Beatriz Leal

Beatriz Leal

Data & CRO Team Lead

New Google Tag Manager Server Side

19 August 2020
1 minuto
New Google Tag Manager Server Side
Due to the evolution of the privacy laws (GDPR, CCPA,…) and the restrictions on cookies by browsers, we have been wondering for a long time how long our measurement systems will be optimal. This has caused the need to create and develop new technologies and for us to rethink the way we store, send and use the information we have about users. Last week Google released the great news that its new GTM tool, Server-Side Tagging, was finally going to be a free and public tool for all customers. And this is why we want to tell you why we think you should start making use of it as soon as possible. At Making Science we have been implementing this product in some advanced clients since the beginning of the year. Until July we have not opted for a migration from the client side to server side version, but for a dual implementation of both containers. However, with the product news of recent weeks, we are already beginning to have customers interested in migrating to server-side as the main data collection system for digital analytics. The first thing we have to be clear about is what this new product consists of and how it works. For this we have to think differently and forget about the logic that we have used so far, since the operation of the container and what we are going to find within it, vary with respect to the traditional Google Tag Manager system.  The Server-Side Tagging takes the concepts of Google Tag Manager to the server world. Our own server that will allow us to store, mold and send the data that comes to us as information from us and not from third parties. This system will allow clients to run a Tag Manager container in the cloud (for now only through Google Cloud Platform), advertisers will be able to send data from any of their sources (websites, applications, devices, etc.), and the server container will shape and guide the data to the proper destinations. One of the strengths of Server-Side Tagging is that it allows you to control how your visitor data is collected and modified for multiple endpoints. We are going to analyze some of its strengths below:

  • Improved End User Experience. Fewer scripts on the page that increase performance and loading speed, which indirectly leads to better conversion. Moving the scripts out of the browser means that visitors have to download and run less code.
  • Better Security. Tags can gain access to all private user information on web pages. Fewer third-party tags are running on the page reduces the risk of data leakage.
  • Visitor IDs Managed by The Server. Tags can store visitor IDs on the server rather than in the browser, allowing us robust ad measurement with a high degree of data control.
  • Easy to Obtain. From now on we will have in the GTM platform itself the option to create a container type “Server” that will be configured in four simple steps.
  • Optimized Data Flow. You can get information and control what data is sent and where. You have the option of sending data to multiple destinations without a multitude of labels.

It is true that being a beta product we can find small handicaps such as, for example:

  • The tag templates that client side tagging is accustomed to are not yet available except for Google Analytics, and that means that we have to wait a little time to be able to use them, or develop them ourselves if necessary.  
  • For example, that you have to have the Google Cloud Platform service, which may carry some small costs depending on the use.

Despite these handicaps, due to our application experience in various clients, we advise to start using it as soon as possible (without forgetting the measurement we currently have), so that both methodologies coexist so that we can see, analyze and learn what we provides Server-Side Tagging as opposed to Client-Side Tagging. And above all, be prepared for what looks like the future of the now famous cookieless world. Now, if we already have a measurement system, how do we know if this investment in time and costs really compensates us? Well, basically, as Darwin said: “It is not the strongest species that survives, nor is it the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that best adapts to change”.  The digital world we know is constantly changing, and the cookieless world is something already present to which we must adapt as soon as possible if we do not want to be left behind. Server-Side Tagging will be necessary for:

  • Improved site performance on 3rd party cookie tags . Slow page speed has been correlated with higher bounce rate. Studies show that e-commerce sites see a substantial improvement in revenue when they improve site performance . Site performance is also a factor in search ranking .
  • Control over the security of 3rd party cookie tags . Server-side labeling reduces the risk of data leakage and scraping of private user information. Data leakage can carry high financial penalties.
  • Own internal MTA / 3rd party custom cookie solution . Ensures optimal performance of Google tags, which are used to rate media performance, recommending Google’s server-based tagging solution.

  We hope this article helps you better understand this new system and helps you make the right decision. Do you dare to implement it? If you need help to carry it out, do not hesitate to count on us! You can request information at