October 15, 2013, 1:00 PM

Top 100 e-retailers up their site performance with tag management

Average page load times rise 4.5% and duplicated data drops 48%, a study finds.

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A study of retailers within the Internet Retailer Top 500 found that their web site performance improved significantly with the use of a system for managing the software tags used to activate and measure online marketing campaigns. Tags are snippets of code, typically JavaScript, that retailers add into their web site pages to track activity on the site, such as when customers click links.

The study, conducted by ObservePoint, a provider of tag auditing technology, and Lima Consulting Group, found that retailers with tag management systems—compared with retailers who do not use such systems—had faster average page load times, less duplicated web pages (which can overtax databases and make them run slower) and fewer JavaScript errors that can cause web pages to fail to load content. ObservePoint and Lima Consulting conducted the study in May, analyzing the site performance of the top 100 retailers as listed in the 2012 edition of the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The study found the following performance metrics for retailers with tag management systems, showing the comparison to those without them:

● Average page load time, 1.98 seconds, 4.3% faster than 2.07 seconds;

● Number of duplicated web pages, 171.67, 32.3% fewer than 253.40 duplicated pages;

● Average number of JavaScript errors per web site, 81.90, 8.3% fewer than 89.31 errors.

Eric Peterson, senior partner of analytics research and advisory firm Web Analytics Demystified Inc., says tag management systems are helping managers of web analytics because they provide a better view of how well online merchandising and marketing content is working alongside overall site performance. “Following a carefully planned deployment of tag management systems, and with appropriate governance in place to assure adherence to existing corporate data policies, analytics organizations are typically able to improve both the quality and quantity of their insight,” he says.

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