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Activating Jetpack w/ Ads:

We recently upgraded our Jetpack service to Jetpack Premium, and enabled their ads placement feature.

After doing so, here’s what happened…

  • Our site performance scores on GTMetrix tanked, and went from High B’s to a flat “F”.
  • The page load time increased by 2 seconds.
  • The amount of requests made were TRIPLED!
  • Our overall page size nearly went off the charts!
  • Even though we specified not to run ads on our homepage, the layout of our header was still modified and created gapping between the header and body content.

So, we contacted Jetpack because HOLY SMOKES this was a serious issue, right?! Everyone knows how important site performance is with Google to prevent your website from being downranked. Here was Jetpack’s response:

Thank you for this additional information. Performance tests like GT Metrix will always complain about advertising redirect chains, and return a low score, even if page speed isn’t significantly impacted in real-world usage.

In this case, the redirect chains are inherent to how WordAds serves ads to visitors, which are presented in real time to them. This increases the number of redirect chains on the site, as well as the final page load time, albeit the majority of the additional load time is in the background after the site is already being browsed by a visitor. The redirect chains in our case are loaded asynchronously, and we wouldn’t expect the chains themselves to increase load times. The advertisements themselves will, but that’s to be expected given they are additional elements on the page, just like adding additional images on a page will increase load time.

In other words, the F score in GT Metrix can be safely ignored.

Unless you’ve been receiving complaints from visitors, or have noticed decreased browsing activity in relation to the advertisements on the site, then I advise keeping the above in mind and going forward regardless of the synthetic result you see in GT Metrix. The alternative is to disable the WordAds module in favor of your own, integrated advertising partners.

I hope this helps, but please let us know your thoughts and we’ll go from there.

This all sounds like a great canned response and might work for clients who aren’t concerned about performance, but Birdhouse Websites builds optimized, high performance websites…so this answer doesn’t satisfy, especially considering the impact such a horrible performance rating will have on potential clients who would be pretty reluctant to purchase services from a company that boasts an “F” on their own website.

Lastly, I would like to point out that this “F” rating only occurs when ads are enabled on Jetpack, not when the Jetpack plugin itself is enabled.

Rating With

  • Default Theme
  • Plugins Disabled
  • Jetpack + Ads DISABLED

Rating With

  • Default Theme
  • Plugins Disabled
  • Jetpack Enabled + Ads

Rating With

  • Divi Theme
  • Plugins Enabled
  • Jetpack Disabled Completely

Rating With

  • Divi Theme
  • Plugins Enabled
  • Jetpack + Ads ENABLED
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