Will Scully-Power

Tag Optimisation Research – which tags are slowing down site performance?
August 18, 2009, 1:27 am
Filed under: Web Analytics

Traking Tags

A new study from Tagman into the effect of third-party tracking tags on site download times and data reporting has been released. In short, the main findings were:

1) Tags really do slow down your page

The slowest-loading assets on site pages in our study were tracking tags, taking as much as 250ms. Based on the study, a delay of around one second causes approximately 10% of users to abandon the page, suggesting that four tags on the page could lose you 10% of your visitors.

2) Tag position needs careful consideration

If page load speeds are slow then very different figures will be reported depending on where tags are placed and the relative effect of the tag will be far less. In our test, hecklerspray.com achieved a 20% increase in the traffic reported by Google Anayltics when the tag was placed at the top of the page, which would be a good argument to put the code higher up the page.

3) Page optimisation is critical

The rate at which users abandon slow pages underlines the need to ensure they are written with a view to loading as quickly as possible. Both sites in the test contained third-party analytics tags that were no longer in use. An easy place to start would be to identify any tags that are no longer in use and remove them.

4) IFrame container tags suffer the most

The worst performing method of including tags in the page was via an invisible iFrame at the bottom of the page – the method used by the major container-tag solutions. The tests showed the most effective way to collect data is by using a blank JavaScript call, particularly if the tracking code is placed at the end of the page.

Full Study: http://www.tagman.com/case-study/tracking-tag-management-latency-study.pdf

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