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With tags seen as the bad guys and blocked entirely from sites, how would a retailer ever be able to switch analytics provider? 

What level of customer service and innovation could they then expect from the incumbent suppliers?

Most retailers we speak to have a very clear view of the precise impact of an extra second of page load time on traffic and conversion rates.

What we thought was less known was that tracking tags are often the heaviest and slowest-loading assets on their pages and that dealing with them would be a crucial part of any plan to optimise the speed of their site, protect customer experience and drive more sales.

But, our latest survey showed we were wrong. After conducting an online survey of 60 digital marketers, we found that 71% claimed to know how optimising loading of marketing tags could reduce overall load times. What was less surprising was that only one in three have taken steps to address the issue.

However, the problem with raising awareness of the threat of tags to page speed is the reaction of marketers. If it is to remove their tags entirely, maybe reduce the number of suppliers they work with or institute wide-ranging blocks on the addition of any new tags, the industry is in trouble.

We had heard, for example, that US retailing giant Sears removed all its tags to gain an increase in site speed of something like 15%.

But, tags are brilliant. Without them we can’t implement, manage and track new technologies, providers or campaigns. They are the mechanism by which new suppliers can be tried, new ways of marketing tested and the performance of all of those things tracked to incredible degrees of accuracy.

Imagine if a tag lockdown occurred on the majority of significant retail sites. How could the likes of Criteo and Struq have gained adoption? Or the new wave of tag-fired live customer service chat systems?

Switching technology providers, particularly web analytics, is a gigantic challenge already. With tags seen as the bad guys and blocked entirely from sites, how would a retailer ever be able to switch analytics provider? And what level of customer service and innovation could they then expect from the incumbent suppliers?

So, in the hunt for page optimisation, we must look for solutions that don’t throw the baby out with the bath water; that enable tags to be controlled, managed, their burden on sites lifted but still able to do their vital jobs?

Forrester Research produced an independent report investigating the case for investing in tag management systems crucial report late last year that argued ‘In the case of complex websites or those with an extensive tag footprint, investing in a tag management system yields multiple benefits based on efficient processes and accurate tracking.”

We’ve made that report available to anyone who wants to download it. Just visit our Whitepapers section. What it doesn’t express is the link between tracking tags and page speed but that link is now clear and a new reason for site owners to get their tags under control.

Paul Cook

Published 26 July, 2011 by Paul Cook

Paul Cook, the founder of RedEye and TagMan, is a contributor to Econsultancy.  

28 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

Joseph Pamboris

Joseph Pamboris, Head of Tracking Technology at OMD

Hi Paul, great article. To me this goes to show that a tag management system should not be positioned as placing tagging into marketing's hands and removing the need for IT involvement altogether. A tag management system should involve IT and marketing working hand-in-hand so that companies can:

a) best manage the technology providers' tags on site
b)ensure that page speed is not compromised by problem tags.

By both functions working together, both parties will benefit.

over 5 years ago

Paul Cook

Paul Cook, Director at NCC Web Performance

Hi Joseph,

Couldn't agree more.

over 5 years ago

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