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Motel 6 Web Speed Takes Hit from Third Party Links

On the desktop, Motel 6 is usually in the top half of the Keynote Lodging Index. But between September 14 and 21, we saw some slowdowns in its total time to load and time to interact. In both categories it’s over a two second increase from a normal 3.9 second load time to upwards of six seconds on some days. With these increases Motel 6 dropped to 14th place  
On September 14 the average time to interact was 6.2 seconds. On September 21 3.3 seconds and by September 28 it remained stable at around 3 seconds.
When we investigated the page size we didn’t see any modifications which might have led to this. But digging deeper we see it’s one third party call causing the problems. One third party on this page is directly affecting the time to interact, adding an unacceptable two seconds.
The third party call is giving constant internal server errors due to a bad tracking pixel call. Each request is taking longer and longer to receive the error message.
Clearly it is not a best practice to have third parties impact the time to interact. It’s a critical element in any site’s performance metrics and as usual makes the difference between a visitor staying and proceeding to book, or leaving the site in frustration.
Our recommendation is to use asynchronous loading techniques – load the important elements first and leave the less critical elements to load later, so that the user experience is not impacted. The visitor sees key content loading rather than staring at a blank screen while everything lines up to load. This is all about managing the JavaScript for the most efficient delivery of the site’s content.
Within the two week timeframe we actually see the issue resolved on the Motel 6 site. The third party was removed, although the design of the Motel 6 site still makes it susceptible to this happening again.
In terms of the Keynote Health Score, Motel 6 would get an F, largely due to the excessive amount of domains (83) and its attempt to load 38 different objects before time to first paint. These all have critical impacts on the user’s perception of the actual load time.
Make sure third party tags are always loaded asynchronously – they are requested but do not delay the main content from loading first.
Motel 6 could still clean up those third party links to stop causing future problems.

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