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Server-Side Tagging

Server-Side Tagging Vs Client-Side Tagging: A Comprehensive Guide For Marketing Analysts

May 17, 2023
Google Analytics 4 Migration Via Tagmate

Implementing tracking mechanisms is crucial for understanding user interactions with websites and mobile apps. Two main methods dominate this space: server-side tagging and client-side tagging. As an expert in the field, you are already familiar with these concepts. However, a comprehensive understanding of the technical aspects, terms, and differences between these two methods is essential. In this article, we will delve into the basics of server-side and client-side tagging, their technical aspects, and the explanations of terms used in both cases.

Client-Side Tagging: An Overview

Client-side tagging refers to the placement of tracking code on the client-side of a website or mobile app. This code, typically in JavaScript, sends data to a third-party analytics platform when a user interacts with the website or app. The tracking code runs in the user's browser or device, sending data to the analytics platform via client-side requests. Popular client-side tagging solutions include Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.

Pros and Cons of Client-side Tagging

Let us quickly glance at the advantages and disadvantages of implementing client-side tagging:


  • Easy to implement: Client-side tagging is generally easier to set up, requiring less technical expertise.
  • Real-time data tracking: This method allows for real-time tracking of user interactions and events.


  • Data accuracy: Client-side tagging can be affected by ad blockers and other client-side issues, potentially limiting the accuracy of the collected data.
  • Data privacy and security concerns: Sensitive user data may be exposed, as it is sent through client-side requests.

Server-Side Tagging: An Overview

Server-side tagging involves sending data to an analytics platform from the server-side of a website or mobile app, typically using server-side requests. Unlike client-side tagging, this method relies on tracking code executed on the server, rather than in the user's browser or device. Popular server-side tagging solutions include Snowplow and Segment.

Pros and Cons of Server-side Tagging

In this section, we will go through the benefits and limitations of server-side tagging:


  • Data privacy and security: Server-side tagging offers improved privacy and security, as data is transmitted directly from the server.
  • Reduced reliance on client-side JavaScript: This method eliminates the need for JavaScript tracking code, potentially improving site performance.
  • More detailed data: Server-side tagging enables sending richer, more granular data to the analytics platform.


  • Implementation complexity: This method can be more complex to implement and maintain compared to client-side tagging.
  • Resource requirements: Server-side tagging may demand more server resources, potentially impacting overall performance.

Key Differences Between Client-Side And Server-Side Tagging 

Client-side tagging and server-side tagging are two approaches to managing and deploying tracking tags on websites. While both serve the same purpose, they have several key differences:

Difference between client-side and server-side tagging

Wrap Up

It is crucial for organizations to carefully evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of both client-side and server-side tagging when implementing either of the data analytics approaches. While client-side tagging offers ease of implementation, it faces data accuracy challenges due to ad-blockers and browser limitations, and exposes data to potential security threats. On the other hand, server-side tagging ensures more accurate, consistent data and provides better data privacy and security through server-based processing and transmission, making it a preferred choice for organizations prioritizing data protection.

As businesses grow and analytics requirements become more complex, scalability becomes a crucial factor in choosing between client-side and server-side tagging. Client-side tagging may negatively affect user experience as the number of tags increases, whereas server-side tagging minimizes this impact and allows for more tags without affecting user experience. By adopting server-side tagging, organizations can future-proof their analytics infrastructure and better adapt to evolving needs. It is essential for decision-makers to weigh these considerations when selecting the most suitable tagging approach for their organization's specific circumstances and objectives.

Top questions people ask about Server Side Tagging
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