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Google Introduces New Server-Side Google Tag Manager Implementation

By: Jake Patterson    September 29, 2020

In August, Google launched a public beta for Google Tag Manager (GTM) server-side integration. So rather than implementing a GTM container client-side in the source code of your website – the old-fashioned way – a GTM container will be placed on the server that hosts your website. Instead of being collected data from client-side integration, data will be collected and stored via your server.


What are the benefits of server-side Google Tag Manager implementation?

Some of the benefits of server-side GTM implementation are clearer than others. Here are a few that have a big impact:


By reducing the amount of JavaScript on the site, you can help improve your Page Speed Insights score. Since a webpage can have hundreds of potential JavaScript tags to load, reducing the number of snippets that load on a page can help improve the overall load time.


Server-side GTM helps mitigate the data loss caused by ad blockers. Even if a user has consented to tracking, they may still have ad blockers turned on; ad blockers pose a risk to data collection because many of them block the ability to send Google Analytics their data. As of right now, ad blockers cannot block the server-side implementation of data collection.


Added data security is another big benefit of server-side GTM. By taking control of what data is sent to what vendor, server-side GTM implementation decreases the likelihood that personally identifiable information (PII) is leaked.


What are the downsides of server-side Google Tag Manager implementation?

Client-side GTM implementation is difficult as it is; server-side does not make it any simpler for you. Based on your current website tracking solution, the switch to server-side could be a long process – and you will likely need assistance from someone who knows how to write JavaScript, if you do not.


Another pitfall is that if you have a client collecting a large amount of data, you will need to pay money for a place to host the server-side container. Depending on how large you need that container to be, the solution could be costly.