Why is Server-side Tracking Important?

Marketing Tools
Rafia Tabassum Sara
4 mins

Whenever you’re searching for something on the web, it first goes to a server in the cloud and then returns the information you inquired for. This is the part we see. But the part we don’t see is that data about our search is also sent to a tracking platform like Google Analytics and Facebook. Small pieces of code (cookies, tags, or pixels) that are embedded in the website are often used to do this. 

Client-side tracking involves sending information to the tracking platform's server from the user's browser (the client). Tag management is the process of gathering and sharing data from your website with your marketing technology vendors.

Advantages of Client-Side Tracking

  1. Extracting Relevant Data

The benefit of client-side tracking is that it occurs directly on the user's device, enabling access to user-specific information including cookies, URL parameters, user agents, referrers, and IP addresses. You may easily gather and track all of these bits of information about the client to serve as a basis for other activities. Cookies and other data are frequently utilized for ad targeting. Personalization is just one application for location data. Additionally, user agents and/or URL parameters are frequently employed in marketing campaigns and consumer engagement analyses.

The Google Publisher Tag or Certona are a few examples of specialized client-side tags that must be active in the browser to collect this rich contextual data to provide users with personalized experiences, advertisements, or dynamic content.

  1. Availability

Another benefit of client-side tracking is how simple it is to set up. Many companies offer a piece of code that may be implemented by simply copying and pasting. Client-side tracking tags have also been a regular practice for many years in the industry. It also does not cost much to implement.

What is Server-Side Tracking?

Before being sent to the tracking platform, server-side tracking transmits user data to your own website's server first. With this approach, the website that is in charge of data collection has a single JavaScript code embedded right into it. The client data is first provided to a tracking server before being sent to Google, Facebook, and other entities. The information is then sent to the various tools from there.

Server-side tracking is the preferred option now for marketers around the world due to various reasons:

Control over Data

Due to the possibly millions of devices and scenarios involved in client-side tracking, there is a higher chance that anything could happen that would affect data transmission. Because the scope of data management is much decreased and the organization has more control over the transfer, server-side tracking is typically more dependable.

Client-side problems like a broken connection or an excessively strong ad blocker are less likely to cause data problems for server-side tracking. By bypassing browser limitations, ad blockers, and intelligent tracking prevention (ITP), it is possible to collect data more accurately.

Improved Device Performance

Another benefit of server-side tracking is that it shifts the processing load from a client's device to the cloud. The client device has to do less work as a result, which might improve the speed of the application and the client device. Conversion rates can increase significantly and the user experience is enhanced by a speedier, battery-efficient application.

How does Server-Side Tracking work?

To simplify, in server-side tracking, all audience data is gathered in a single, cloud-based repository and sent to external platforms. A website often uses either first-party or third-party cookies together with several tracking scripts running in the background to track users in the browser. By switching to server-side tracking, all behavioral events will be collected in a single stream and distributed to the final data collection platforms.

Client-Side Tracking vs Server-Side Tracking

Due to its role as the browser, the client has simple access to user-specific information such as cookies, IP addresses, user agents, referrers, and UTM parameters. This indicates that you can simply get and track all of these contextual bits of information if you track on the client. For tracking these elements, some typical business use cases are as follows:

  • send location-based customized marketing messages to users

  • learn how your users are divided into mobile, desktop, and tablet users.

  • design marketing initiatives, and use UTM parameters to increase traffic and conversion

However, tracking the client has the drawback of giving you less control. The end-user has the option to enable an ad blocker, which can skew your analytics results. The browser also has its own distinct quirks, such as page unloading, which might occasionally halt any "in-flight" outbound analytics requests (more on debugging for this particular browser instance).  

For all these reasons, server-side tracking is definitely a better option for you. It has multiple advantages over client-side tracking ensuring you can make better use of the data extracted. 

Looking for an efficient way to manage your Amazon Advertising campaigns? Check out this post on Amazon Advertising API.

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