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Thomas Wolters
Director - Elevator
Thomas Wolters
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How the cookieless era offers brands a great opportunity

14 juni 2022

How the cookieless era offers brands a great opportunity
(but you need to grasp it in the coming months)

Cookieless is coming and despite what some might say, that future is quite inevitable. But don't let doomsday-talk fool you; the cookieless era offers great opportunities for brands. One opportunity is server side tagging, a method we already implemented with several customers. Let me explain.

Currently, website and customer data is easily collectable by using third party cookies. This data is important as you can use it to identify and target specific audiences, or locate the source of your conversions. Consequently, marketing operations can be further optimized by using insights derived from data that visitors leave behind. However, it is clear that all third-party and cross-domain tracking cookies will disappear in a couple of years, some even expecting it to be by 2023. Therefore, it is important for businesses to come up with a solution to compensate for this loss of data in order to keep efficient and effective exposure in the online space. 

What is the solution?

Fortunately, there is a method that not only solves this problem, but also lifts your marketing efforts to the next level; server side tagging.

Google already offers this function with Google Tag Manager as the company is anticipating the popularity of the practice. With Google Tag Manager, the method is becoming more user friendly, and therefore, gaining more traction as well. But in order to understand server side tagging, you need to know how client side tagging (the current method) works.

Client side tagging

In the current landscape, data is collected on your website and then forwarded to the respective platform the pixel belongs to. This can be a Facebook, Google or Microsoft pixel. The most important aspect of this method is that all the data collection happens in the browser (client-side). From the client side, the data is sent directly to the relevant platform.

The problem here is that when the data is sent directly to the platforms, third party cookies are used in order to extract information from your visitors. Consequently, the privacy of your users is not guaranteed. Here is where server side tagging comes into play.

Server side tagging

Instead of sending the data directly to the platform, the data is first sent to a server in the cloud that is controlled by the website owner. Because of this extra layer, you have more influence over the data, and therefore, the data can be better protected and managed. What is even more important is that third party cookies are not needed. 

Impact on conversions

Of course, one of the most important questions to ask is what impact server side tagging has on conversions. Therefore, the following points summarize how server side tagging can benefit your bottom line.

  • Server side tagging results in a faster website as the browser does not have to load all of the different marketing tags. Therefore, less code on the backend leads to improved page speed. In fact, studies have consistently shown that fast page speed will result in a better conversion rate. For instance, Walmart found that for every one second in improvement in page load time, conversions increased by 2%.
  • As mentioned before, using server side tagging will give you more control over the data collected on your website. This control presents the opportunity to use this information in different ways in order to gain insights that can positively impact your conversions. For example, you can filter out irrelevant data, add extra data to make your customer profiles more complete or send more data to your marketing tools through webhooks which contributes to further optimisation. Consequently, the data set derived from your target audience will be more precise and complete, resulting in the ability to further personalize your marketing campaigns. An article written by McKinsey & Company states that companies that grow faster derive 40% more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing counterparts.

All in all, the new landscape of cookieless browsing is slowly becoming a reality. This makes it even more important to act in a timely manner. 

Especially, since the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4 can create an opportunity to revise your methods for data collection. Fortunately, we have done these projects many times now and can make sure your company is ready for this new way of working whilst maintaining your website performance.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this topic, or if you are interested to see whether we can help you in another way, feel free to contact us at thomas@elevator.amsterdam.

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