Server-Side Tagging with Google Tag Manager: Rebuilding Trust in Data Collection & (Re)Marketing Campaigns

15th July 2021

Do you want to collect more and more accurate data?

Do you want to have full control of the data you share?

Do you want to (re)target larger audiences with a more relevant message?

Do you want to make your site faster?

If you answer “yes, I do” for at least one of these questions, then you may be interested in learning more about GTM server-side…

Since its public release in August 2020, FIRST has been advocating for implementing GTM Server-Side as we believe it will become a key success factor to collect more and more accurate data, deliver a better user experience, while allowing a stronger control on data collection and sharing.
We have implemented GTM server-side to handle GA4, Universal Analytics and Facebook Conversion API tags across different verticals (retail, finance, food and consumer products) and the results certainly offset the cost.

Server-side tagging means executing tags from a server-side environment (such as Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, etc.) as opposed to a client-side solution which relies on the browser to send HTTP requests. In August last year, Google released its server-side solution as a new type of container in Google Tag Manager. In this post, we will come back on the differences between server-side and client-side tagging, why it matters and what are the requirements to get it up and running.

GTM Web vs. GTM Server-Side

A typical tagging configuration relies on a container implemented on the page to send measurement data to various collection servers. Requests are sent from the client directly to the vendors, and may set a third and/or first JavaScript-written cookie.

With GTM Server-Side (GTM SS), you still have your GTM Web container implemented on your pages*, but then some tags within GTM Web can be sent to GTM SS, where a client will be able to receive and transform the data before sending the request to the final endpoint (the vendor). This way, you have full control over how that data is shaped, and where it is routed from the server. 

Read more here.