If there’s one thing that’s on our mind going into 2024 (and beyond) it’s tracking. With Google’s recent announcement about disabling third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users there is never a better time to start preparing for a cookieless future.

Anyone familiar with the dumpster fire that was the iOS 14 update’s impact on Facebook (Meta) ads will understand the importance of having a robust tracking ecosystem system in place. Without strong conversion data algorithms are unable to generate high-quality performance.

That’s where server-side tagging comes into play.

What is Server-Side Tagging?

Server-side tagging is an alternative system of data tracking that moves control from third parties to the first party (the website owner/operator) by hosting both a website and its users’ data on a centralized server.

Why this is beneficial

  • Increases tracking accuracy by preventing data loss due to client-side issues such as ad blockers, cookie restrictions, or browser limitations.
  • It leads to faster page load times and improved UX, because the processing load is shifted from the user’s device to your server.
  • Increased security by keeping this data on the server-side instead of the client-side. This can help protect your website and its users from potential security breaches.

How it does this

There are no HTTP requests, requests are sent and processed directly in your server. The server then communicates directly with third-party ad platforms


The way you implement this solution will depend on both your technical expertise and budget. Here is a list of options ranked by level of technical know-how.

  1. Custom Implementation: For maximum flexibility and technical expertise you can develop your own solution
  2. GTM + Google Cloud Platform: Tag Manager offers built-in server side tracking capabilities
  3. GTM + Third-Party Middleware Solutions: Solutions like stape.io simplify implementation by offering easier hosting setup, integrations and more.
  4. Complete Third-Party Solution: Such as ProfitMetrics or GetElevar, more on them below.

Recommended Third-Party Solutions

Although each of these options enable server-side tracking, like any technical solution they each have a differentiator.

To help you decide which option is the best for you we are going to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the pros and cons of each platform? 
  2. Are there any required features? E.g. The client has to be on Shopify, or only works with Google Tag Manager
  3. What features does each have that the other does not and how does that impact?
  4. Which business type each platform is suitable for
PlatformPros & FeaturesCons & Required(4) Type
GetElevar* Automated setup
* Session Enrichment technology
* Ongoing Tracking Support
* High cost
* Shopify Only
Large ecommerce/D2C
ProfitMetrics* Multiple CRM Integrations
* No contract, very flexible
* Automated setup
* Utilize Profit Bidding
* Profit analysis needs consistent margin data
Small/Med Ecom/D2C
Stape.io* Lowest cost solution
* Great support documentation
* Automated setup available for additional cost
* Higher level of technical knowledge required
* Google Tag Manager Required
Small ecommerce Brands

Final Thoughts

Given the growing interest, this isn’t going to be the last time you hear about server-side tracking. For those that act quickly, it could be one of your biggest competitive edges in the new year.

When everyone else is struggling, you will have clean tracking data in your accounts. Since we now live in a world where high-quality data, is crucial to the success of campaigns.

Like any new technical implementation make sure you properly evaluate the correct tool that can scale with your business. Any questions please don’t hesitate to comment below.

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