Server-side tagging

Server-side tagging is a tracking method in which you can instrument tags on the server to measure user behavior wherever it takes place. In server-side tagging, control of a website and its users’ data is transferred from third parties (like Google) to the first party (the website owner/operator).

Using server-side tagging has many benefits. For example, it can improve a website’s performance for slower connections and mobile devices if you share data with many vendors. Additionally, user data is more secure when collected and distributed in a server-side environment, where you can choose which data to share with specific vendors.

Server-side tagging has been around for a while. It is a sustainable alternative to client-side tracking. However, there are certain things you need to consider.

Compliance and consent management

Although server-side tags are undetectable in browsers, you must follow the same compliance rules as client-side tracking. That is, collect applicable consents for using cookies, document your data collection methods in your privacy policy, etc.

At the same time, server-side tagging solutions generate a client/visitor ID, and this is personal data that requires consent under GDPR in EEA, PECR in the UK, or TTDSG in Germany. The client/visitor ID may be encoded, adding a privacy protection layer, but it’s still considered pseudonymous data (hence falls under personal data regulations). This means it’s a type of data you can collect only with the visitor’s consent.

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