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case study: third-party trackers impact on site performance

October 27, 2020

written by
Chantel Gonzales

what is the potential cost of your consumer’s data?

It’s no secret that site speed plays a huge role in determining how successful your website and business will be online. From traffic to sales, you could be severely limiting your business’ full potential in terms of revenue and performance by overlooking the optimization of your website. Walmart found that for every 1 second of improvement time, they got a 2% jump in conversions. Now getting that great PageSpeed Score and optimizing isn’t an easy feat in the modern days of the internet, especially with our heavy reliance on data for our decision making.

Many companies rely on third-party partnerships to track, monitor, and enhance their website’s revenue and performance; they do this by adding pixels to the website. Pixels are small dots that can be tracked and provide data back to the website owner. However, this can be a double edged sword. We’ll explain why by using a client’s website that is half a decade (okay that’s 5 years) old.

Auditing the website, we found the following marketing tags & pixels:

  1. TripTease
  2. Stay Wanderful
  3. Adroll
  4. Facebook
  5. Adwords
  6. Click Guardian
  7. Sojern

That’s 10 different pixels to load. And don’t be fooled by the word ‘pixel’ because that small thing can pack a BIG load. Now we’ll run the test and start off with the baseline score.

 

baseline performance with third party tracking pixels

We have a low D PageSpeed Score, a Fully Loaded Time of 8.6 seconds, a page size of 10.4 MB, and 199 different requests for files or resources such as fonts, CSS/JS files, images, etc.

Next, we’re going to remove each pixel and run the test to see how each individual marketing pixel affects the overall performance of the website. Our main metric here is Fully Loaded Time, aka the time it takes all the elements on a page to load for a user.

 

performance without each third party tracking pixel

TripTease Pixel


Stay Wanderful Pixel


Adroll Pixel


Click Guardian Pixel


Sojern Pixel


Facebook Pixel


Adwords Pixel

As you can see, the individual page speed scores and fully loaded times vary with each one. Stay Wanderful takes up the most space with .4MB but by dropping the Adroll pixel, our page speed score jumps from 61% to 76%. That’s a GPA of a D- to a not so bad C!

And then comes the big one, what if we removed ALL the marketing pixels? Well, I don’t think anyone is surprised to see that suddenly the website is an A student. The PageSpeed Score increases to a whopping 94% and the Fully Loaded time is just 2.7 seconds.

 

performance without third party tracking pixels (except GA)

In sum, before you believe these third party applications are helping you get new clients, the industry data says it comes at a cost. Cloudflare postulates that this slow loading website case study has a conversion rate of <.06 and that by removing their pixels, they could get that up to almost 2%. And remember that statistic at the beginning of the article? Well, if Walmart says that their conversion rate increased 2% for every second increase in page load, that means in this case study our test website, at 8.6 seconds would see a 12% increase in conversions. Can your marketing pixels say the same?

* How Website Performance Affects Conversion Rates
* How Does Web Page Speed Affect Conversions