This month, Ted sit’s down with Meg to talk about what’s probably going to be at the core of marketing analytics very soon – server-side tagging.

Ted Solomon is the founder and CEO of CTRL Digital, a next-generation Digital Marketing Agency or, you could say, a first-generation Cloud Marketing Agency. They use the Google Cloud Platform and Machine Learning to grow their clients’ business more effectively, and with respect to privacy.

Ted’s chat will go over the basics of server-side tagging and why it will be valuable and important for you to incorporate it into your analytics strategy going forward – especially with the loss of cookies.

We give a summary of what we discussed below.

Let’s start with what tags are

We’ve been using tags for a while.

A tag is a script you put on your website that fires when certain actions are taken. That information is then sent back to the specific tag’s platform.

The way we currently do it (but we might soon be calling it the old way of doing it), is to implement the tag, or pixel, from the third-party tracking or ad platform. This then sends information back to that platform to gauge what conversions it can claim and to optimize your ads based on this data.

These third-party tags do two things:


  • They write cookies
  • Send interactions (things that happened on the website, like a page load or a conversion) back to the platform

But now, due to privacy, cookie restrictions are being implemented. And we’ve all heard about the inevitable death of third-party cookies.

So what will be available to marketers going forward?

The new technology: server-side tagging

It’s still a tag, but it’s one script on your site that you own, that sends data to your cloud or on-premise server.

This means no 3rd party vendors are involved.

And once you have this data on your server, you can decide what you want to pass on to your marketing platforms. You get to choose what data you feed the ad platform algorithms and have more control of the data.

With server-side tagging, you deploy a server-side cookie (also called an HTTP-only cookie). Some of the benefits with this way of working are:

  • You have better campaign follow-up for users that have taken certain actions on your site. This is becoming harder due to the 24-hour expiration on the cookies the ad and tracking platforms drop.
  • The HTTP-only cookie somewhat circumvents this.
  • You can feed your algorithm with the data you know is valuable, so that your ad platforms are optimizing for those conversions.
  • Your site’s performance improves because you’re not running as many scripts.

So, there you have it! Server-side tagging is a fantastic way to improve your website’s performance and user experience and be more in control of what you share with other platforms. Watch the video to learn more and let us know if you have any questions. Thanks for reading!