Tag management systems will *not make your site faster
*unless you educate your marketing team and help them understand the impact of website trackers on the page load speed.
Are you are working with analytics and online marketing for at least a couple of years? Then you’ve probably felt like you are lying to all your customers every time you say that a Tag Management System will make their website faster. A TMS will help reduce the perceived** page load time of the website, by allowing you to asynchronously load all your tracking pixels and prevent them from blocking the actual content of the page. It will also make the process of deploying marketing pixels much easier, allowing you to make changes outside the websites development cycle.
These benefits usually result in less planning when deploying marketing pixels, since it’s easy and less time-consuming to make a change. Poor planning means that you’ll end up having multiple similar tracking pixels, just because it takes less time to deploy a new pixel, than review existing ones and try to make them work for a new campaign. Having multiple pixels means that your website needs to download more online data, impacting the total page load time. Every time I complete an order and see the browser loading indefinitely on the thank you page or when seeing how snappier a website can be, after disabling the TMS, I get really angry. This makes me wonder how development teams (which usually spend a lot of time and money trying to make a website faster) are still allowing marketers to work like that.
So, is it wrong to use a TMS? Of course, not. But you need to build strict processes around it too. Below are a few tips that can help you keep your marketing pixels under control and only reap the benefits of a TMS:
- Plan ahead your marketing pixel deployment strategy, when you start working with a new marketing vendor. Do not use more than one pixels from the same vendor, on a single page.
- Do a marketing pixel audit at least twice a year (before and after the peak period works well for me) to make sure that all pixels currently deployed are still in use. This will also help reduce data leakages to vendors you are not working with anymore.
- Use attribution rules, when possible. You probably don’t need to load every marketing pixel for every page view. For instance, you might not need to load a paid search conversion pixel, when someone completes an order through an email campaign.
- Consider using a server-side TMS or a DMP. What would you think if I told that it’s possible to only collect your website’s data once (in a data pool owned by you) and share them only with the vendors you want to, later? This means that you don’t need to add any overhead to your page’s load time since you don’t have to deploy any marketing pixels on your website.
** perceived page load time: Time required for a page to load enough of its content for the visitor to consider the loading of the page complete. Usually even if most of the content of the page, or the content inside the viewport has been loaded, the browser continues loading page content in the background. The loading of the content in the background can have an impact on the responsiveness of the browser (as it utilizes the client’s CPU) and will also consume the visitor’s bandwidth.