Server Side Tracking : 6 good reasons to implement it

Written by:  Photo de profil de Lucas Rollin Lucas Rollin

Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2024

What is Server Side Tracking?

In web analytics, Server Side Tracking is an architecture in which data collected on your website is sent to your own server before being passed on to third-party tools.

In a context where third-party cookies will disappear, ad blockers are increasingly intelligent and advertising performance challenges remain unchanged, Server Side Tracking is at its climax.

6 good reasons to implement Server Side Tracking

1. Better data governance

When you install third-party code on your website, third-party companies (Google Analytics, Google Ads) have total control over the data that is collected.

Server Side Tracking gives you complete control over the data being sent, as your server acts as an intermediary between your website and third-party companies.

In its role as intermediary, the server will be able to add or delete data before transmitting it.

This is particularly useful for removing personal identifiable information that may have been sent by mistake.

2. Reducing the impact of ad blockers

An ad blocker is in most cases an extension that is installed in the browser. It has a list of domains and URLs it will block.

For example, most adblockers will block requests sent to Google Analytics.

With Server Side Tracking, you send requests to your own server URL. Adblockers have no way of knowing this URL, so they won’t block it.

Many adblockers block the loading of GTM and GA4 libraries even if you’re using your own server.

A specific configuration is therefore required, as the basic implementation of Server Side Tracking is not enough to bypass adblockers.

Some adblockers, such as uBlock, go so far as to block requests containing /g/collect (Google Analytics 4 events). This requires a little more work to get around it.

3. More data

Even if Server Side Tracking doesn’t change the way consent is collected, it will allow you to recover a certain amount of data that couldn’t be sent before, mainly because of ad blockers.

I would recommend testing it for 1 month to see if the amount of data collected is greater.

4. You spend large advertising budgets

If you’re a traffic manager or media buyer, you need to know that advertising networks thrive on data (manual audience configuration and manual bidding optimization are things of the past).

The bigger your budget, the greater the need for high-quality data collection to optimize your ROI.

And this involves Server Side Tracking.

5. Avoid blocking of third-party cookies

Safari (with ITP), Firefox (with ETP) and Brave block third-party cookies. Safari is also able to detect when the server to which you are sending your tracking data is not the same as the one used to provide your website pages.

If it detects this, it will set a timeout of 7 days for the cookie.

This can be prevented by a specific server-side configuration.

6. Reduced client-side load

With Server Side Tracking, a single markup is installed on the client side, which reduces page load times because there are fewer scripts to load.

Instead of having tags for Meta, Google Ads, Google Analytics, etc., you have a single GA4 tag on the client side and the rest is managed on the server side.