Server-side tagging: revolution or buzzword?

Is server-side tagging just a buzzword or is it really something digital marketers should take a closer look at?

(Image: Adobe Stock/Seventyfour)

To clarify this question, let's start with the technological aspect. Server-side tagging is a method of shifting data collection and processing from the end device, i.e. the browser or mobile app, to the backend, the server. This approach offers advantages in terms of quality, quantity and data security.

The first advantage comes into play as soon as the website is accessed. As the data is collected on the server, less code needs to be loaded in the browser. This enables the browser to display content faster, which contributes to a positive user experience. The bounce rate is reduced.

There is also a qualitative aspect to server-side processing. The browser is no longer involved in the process of creating and storing the data records; control lies 100% with the software manufacturer or the operator. Data quality is increased.

With regard to data protection: Is GDPR compliance automatically achieved and can consent be dispensed with? The answer: No. Server-side tagging can neither circumvent legal requirements nor circumvent data protection laws.

Nevertheless, there is a reason to consider server-side tagging. Since data is processed entirely without the browser context, it can be protected accordingly. If you want to prevent sensitive information from being made accessible to third parties, the browser should be avoided. For example, customer numbers or policy information are not sent to an endpoint by the browser, which can read any code on the website, but are aggregated on the server in a secure context for matching at the endpoint.

Finally, qualitative and quantitative aspects are examined. With the increasing elimination of data sets such as cookies and the spread of tracking protection mechanisms in browsers, the quality and quantity of client-side tagging is decreasing. Data gaps are widening and the expansion of digital target group segments is becoming less and less successful. Server-side tagging cannot solve every problem in this context, but it can solve some of them. As the method also works without cookies, it is gaining in importance simply in terms of ITP and the abolition of third party cookies. Taking into account the browser's withdrawal from the main part of the process, the method currently looks the most promising.

fusedeck® opens the door to these benefits with its in-house plugin store, which is constantly being expanded and automates the setup of server-side tagging. With just a few clicks, an event can be inserted into the data flow as a micro-conversion or interest indicator in order to contribute to the development of high-quality target group segments in the advertising network or to enrich the database in your own warehouse.

* Written by: Mia Kirchhofer, Head of Product at Capture Media / fusedeck®

Mia Kirchhofer, Head of Product at Capture Media.

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