Measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and understanding the user journey is paramount for any digital business. However, at the same time, speed and load time are also crucial factors in determining the customer experience on any digital platform. 


Marketers and analysts that are trying to understand their users’ actions on websites and applications, friction points, or simply how users interact with their site are typically required to add snippets of code, ‘tags.’ 


When too many tags load on a site, it can negatively affect the customer experience and conversion rates. Since third-party tags running directly on a site could have broad access to information entered on that page, it’s important for businesses to have control over what information those tags can access.


To help address these challenges, Google introduced Server-Side Tagging to Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360. 


You’ll now be able to move many third-party tags off your site and into a new server container hosted in your Google Cloud account. 


According to Google, this means when customers interact with a page on your site, third-party tags are loaded directly in the server container rather than the site. This provides faster page load times, greater security for your customer data, and additional data controls.


Advantages Of Moving Third-Party Tags


Load time is the main advantage when moving third-party tags off your site. Fewer tags must load when your customers visit, leading to faster page load times. 


According to Google, a recent research study showed that a decrease in page load times for mobile sites improved progression rates for every step of the purchase funnel for all brands surveyed. For retail sites, every 0.1 second reduction in mobile site speed on average increases the average order value by nearly 10 percent.


Google shared the example of an eCommerce retailer that works with many technology partners to execute marketing campaigns and measure customer behavior. Whenever this retailer wanted to work with a new partner, for example, to run email marketing campaigns, they needed to add a new third-party tag to their site to measure success. 


Now instead, the retailer can place the new tag into its server container in Tag Manager and when a customer loads the retailer’s site, this tag will run in the server container after the page loads. This allows businesses to measure the success of their campaign without impacting the customer experience.

Server Side Tagging in GTM

Server-side tagging allows Tag Manager users to move measurement tag instrumentation out of their website or app and into server-side processing via Google Cloud. Server-side tagging offers a few advantages over client-side tags:


  • Improved performance: Fewer measurement tags in the website or app means less code to run client-side.


  • Better security: Visitor data is better protected by collecting and distributing data in a customer-managed server-side environment. Data is sent to a Google Cloud instance where it is then processed and routed by other tags.


To get started with server-side tagging, check out these guides Google has put together. 

  1. Create a new Tag Manager server-side container
  2. Deploy the container to a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) server.


About the author

Sebastian Stan

Sebastian is a journalist and digital strategist with years of experience in the news industry, social media, content creation and management, and digital analytics.

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