Tagticians offers services in the setup and maintenance of Google Tag Manager Server Side. The Google Tag Manager Server Side solution is a more complex approach to tag management but does offer your company more control of your data.
What is Google Tag Manager Server Side?
Google Tag Manager Server Side is a new method for collecting data from your website. Traditional Google Tag Manager works on the premise that all client-side collected data, is sent from the client-side. In many cases, this solution is sufficient for a company’s digital marketing team.
However, with the rising awareness of user privacy and browser clients offering more functionalities to safeguard it, digital marketers realizing the implications of it on their data, and insights. The efforts to prevent 3rd party data from being misused have forced Google to offer a server-side solution for their Google Tag Manager product.
Traditional client-side tag management solution. (Source: Google)
The regular version of Google Tag Manager will load marketing tags into the user’s browser, so-called client-side. The marketing tags will subsequently send data directly from your website to their own servers. This stops you, the website owner, from truly knowing and controlling what data is sent. From a data governance perspective, this is not a situation you would like to be in.
Google Tag Manager Server Side will solve many issues, and at the same time give you unprecedented control over the data. With Google Tag Manager Server Side, the data created by a user is no longer sent directly to various marketing vendors such as Facebook, Adform, or even Google. Every data element collected on your company website will be sent to a server-side endpoint that you control.
The server, managed by you, will load virtual containers which contain rules, variables, and tags very much like the regular Google Tag Manager. The virtual container will process each request sent, and forward data to its endpoint eg. a Facebook or Google server.
New server-side tag management solution. (Source: Google)
4 Key reasons to use Google Tag Manager Server Side
I often get the question if it is wise to migrate to Google Tag Management Server Side. It is difficult to answer that question generically. Knowing when to migrate depends a lot on your company and your goals. There are definitely benefits to switching to Google Tag Manager Server Side; here are 4 key reasons:
1. Better user experience through reduced load times
If your company is very active in collecting user interaction data or advertise through various marketing networks, then a server-side solution is recommended. Although Google Tag Manager is a great solution, we need to remember that everything we put into it needs to be loaded in the user’s browser.
Each element you create in Google Tag Manager will be loaded into the browser. Tags, especially of the type Custom HTML, can get bloated quite quickly. If you don’t have an optimized implementation, even each Google Analytics Event tag can make Google Tag Manager longer to load.
With Google Tag Manager Server Side, only a single request is sent to your server. The server hosting your virtual container and processing logic will do all the work far away from the user’s browser. With no Google Tag Manager container being loaded into the user’s browser, it will no longer harm the user experience.
2. Full control over user data
In Google Tag Manager Server Side virtual container, you have to set up, test, and deploy all data processing logic. This means that marketing platforms like Google and Facebook will no longer have free reign over the data they collect from your users.
Each request sent from your website to your virtual tag manager container can be processed according to your data governance requirements. A great use case for this is scrubbing personally identifiable information (PII) from the data before forwarding it to a marketing ad vendor.
3. Improved data quality, with increased responsibility
It is understandable that with the advent of ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) and other browser vendor attempts to limit cross-site tracking, many digital marketers have become worried. With tighter constraints of what a browser will allow in terms of client-side tracking of user data, it is more than logical to consider Google Tag Manager Server Side. That being said, it should not be seen as a free pass to ignore the user’s tracking wishes or to disregard ethical standards completely.
GDPR/CCPA can still be respected when using Google Tag Manager Server Side, and it should. This newly obtained responsibility fits perfectly into the core of any data governance approach your company might be considering. Being in full control of what you collect and how you process it can function as the stepping stones to becoming a fully data-driven and data-responsible organization. Your company will not only be the consumer but also the guardian of your user’s data.
4. Superb data enrichment capabilities
With client-side data being sent to a server, you are offered extended capabilities to further enrich and refine the data before forwarding it to an endpoint. It is worth considering potentially adding additional data. Data obtained from your own or other resources, such as segmentation, payment, or subscription values.
Under proper and professional guidance, the enriched data can become a valuable asset in the process of generating data-driven insights for your company.
Need help with implementing Google Tag Manager Server Side?
Even though server sider tag management solutions are not new, Tealium and Segment both offer this method of data collection, it is a solution that can potentially come with a price tag. Hosting virtual containers can be done by a wide range of cloud services including Google Cloud and AWS. These services often offer free tiers, any successful online business will most likely generate considerate amounts of traffic and interactions.
I have been working with tag management systems since the introduction of Tagman.com back in 2011. It is understandable that migrating to Google Tag Manager Server Side is considerable, and a decision that needs to be well supported with a strong business case. This is where I can help you.
Together, we can design a solid Google Tag Manager Server Side solution for your company, which I can then implement and configure. I would like nothing more than to see your company succeed with regard to collecting high-quality data.