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The Fastest and Slowest Third Party Marketing Tags - Real World Data

Tag Governance

In Best Practices in Tag Management and Governance, we discussed how adding third party tags to your website can come at a high cost to both page speed and revenue. That's because most tags are either collecting and transmitting user data or they're helping create the actual experience on a web page. Both of these require time, and time is money.

So as you evaluate marketing technologies like the ones I report on in this post, you should ask yourself: "Does the business benefit of the tag outweigh the performance hit?"

The Performance Hit of Third Party Marketing Tags

Since we are measuring the speeds of the Internet Retailer Top 500 eCommerce sites for our free Industry Benchmarks, we know how each piece of content behaves on all 500 sites. Tons of data!

In this report, I am reporting on the total tag duration (in milliseconds) of the most popular eCommerce marketing technologies. This is based on over 1 million measurements across the United States from January 1 - May 31 2017.

Total Duration is the total time it takes for a tag to run and load all of its content in a webpage. Since many of these tags load asynchronously (i.e. at the same time as other content), a tag with a 100 millisecond duration probably impacts page load time by less than 100 milliseconds.

Key Findings

  • Live Chat is the slowest-loading marketing technology in this study (160ms duration on average).
  • In the Personalization category, Certona's total duration is 39ms, but Bluecore's is 4x that.
  • Every site needs analytics, and Google has the least performance impact out of any technology we measured. But is that really a surprise?
  • The worst performing technology we measured in this study was Oracle's Custhelp. It's used by large retailers like Bass Pro and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Tag Governance - The Basics

The only way to truly establish long-term success is to build governance that fits into your current processes. It all starts by asking the right questions to yourself and your business and development teams.

Think about one of the tags you have on your website and answer the following questions:

  • How are you measuring the performance of that tag?
  • Is that tag's performance impacting your revenue?
  • Who is ultimately accountable for that technology?
  • Who should own insights that drive business decisions for that technology?
  • How should those insights from this technology be delivered in a timely manner?
  • Who should receive those insights?
  • What are the expected actions team members must take utilizing those insights?
  • Who should own prioritization of the workflows that fit into the larger vision of the organization?

Now repeat that process for every single one of them.

Check out Best Practices in Tag Management and Governance to dig in deeper and feel free to reach out to us if you'd like to speak with an expert on how to best govern your third party tags. We're very experienced in this space.

I'm Seeking Feedback!

Have any questions about the data? Interested in seeing more? Any tags you'd like to measure? Please contact me at

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