Big Data is the next big thing. You probably hear that a lot lately. And it’s quite obvious that your Big Data strategy requires data, and data requires tags. But, does your tags can slow down your page load times? On this post, we’ll talk about how Google Tag Manager affects the page rendering.
Why faster websites is better?
Developing a fast website will allow your company to obtain:
– better conversion rates
– increase of pageviews
– increase of filled forms
– better search engine rankings
– lower server bandwidth costs
– lower website abandonment rates
– happiest customer
– customer loyalty
Don’t let your customers go somewhere else to shop next time for few seconds of discontent.
What about Analytics ?
The problem is that often, we are listening to the more tag activity a page has, the slower its load times. It could be true, even if it’s not often the main cause of discrepancies. To name a few, load scripts without blocking, use CDN, minify JS and CSS, cache ressources on the client, optimize images and don’t use iframes.
To build a fast and great experience and be sure that analytics are not problems, you should definitely use a Tag Manager. Then, you should ask to marketers or media agencies which hard coded tags are still needed and then remove the 3rd-party tags that had been ignored for years. Then, consolidate them and move them into Google Tag Manager that would do everything we needed from a single place, but do it much faster and safer. According to Google definition :
“Google Tag Manager is an asynchronous tag, meaning that when it executes, it does not block other elements from rendering on the page. It also causes the other tags that are deployed via Google Tag Manager to be deployed asynchronously, meaning that a slow loading tag won’t block other tracking tags.”
GTM optimizes web performance by reducing the number of calls to external resources when your pages load and allows tags to collect values in a unique place, the dataLayer. For example, you are working with an e-commerce website, and deployed enhanced ecommerce. You want to trigger Floodlight conversion-tracking and Marin Software on the confirmation page once customer has completed the transaction. Both tags can pull the data from the dataLayer transaction object with only one request without involving your IT team.
Advices and example:
To prevent browsers displaying the spinning wheel, implement third parties tags that don’t block the onload event of the page try to avoid developing triggers on the onload event.
A web page load in 10 seconds whereas it is rendering ready in 4 seconds. The average amount of time users spent viewing this page is 6 seconds. Thirds tags are firing from GTM in 3 to 10 seconds.
As you can see, most users will not be impact by one-third of your tags, because of page loading time. Consequently, these unfired tags will not be able to meet the needs of your Media strategy or DMP segmentation strategy / Predictive Personalization.
Your Media, Marketing and IT teams will have to redouble efforts to find the best compromise between “Ads and Marketing Performance” and “Rendering and Loading Performance” in order to fulfilling better the expectations of Customer Knowledge without degrading User Experience
Also note that you can now determines in GTM the order in which tags will be fired.
What is the best metric for measuring website speed?
Take the bright side of analytics. Now, we see that Tag Manager can save speed, we can measure and improve website performance and see which of your optimizations best work? I advise you to use the Navigation Timing API, which is now supported across many of the modern desktop and mobile browsers.
Then, you can gather this data and send it back to Google Analytics for further analysis, and could be used for generating useful reports of real user on desktop and mobile from a wide variety of different network.
But, what is the best metrics to measure? I advise you to take the metrics corresponding to the page usability. The browser paint the page when the render tree is constructed. It means, when the DOM and CSSOM are loaded. As a best practice, you should be listening for domContentLoadedEventEnd, it is when DOMready event is fired.
To conclude, every company should care about how their website performs because a faster website help to get more leads. You should mainly pay attention to the structure, eliminate the number of critical resources on the page and optimize the critical path length.
Then, deploy tags asynchronously via Google Tag Manager and make an appropriate conversion tracking implementation with dataLayer object. Prioritize, monitor and clean you third party tags throughout the course of the data life-cycle in order to not slow down the rendering and improving your data quality and collection.
Moreover, making a successful website require speed insight. Analytics should be your best friend and not a thread for website performance optimization. Use a rational metric for measuring website speed and use both analytics and monitoring tools like Gomez. You might learn that your website loads better on some browsers, devices or specific geographic area. With these insights, you can begin to improve your site performance in a targeted way. There is always place for page speed improvement. But now you at least know where to start from. You only need to follow one rule: