The cookie landscape is eroding and adblockers are on the rise! Client-side tagging will soon get extinct and the other side of the tunnel indicates the adoption of server-side tagging. There are reservations on the transfer of client-side tags onto the server-side. But, we have seen multiplied improvement in first-party data collection, website performance, page load time, data security, and privacy. And, elimination of tag piggybacking. This article aims at clarifying and elaborating on how exactly server-side tagging would support your marketing team and business, together. Here are some of the advantages of server-side tag management.
Advantage #1: Improve First-party data collection
Advantage #2: Website performance and page load time
Advantage #3: Compliance with various Privacy regulations – CCPA, GDPR
Advantage #4: Eliminates Tag piggybacking
Advantage #5: Data Security
Advantages of server-side tagging
Improve First-party data collection
Third-party cookies are dead.
Over the years, third-party cookies have invaded user privacy by capturing a variety of end-user information. These cookies were used to create a persona that was in turn used by advertisers. It helped marketers create targeted ads and personalize content for websites.
Over the last few years, users have grown more conscious about their privacy and have embraced Ad Blocking & third-party cookie blocking tools to protect themselves. Apple’s Safari browser offers ITP, which has baked in capabilities to block third-party cookies. Mozilla Firefox has followed suit with ETP for tracking protection. There are new generation browsers such as Brave, which have Tracking and Adblocking capabilities as their core USP.
Ad Blockers hamper third party data collection for analytics. Depending on the country, analytics reports have missing data of anywhere between 10-30% because of AdBlocker usage. The only way forward is to improve their own first-party data capture and better control on how to protect their customers’ PII. Ad Blockers do not block first-party data collection and hence analytics reports will have a complete user journey report captured while honoring your visitor’s privacy preferences.
Website performance and page load time
Using third party SDKs and trackers led to the degradation of the end-user experience. Users had to wait for the third-party SDKs to be loaded onto their browser, pixels, and tags to be fired before they could experience the website. According to various performance measurements done by Google and CDN providers, people abandoned websites that took longer than 3 seconds to load. According to Google, every 0.1s delay after 3s results in a 7% drop in conversions.
The marketing efforts spent (organic and paid) to draw users to the website were being rendered ineffective when users churn without experiencing the product/service being offered. With Server-side tag management, third party SDKs are no longer loaded on the end-user’s browser but instead are managed at the server. Sites load faster thus dramatically improving the end-user experience, conversion opportunities, and better ROI on marketing spend.
Compliance with various Privacy regulations – CCPA, GDPR
Governments worldwide have accelerated efforts in making laws to help protect the privacy of citizens. The laws vary from country to country and compliance becomes challenging when client-side Tag Managers are used. With client-side tag management systems, websites do not have control over the information captured by third-party trackers. In such a scenario, compliance enforcement becomes a challenge resulting in liabilities in case of a privacy breach.
With server-side Tag management, companies now have better control over the data captured and can restrict what data eventually sent to third party sites. Various PII preserving initiatives can be implemented to ensure only requisite data required to complete the loop is passed to third parties.
The next big thing is how you build controls and audit capabilities around Privacy compliance and implementation without heavy lifting by digital marketers, who rather have their time focusing on KPIs.
Eliminates Tag piggybacking
Traditional TMS have capabilities wherein, one tag invokes another tag (usually referred to as a container tag), is called tag piggybacking. With tag piggybacking, a third party tag can invoke tags from other servers, which in turn can collect user data that the website owner might not have authorized in the first place.
Container tags are usually used for marketing / ad-serving purposes. Data leakage is a real possibility and brands suffer in case of a breach. Apart from data leakage, tag piggybacking also slows down website loading. Monitoring and management of multi-level container tags is a huge challenge.
With server-side TMS, tag piggybacking is ruled out and PII protection of users is easily achieved.
Third-party API keys and tokens are no longer available for hackers to debug and misuse. All your analytics and advertisement tracking IDs are not exposed to end-users, thus improving security and reducing Spam.
MagicPixel offers production-ready server-side media tag management.
Server-side tags are secure HTTP response tags. Server-side tagging involves running these tags through a first-party server or back-end environment. On the other hand, client-side tagging tracks requests directly from the client-side (or browser) to third-party servers. This is a more preferred and secure way of firing tags and tracking data. With this, the data runs through your own server before you send it to an external receiver like Google Analytics, Facebook, or Bing.