January 17, 2014, 3:59 PM

Etsy keeps its site loading fast without sacrificing data collectors

The online marketplace came in among the top 10 retailers in terms of average page-load times last week, according to the latest Evidon index. Yet Etsy.com also had nearly the average number of third-party trackers—which typically can cause pages to slow down—of all 75 sites in the index.

Amy Dusto

Associate Editor

Lead Photo

While many web sites stay speedy by cutting down on the use of third-party trackers, Etsy Inc., an online marketplace for handmade goods, appears to be using a different method, according to the latest data from digital marketing analytics and privacy technology firm Evidon Inc. provided exclusively to Internet Retailer.

Between Jan. 6 and Jan. 12, Etsy.com loaded on average in just 1.84 seconds, making it the seventh-fastest site in the index. The average load time was 3.69 seconds. Etsy.com also had an average of 139 pieces of tracking software loaded by outside companies, such as advertising networks and analytics vendors that measure clicks and impressions—close to the index average of 149.

If trackers load slowly or with errors, they can cause latency, meaning a retailer’s pages load slowly. But the data suggest Etsy must have a different strategy for handling its trackers, says Andy Kahl, Evidon’s director of data analysis. Etsy likely either designed its site to be speedier than average in the first place, or it could be using a tag management system—or doing both, he says. A tag manager is a single tracker that replaces multiple trackers manages their data requests. That keeps vendors’ and publishers’ data requests from bombarding a page and slowing it down.

Etsy, No. 38 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, declined to comment.

All but two of the rest of the 10 fastest-loading web sites in the week from Jan. 6-12 had fewer than 100 trackers per site—and four of them each had less than 20 trackers.

The 30 fastest-loading sites in the index, with their average page load times and number of trackers, are:

Digital marketing analytics and privacy technology firm Evidon Inc. tracks for Internet Retailer the average page load times of the web sites of the Top 50 retailers in the Top 500 Guide, along with the number of third-party trackers deployed on each page and the average latency they cause in its load time. The data come from roughly 10 million consumers who use Evidon’s Ghostery tool, a browser add-on that tells them which companies are tracking their online activity and for what purpose, and who have opted to participate in an anonymous panel to provide data about their site visits to Evidon.

The panel includes residents of more than 50 countries and users of every major browser—Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Opera and Safari, and Internet Explorer—with just under 5% of the data coming from two mobile platforms: Firefox users on the Android operating system and users of Evidon’s Ghostery browser on the Apple operating system. Evidon collects the data hourly. Evidon averages the data for each web site over one week to provide periodic updates for Internet Retailer.

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