Pixable logoPeople are increasingly communicating with one another via images rather than mere words—this is especially true of the Millennials, the first generation of true digital natives. The ubiquity of smartphone cameras coupled with the growing popularity of photo-sharing sites and apps like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook, means that the Web is becoming a more visual medium than ever before.

Based in New York City, Pixable is an innovative digital media publisher that seeks to combine visual storytelling with personalization technology to create an engaging media experience for Millennials (also referred to as “Generation Y”). Pixable is a true 21st-century media company, with products spanning mobile apps, desktop, mobile Web, and more. Pixable distributes content through its own products and also provides content marketing services to big brands and ad agencies looking to connect with those influential Millennials.

A readership on the go

When Pixable sought to improve the end-user experience for its more than six million customers, the company turned to New Relic to gain deep visibility into the performance of its mobile and Web applications. Insight into its mobile performance was particularly crucial, explains CTO Alberto Lopez, as the company had determined that more than 70% of users accessed the Pixable app through their mobile devices—not surprising, given the company’s overwhelmingly young audience.

Before and after

The company added nearly every element of the New Relic Platform to its arsenal, including New Relic APM, New Relic Browser, New Relic Mobile, and New Relic Insights. The change was profound. As Lopez sums it up: “At Pixable there is a ‘before New Relic’ and an ‘after New Relic,’ and when we discovered and started using New Relic, things changed pretty dramatically.”

Alberto Lopez, CTO of Pixable

Alberto Lopez, CTO of Pixable

According to Lead iOS Engineer Thomas Catterall, one of the most helpful features for monitoring the Pixable app is the user interaction traces in New Relic Mobile. “So if you tap a button and it shows you an article, for example, it gives us a breakdown of everything happening to deliver that article. Whether it’s disk access, rendering, slow network connections, or maybe the network request files altogether, we can easily see what is causing any issues and know exactly how to address it.”

Pixable’s small DevOps team uses the deployment markers in New Relic APM to ensure new releases aren’t negatively impacting performance for users. “Seeing deploys in a timeline is extremely useful because we can look at the past, and if there was a performance problem, know why it happened and whether or not it correlated with a recent deployment,” says Lopez.

More time to focus on what matters

Today, New Relic allows the company to react much more quickly to potential problems. “Here at Pixable, things that before were taking us probably hours or even days to detect … now it takes us minutes,” Lopez says. Web pages load much faster, greatly improving the end user experience. And he appreciates the fact that New Relic monitoring frees his employees to focus less on problems and more on what matters most: “Now that our engineering team no longer has to spend time digging through logs to monitor performance, we have a lot more time to focus on the product.”

To see how Pixable relies on New Relic to help share its stories, watch the video below:


To learn more, be sure to read the full Pixable customer case study.


Pixelation image courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

David Gaule is an editor at New Relic. Prior to joining the company, he served as senior editor for AllBusiness.com. Way back in the days of paper books, David held positions at HarperCollins Publishers and Little, Brown & Company. View posts by .

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