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Server-Side Tagging

What is a Server Side Container? Why is it required in server-side tracking?

February 13, 2023
Google Analytics 4 Migration Via Tagmate

With the advent of server-side tracking (SST) after Google decided to phase out third-party cookies, there is a huge surge in the number of advertising and marketing professionals trying to learn about the topic.

The server-side container is one of the basic concepts used throughout the literature explaining SST and we thought that we must cover the definition of server-side containers and give a basic overview of the role they play in server-side tracking.

Mind you that this isn’t a comprehensive guide but a quick and simple run-through of the role they place in server-side tagging.

Let’s get started:

Understanding server-side containers

The server-side container acts as a virtual container that receives event object data from client requests and sends this data to the endpoints i.e. third-party marketing and analytics tools. 

Technically speaking, it is a server-side framework that facilitates the tracking and management of third-party scripts, tags, and pixels on the website.

It helps marketers to centralize implementing and updating tracking codes. On top of that, a server-side container also helps control and manage tag firing rules, load sequencing, and data mapping.

The server-side container is hosted on a custom subdomain i.e. first-party subdomain of your main website. 

For example, the domain must use for hosting the server container. 

While you can always use an existing first-party custom subdomain, the future changes in Intelligent Tracking Protection (ITP) signal that you should ideally get a fresh first-party subdomain.

The Need For A Server-Side Container In Server-Side Tracking

The server-side container is needed in server-side tagging since it plays a pivotal role in reducing the latency and the page load time. 

This is due to the fact that it allows tags to be executed on the server side instead of relying on the client-side browser to load and fire the tags.

This also enhances the data collection accuracy and helps ensure that tags fire consistently despite varying client-side conditions. 

Moreover, it provides the website owners with greater control over the implementation and management of tags, thereby adding to the efficiency and streamlining of the entire process.

The server container isn’t associated with any arbitrary triggers such as:

  • Page View
  • Click or 
  • Scroll Threshold

It only triggers a tag when the Client instructs it to do so which conforms with ‘no consent, no tracking.’

Thus, the server-side container keeps running all the time regardless of client-side activity like refreshing the page since it has no relation with container load or page load.

While there are no tags associated with the server-side container life cycle, there is a high probability that they will exist in the days to come.

Wrap Up

In terms of technology, a server-side container is a fairly simple concept to understand but when it comes to creating and managing them as a part of server-side tracking-based first-party data collection is extremely difficult in real life.

Worried? Don’t be- Try Tagmate for free and implement server-side tagging like a walk in the garden!

Server Side Container
Server Side Tracking
Server Side Tagging
Third Party Cookies
Data Privacy
SST Setup
Top questions people ask about Server Side Tagging
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