month and are currently processing about 15,000 metrics every second. If you’re curious, we’ve added a real time counter to the bottom of our homepage that shows the live number.
We know these numbers can get a bit mind boggling and they’re not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. As part of our growth plan, our engineers have completely rebuilt the backend of Torbit Insight. Our new “big data” store will allow us to continue our rapid growth while also making it easier to add new features at scale.
As some of you noticed, our old backend was starting to struggle a bit under the load. I apologize to those of you who reported missing data or other weird issues in the last couple weeks. Thank you for bearing with us. The new backend should bring a lot more stability and reliability going forward. Otherwise, your experience should be largely unaffected. We’ve kept most of the features the same and your data has already been imported into the new system. The conversion tab will look a little different for now as it’s being revamped to work with our new collection system. If you see anything else unusual, please let us know.
We’ve been gathering feature requests from our customers for a while. With this launch, our team will be able to focus again on rolling out the features you’ve been waiting for. If we have other suggestions you want us to consider, feel free to send your suggestions directly to me at email@example.com. We love having customers engaged early in the development process as it helps keep us on track.
A huge thanks to our team and especially Jon and Mike on this important accomplishment.
Today, we are proud to announce a new product called Torbit Insight. Torbit Insight is a Real User Measurement (RUM) tool that allows website owners to see the actual loading times for every visitor to their site. The best part is that it also lets you see the correlation between your web page speed and core business metrics like your bounce rate and conversion rate.
For the last year and a half at Torbit we have focused on making the Internet a faster place for everyone. Businesses rely on our Site Optimizer product to make their websites load fast because they understand that page speed is crucial to their bottom line. Now, with the launch of Insight, website owners have an easy tool to evaluate how fast their site is loading and quantify how much performance matters to their business.
Massive websites like Amazon have the statistics to show that a 0.1 second delay in load time can lead to a 1% drop in their sales. But what about everyone else? What do slow load times mean for your business? We wanted to build a tool to show how important speed is for everyone, from top Internet retailers, to media properties, to startups. There was simply nothing out there that tied it all together to help make a business case for web performance.
Torbit Insight uses data that has only recently become available in browsers to show you the speed of each visitor navigating to your website. Rather than rounding everything into an average, we show you key metrics like the median page load speed along with load times of the 90th, 95th and 99th percentiles of your visitors. These additional metrics are an important differentiator for Insight since performance data has frequent outliers, and the data can be quite misleading if you only consider averages.
With graphs that correlate page speed to your bounce rate as well as conversion rates, Torbit Insight helps you understand in real-time where your site is slow and why. We’ll show you where your visitors are coming from and suggest optimizations that can be made on the front-end to drastically increase your website’s performance.
Dozens of top sites across the Internet are already using Insight, including top retailers like Wayfair and large media properties like the Cheezburger Network. Recently we made a video with Jonathan Klein who leads the performance team at Wayfair. Here is what he had to say:
Today, we’re rolling out Insight with three plans: Free, Standard and Premium. We’ve worked hard to build this product and we’re incredibly excited to get to finally share it with you. We look forward to hearing your feedback as we continue to do everything we can to make the internet a faster and better place for everyone.