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HeadSpin Helped a Global Consumer Subscription App Load Faster

How HeadSpin Helped a Global Consumer Subscription App Load Faster?

February 15, 2020
Rohan SinghRohan Singh
Rohan Singh

Uncovering a problem

Recently, HeadSpin’s Digital Experience AI Platform detected several critical performance issues occurring with a global consumer subscription app in Singapore. We presented them with the following information collected from real devices running their app on real networks in Singapore.

Images were performing very poorly

Images were loading so slowly that they were crippling performance and jeopardizing user engagement. The app was taking 36.089 seconds just to download images.

CDN and API connections were problematic

Both API and CDN performance were crippling app performance.

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Some SDKs were slow

HeadSpin showed engineers that many 3rd Party SDKs were connecting slowly for users in Singapore.

Root Cause of These Issues

When we looked more closely at how the app was handling requests, we found that that API and CDN IPs were mapping to servers in North America instead of to local servers near Singapore.

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Requests originating from Singapore and mapping to servers in North America were resulting in high hop times, high TTFB and poor user experience.

Root causes of performance issue

Adding Value

Based on insights provided by HeadSpin, engineers were able to quickly and seamlessly move to a CDN with lower latency and fix problematic API connections. App performance in Singapore returned to normal, bringing value to the company in a variety of ways:

Identifying unknown issues

HeadSpin proactively uncovered previously unknown/unidentified performance issues. Without HeadSpin, these issues would have likely gone unseen and unfixed, negatively impacting conversion rates and revenues in Singapore.

Read: Fixing mobile app performance issues

Understanding local problems — remotely

With HeadSpin, the company was able to trace and fix a very local problem — in a location where they didn’t have an engineering presence or resources — all from the comfort of web browsers in California. With HeadSpin engineers remotely accessed devices in Singapore and debugged real-world performance issues without having to hire local resources. Rather, they could experience the app the way that real users in Singapore did.

Arriving at a solution — efficiently

HeadSpin’s performance sessions helped engineers efficiently understand the root cause of issues. Enacting a solution took second, not weeks — helping developers remain productive. They didn’t have to search for a needle in a haystack to understand what was happening.

Protecting user engagement

As is the case with most consumer subscription apps, business success is fueled by strong user engagement. By eliminating slow image downloads and preventing further negative user experiences, HeadSpin helped position the company for continued user engagement, improved revenue conversion and sustained business success in the Singapore market.

Also read: Understanding Mobile Compatibility Testing - Why your application needs it


  • The app was taking > 1 minute perform basic operations essential to the user’s experience.
  • After images downloaded, the app was taking an additional ~9 seconds to render them.
  • Average TTFB for API server was ~ 700+ ms — but some API server TTFB were > 2 seconds.
  • 3p SDKs like AppsFlyer were taking > 1 second to establish a TLS connection.
  • API IPs were mapping to — an AWS server near Seattle.
  • The CDN IP was mapping to which was in North America as well
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How HeadSpin Helped a Global Consumer Subscription App Load Faster?

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