How Much Does Server-Side Tagging Cost?
As we inch closer towards the third-party cookie blackout, it is evident that the marketing and advertising tech is heading towards a tectonic shift. In today's data-driven world, understanding your website's performance and user behavior is an irreplaceable part of running your business. Thus a new approach to tracking website visitors is the need of the hour and server-side tagging has emerged as the Messiah for marketing analysts, advertisers, and website owners.
Server-side tagging offers a more accurate and secure way to track user interactions, but it comes with a cost. In this comprehensive article, we'll break down the expenses associated with server-side tagging, explore various strategies for implementation, and help you make an informed decision.
Let’s get started:
The Basics Of Server-Side Tagging
Before diving into costs, it's essential to understand what server-side tagging is and why it's beneficial. Server-side tagging is a method for collecting and sending user interaction data from your website to various analytics and marketing tools through a server, rather than directly from the user's browser.
This approach offers several advantages, including:
1. Improved data accuracy: By eliminating browser-based limitations and ad-blockers, server-side tagging provides more accurate and reliable data.
3. Faster page load times: Fewer tags loading on the user's browser can improve the overall user experience.
Costs Of Implementing Server-Side Tagging With Google Cloud Platform
To set up server-side tagging using Google's recommended method, you'll need to have at least three instances of App Engine at your disposal on the Google Cloud Platform. Each of these instances cost approximately $40 per month, resulting in a minimum monthly cost of $120 i.e. $1,440 annually. The actual cost can increase depending on several factors:
1. Network egress: The cost of all outgoing HTTP traffic from your server endpoint.
2. Logging: The expenses associated with recording and storing logs for data analysis.
3. Server instances: High-traffic websites may require more than three server instances, increasing the overall cost.
Analyzing Server-Side Tracking Costs When Renting Server Space From A Third Party
Generally, it is better to use a cloud solution provider for hosting the server since security and uptime are two of the greatest requirements along with the need for scalability.
Here are the factors that will affect the costs in this approach:
1. Number of server-based events tracked each month: The more traffic your website receives, the higher the cost due to increased server-based event tracking.
2. Number of originating data sources: The more data sources you extract data from, the more you'll pay.
3. Number of destination data sources (API integrations): The more data sources you send data to, the higher the cost.
4. Number of cloud servers rented: The more servers you rent, the higher the monthly cost. Each server typically costs around $40 per month.
5. Number of services used: Additional services, such as tag error monitoring, conversion monitoring, and real-time reporting, can increase your monthly expense.
Here, the Tag Management System (TMS) vendor like Tagmate has to provide an at-scale real-time decision engine. This can be costly, so server-side logic Tagmate is designed to serve the enterprises that require scalability, performance, and security (all of which are served by isolating tagging logic to remote servers).
Example Of A Server-Side Tagging Cost Breakdown
Let's consider a hypothetical website with moderate traffic and multiple data sources. The server rental costs may look like this:
- Minimum/fixed monthly cost: $120 (3 servers)
- Additional cost for higher traffic and tags: $120-$180 (3-6 servers)
- Logs: Approximately $100 for 500,000 requests
In this example, the total monthly cost for server-side tagging ranges from $240 to $300 which roughly translates to $3000-$3500 a year. Keep in mind that this is only an estimate, and the actual costs will vary based on your website's specific needs and requirements.
Strategies To Optimize Server-Side Tagging Implementation
To maximize the benefits of server-side tagging while managing costs, consider implementing the following strategies:
Strategy 1: Be Selective With Data Collection
When setting up server-side tracking, be mindful of the data you're collecting. Focus on collecting data that is most relevant to your business objectives, and avoid tracking unnecessary events or data points. This will help you minimize costs associated with server-based events and data storage.
Strategy 2: Prioritize Key Data Sources And Services
Evaluate your data sources and the services you're using to determine which are essential to your tracking setup. Prioritize the most critical data sources and services that contribute to your overall business objectives, and consider scaling back or eliminating less impactful ones to reduce costs.
Strategy 3: Continuously Monitor And Optimize Your Tracking Setup
Regularly review your server-side tagging setup to ensure it's operating efficiently and effectively. Analyze your data collection processes, server usage, and service utilization to identify areas where improvements can be made, and optimize your tracking setup accordingly.
Strategy 4: Leverage Automation And Alerts
Using rule-based automation and alerts can help you stay informed of potential issues, such as tag errors or unexpected traffic spikes. Implementing these features can aid in proactively identifying and resolving problems, helping you maintain the accuracy and efficiency of your server-side tagging setup while minimizing costs.
Indeed, server-side tagging is both necessary and beneficial but it is to be understood that the entire infrastructure cost will be transferred from third-parties to website owners.
By understanding the factors affecting these costs and implementing strategies to optimize your tracking setup, you can make the most of server-side tagging while managing expenses. Remember to continuously monitor and adjust your implementation to ensure you're maximizing the benefits of server-side tagging and staying within your budget.
However, there’s more to it when it comes to costing- hiring developers, synchronizing their activities with your team, spending time waiting for implementation and troubleshooting, and lost revenue. On top of that, fixing even the simplest of web tags may take weeks or even months in many cases depending on the developer availability and communication.
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