The truth about using third-party tags

The truth about using third-party tags

Third-party tags are snippets of JavaScript code added to a website to add functionality, create personalized experiences, and collect information. They help build the digital experience consumers expect and are a key part of building modern websites. However, they can impact website performance, as well as introduce security vulnerabilities. Knowing how to use and implement third-party tags gives your business the competitive advantage it needs, but without proper implementation your customers and business could suffer.

Third-party tags are the new normal

Your website probably already uses dynamic content and third-party services, in the form of tags or scripts, to add business value for customers — such as personalization, chatbots, and even ads. In fact, third-party tags have become so prevalent that the average website today uses at least thirty. You can enhance your business’ competitive advantage through both performance, experience, and insights. Tracking and remarketing tags allow you to create more personalized, unique experiences that drive business, while other tags might allow you to leverage functionality from a third-party service, such as payments or live chat.

By using third-party services, you are able to add valuable functionality quickly or gain deeper insights into your customers’ behavior, enabling you to deliver better web experiences. Today, the use of third-party tags isn’t optional, they have become essential for success — half of the requests a website makes today are to third-party services.

Everything comes at a cost

However, there are some downsides to using third-party scripts. Tags impact your page speed and loading times, especially if you start to rely on them without proper controls. A recent study found that the use of third-party tags on Fortune 500 websites cause a total average latency of 5.2 seconds — this is problematic when you consider that today we live in a world where even 100 milliseconds could cost you 1 percent of your conversions and 47 percent of visitors expect websites to load in 2 seconds.

In addition, your website performance and your brand reputation are at the mercy of a third party. This means if their script breaks functionality or suffers from slow performance, it could cause issues that disrupt the overall web experience or worse, keep your customers from visiting your site. For instance, IBM Digital Analytics (formerly Coremetrics) had an outage during Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year that caused website services using them to fail for 40 to 50 percent of their traffic.

It’s becoming harder to protect your customers

Perhaps the most frightening part of using third-party JavaScript tags is that they can be used to gain access to your website or your customers’ sensitive information. Third-party scripts and tags do not have to go through your internal security protocols and infrastructure, making them easy targets for cybercriminal groups like Magecart who place data skimmers on eCommerce sites in order to steal personal information like credit card details.

This kind of data breach isn’t just possible, it’s probable. 55 percent of businesses fear they have suffered data leakage from hidden third-party code running on their site, and 69 percent of organizations don’t believe their anti-virus software is capable of blocking the threats they’re seeing. It’s clear that better solutions are needed.

Instart helps you deliver exceptional experiences every time

While removing all your third-party tags might give you an incredibly fast website and a more secure web experience, this isn’t a viable option in most cases. After all, third-party tags are also responsible for providing features or gathering insights that ultimately will deliver a better website experience to your customers.

As the pressure to create increasingly personalized experiences for consumers continues to grow, companies will need to find a better way to gain control third-party tags — not remove them. Instart Tag Control allows you to re-prioritize or disable tags from third-party services that are impacting your website performance. In addition, Tag Control enables you to prevent tags from gaining access to sensitive data, such as credit card numbers and other PII.