The Death of 3rd-Party Cookies: Benefits of Google Server-Side Tagging

Author : Elizabeth Mathew

Insight by: Elizabeth Mathew

Safari and Firefox have already started blocking 3rd-party cookies, and marketers are facing acute data tracking and measurement problems. 

By 2023, Google Chrome will also disown 3rd-party cookies. The data loss from Safari and Firefox is already blinding (22.24% combined market share), and with Chrome (64.53%) following the suit, brands and markets need to run ahead and prepare for the change. It is not just the third-party cookies disappearing, but a huge source of consumer data and insights.

There is good news. Google Tag Manager Server-Side Tagging can help fix the data holes and measurement issues. Additionally, GTM Server-Side Tagging comes with additional benefits as well.

Google Tag Manager Server-Side Tagging

For tracking, websites and apps historically use a client-side tracking solution. In this method, a tag is set up that collects the data from the user’s browser (client) and directly sends this to individual tacking service providers like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook, etc. 


Client-Side Tracking In Action

GTM Client-Side Tracking


Server-Side Tracking In Action

GTM Server-Side Tracking

Let us also understand the key differences between client-side tracking and server-side tracking:

Client-side Tracking Server-side Tracking
Browser-based tracking Website’s cloud server-based tracking
Is set up via client-side tagging. For example, Google Tag Manager Is set up via server-side tagging. For example, Google Tag Manager Server-Side Tagging
Third-party javascript code is added to the website to track users No third-party javascript code is added
  • It comes under the purview of thirty-party cookies
  • Adblockers, Browsers like Safari can block third-party cookies by default
  • Do not come under the purview of third-party cookies
  • It comes clean as first-party data, as the tags are hosted and run in the website owner’s cloud server before them being sent to the analytics/ tracking service providers like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook, etc.
Unreliable tracking option as a good part of third-party cookies get blocked Reliable tracking and measurement option
Not compliant with privacy regulations Compliant with privacy regulations


As you can see, the server-side tracking is the future.

To switch from client-side tracking to server-side tracking, brands need to move all the tracking pixels to Google Tag Manager Server-Side. This includes all your current tags Google Analytics, GA4, Google Ads, Facebook, etc. 

In the case of server-side tracking, the brand will be able to run all the tracking scripts directly on the brand’s cloud server instead of running them in the user’s browser. In this manner, brands can convert third-party cookies to first-party cookies and thereby stay compliant with data protection and privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA.

Benefits of GTM Server-Side Tracking 

On the tracking front, Google Tag Manager Server-Side Tagging circumvents tracking restrictions and offers reliable tracking.

On the measurement front, it helps fills the earlier data gaps in the conversion paths, which has historically made it difficult to understand the customer’s purchase journeys and advertise to them profitably. 

On the data privacy compliance and regulations front, GTM server-side tracking is compliant with GDPR, CCPA and is able to successfully convert third-party data to first-party data.

More Benefits of GTM Server-Side Tracking 

  1. Faster site performance 
  2. Transform 3rd Party Cookies to 1st Party Cookies
  3. Reliable tracking
  4. No more data holes in analytics measurement
  5. Full control over the data
  6. Content-security policies
  7. Hide sensitive data: tracking IDs, secret API keys

You can find more information about Google Tag Manager and Server-Side Tagging here, and you will be able to download our free whitepaper, Analytics and Measurement in the Cookie-Less World, Background to Google Analytics and GTM Server-Side Tagging on the same page.

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