Is server side tracking the future proofed solution your agency needs to implement to manage cookie deprecation?

Introduction to Server Side Tracking

Server side tracking is a techy term thrown around a lot these days, especially with the talk about cookies disappearing. Let’s break it down in simpler terms.

Imagine when you visit a website, and it asks you to accept cookies. That’s the website asking if it can keep some data on your computer to remember you by. Now, with server side tracking, instead of storing this data on your computer (client side), the data goes straight to the server. Why does this matter? With concerns growing over privacy and cookies not being as reliable, shifting the data collection to the server offers a more secure and consistent way to gather insights. It means businesses can still understand how you use their sites without intruding on your privacy by storing stuff on your device. Plus, it’s less likely to be blocked by browsers cracking down on privacy issues. In short, server side tracking is a powerful tool used by digital media buyers like Umbrella Digital to collect data, minus the drama of cookies and privacy backlash.

A Person Starting an Online Business

Cookies have been the backbone for tracking users’ online activities. They help advertisers show you ads relevant to your interests. But things are changing. Big internet companies are phasing out third-party cookies, this shift is what we (and the industry at large) call cookie deprecation.

Why? Privacy concerns. People want more control over their data. The impact? It’s huge for digital media buyers. They’ve relied on cookies for so long to understand and reach their audience. With cookies going away, finding new ways to track user behavior without invading privacy is critical. That’s where server side tracking comes into the picture. It offers a more privacy-centric approach to collect data directly from the server, bypassing the need for cookies. This change means digital media buyers who are low tech or rely purely on the tools provided by ad platforms natively will be hard pressed in the coming years to maintain their ability to objectively determine cause and effect from ad buying.

The Basics of Server Side Tracking for Digital Media

When someone visits a website, their actions can be tracked in two main ways, either directly on their device (that’s client side) or on the web server (yep, that’s server side). With the digital world changing fast, mainly because web browsers are cutting down on cookies, server side tracking is becoming a priority for firms like ours. Why? It’s less invasive for users and gives marketers reliable data. Plus, it’s tougher for ad blockers to stop. It works like this: instead of loading a bunch of tracking codes on the user’s browser, the web server does the heavy lifting. This way, a user’s browser runs smoother, and marketers get a clearer picture of what’s happening. In simple terms, server side tracking is about moving the data collection game off the user’s device and onto a controlled environment. This shift can make digital marketing not just more efficient but also ready to face a future without cookies.

Comparing Client Side and Server Side Tracking

In the digital world, two main tracking types exist — client-side and server-side. Let’s break it down simply. Client-side tracking happens directly in the user’s browser. When you visit a website, it collects data through cookies. This is what’s been common for years. But, with concerns about privacy on the rise and browsers phasing out third-party cookies, the effectiveness of client-side tracking is taking a hit. We see this today with less and less devices and browsers supporting third party cookies, data loss from ad campaigns is a real thing, impacting decision making for growth and marketing initiatives.

That’s where server-side tracking steps in. It shifts the data collection from the user’s browser directly to the server. This means more control and security over the data collected. Plus, it’s less dependent on cookies, making it a solid player in the future-proofing game against cookie deprecation.

Server-side tracking offers improved data privacy, more accurate tracking (since it’s less likely to be blocked by browsers or ad blockers), and a better grasp on data since it collects directly from the server. But, it’s not all sunshine; implementing server-side tracking can be complex and requires a robust infrastructure – that’s why firms partner with Umbrella Digital.

On the flip side, client-side tracking is easier to set up and great for collecting detailed user interactions on the web. However, it’s more vulnerable to privacy regulations and the shifting sands of internet browsers’ rules.

In simple terms, if you want better control and foresee a future without reliance on cookies, server-side tracking is your go-to. But, remember, it requires a bit more legwork to get going. On the other hand, client-side has been the friendly neighbor for years but is facing challenges that could limit its functionality in the privacy-focused future we’re heading into.

Why Server Side Tracking Is the Future for Digital Media Buyers

With browsers clamping down on cookies to protect user privacy, the old ways of tracking user behavior are not as effective. Think of server side tracking like a backstage pass at a concert. While everyone else is stuck in the crowd (cookie-based tracking), you’re behind the scenes, getting a clearer view (data) without all the noise (privacy concerns and blocking). This method sends user data directly from the server to the analytics tools, bypassing browsers altogether. This means media buyers get more reliable data, less loss from blocked or deleted cookies, and a better way to respect user privacy. Plus, with regulations getting tighter, server side tracking is like being one step ahead in a game where the rules keep changing. Simply put, it’s a smarter move for long-term digital strategy.

Implementing Server Side Tracking: Steps and Strategies

Switching to server side tracking? It’s not as complicated as it sounds. First, understand it’s about moving data collection from a user’s browser to your server. This way, you’re in control, not the web browser. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Set Up a Tracking Server: You need a dedicated server that collects your data. This can be an existing server, or you may need to set up a new one.
  2. Choose Your Tools: Pick the tools that will help you track the data you need. Google Tag Manager Server-Side is a popular choice, but there are others.
  3. Configure Data Collection: Decide what data is important. This includes user interactions, transactions, and anything else relevant to your goals.
  4. Test Everything: Before going live, test your setup. Make sure data is collected accurately and securely.
  5. Go Live and Monitor: Once you’re happy with the test, launch your server side tracking. But keep an eye on things. You might need adjustments.

Remember, privacy is key. With server side tracking, you can offer better privacy for your users, but you must handle their data responsibly. Follow regulations like GDPR or CCPA to the letter.

It’s a step forward in managing cookie deprecation. With these steps, you’re not just solving a problem; you’re upgrading your data game.

Overcoming Challenges with Server Side Tracking

Server side tracking is shaping up as a powerful tool in the face of cookie deprecation. With browsers kicking cookies to the curb, digital media buyers need new ways to gather vital user data without intruding on privacy. Server side tracking steps in here. It shifts the data collection workload from the user’s browser to the server. This move has its perks. For starters, it dodges browser-based restrictions, offering a more reliable data collection method. Plus, it protects user data better, since data processed on servers can be more securely controlled.

Setting up server side tracking can be technical. You’ll need some coding knowledge or a good IT team. Also, transitioning might mean tweaking your current systems to ensure they play nicely with this new method. Remember, while server side tracking offers a more consistent and secure way to collect data, it requires upfront work to integrate properly into your existing digital ecosystem. Yet, for those willing to navigate these hurdles, server side tracking offers a robust solution to the privacy and data collection challenges of our times.

The Role of Privacy and Compliance in Server Side Tracking

Privacy and compliance are huge deal makers or breakers when it comes to server side tracking. As web browsers tighten their grip on third-party cookies to protect user privacy, digital media buyers are seeking alternatives that won’t land them in hot water. Server side tracking emerges as a solid choice because it moves much of the tracking logic from the client’s browser to the server, reducing exposure to data protection laws such as GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California.

The real kicker? While it’s more private and secure, server side tracking still lets advertisers collect essential data. They can personalize ads and measure their campaign performance without stepping over the line. But here’s the thing – implementing server side tracking doesn’t automatically make you compliant. It’s critical to ensure that any data collection and processing are done with user consent and within the boundaries of privacy laws.

Conclusion: Embracing Server Side Tracking as a Future-Proofed Solution

As browsers get stricter and privacy laws tighten the noose, placing all your bets on traditional, cookie-dependent methods feels akin to building on shaky ground. Server side tracking offers a robust foundation, not just as a workaround, but as a future-proofed strategy that respects user privacy while ensuring your data’s integrity. It ensures that you stay ahead in the game by providing accurate, reliable data that’s critical for making informed decisions in the fast-evolving digital landscape.

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