We have prepared this guide for Shopify merchants to understand what server-side tagging is, whether it is a good fit for them, and what they should do as next steps. Server-Side-Tagging is a data collection and processing method that we will be talking a lot about in the upcoming years. Besides, it will probably be the main way of data-processing.
What is Server-Side Tagging
Server-side tagging has actually been around since the beginning of web analytics and is not a new concept. However, we’ve been hearing more and more about it after user privacy and cookie restrictions became a major concern, especially with Apple’s iOS14 updates.
The majority of data collecting and processing tools, including Google Tag Manager, run on the client-side, that is, in browsers such as Google Chrome. When you visit a website, cookies are loaded, processed, and sent via your browser. Therefore, if a user is running an ad or cookie blocker, tracking will not work properly.
Server-Side Tagging is essential for Shopify stores - especially for the ones that rely on remarketing campaigns.
Client-Side Tracking vs. Server-Side Tracking
Client-Side Tracking is the typical tracking method that almost all websites currently use. Almost every action takes place in the visitor’s browser. When a visitor visits our websites, Google Tag Manager (if installed) runs through the browser (e.g. Google Chrome or Safari), reads the data layers (if installed), and sends requests to 3rd parties along with the related data attached to it. If you are not familiar with the classic Google Tag Manager and data layer concept, you can watch this video.
We have prepared a detailed guideline - explained with examples and flow for Shopify StoresLearn More
Benefits of Server Side Tagging
Safari & iOS 14 Friendly
Due to Apple's updates, using cookies and tracking in Safari and iOS apps has become more difficult than ever. You can extend the lifetime of cookies by relying on server-side tagging. It will also not be affected by iOS blocking third-party cookies. It affects Shopify merchants that use Facebook and Instagram as marketing channels especially on mobile devices.
Reduces the Impact of Ad Blockers
Many ad blockers block client-side cookies and scripts. Server-side tagging also helps with that. Ad blockers might be able to block GoogleAnalytics.com and similar requests from your Shopify store but they won't block requests from your own subdomain.
Improves the Page Speed and Reduces the Page Load Time
More Control on the Data
You can control what is being sent while processing data on your server instead of sending it directly to third-party libraries. As an example, the Facebook Pixel tag might collect a lot of information about your users. However, you only need to submit a certain amount of data-set, such as purchase details. You can easily do this filtering on your server-side setup.
Why Use Server Side Tagging for Shopify Stores
Most Shopify stores rely on Facebook and Instagram as their primary marketing channel and source of revenue. Also, remarketing/retargeting campaigns are often the best performing because you’re targeting visitors who have already interacted with your Shopify store before, perhaps even purchased a product.
Having the right data is essential for understanding the behavior of your target audience and improving your marketing ROI. For example, if you are running Facebook Ads, you should send your purchase and visitor data to Facebook in the best possible way. This way, you can see your top-performing campaigns and help Facebook optimize your ads based on your data.
Facebook Pixel vs.
Facebook Conversion API
- Facebook Pixel: runs in the user's browser.
- Facebook Conversion API: works on the server-side and provides more data to your Facebook Pixel.
Facebook Conversion API is created to overcome the tracking challenges - especially the ones that come with iOS 14 updates. It works great with Server-Side Tagging on Shopify.Learn More
How to Setup Server-Side
Tagging for Shopify Stores
Server-Side-Tagging setup on Shopify is a complex, technical, and delicate process. It also requires data validation and maintenance. There are several methods to achieve the result. We highly recommend using YOUR OWN Google Cloud Server. This is a very sensitive issue as all your data will pass through the server. Frankly, having your own server will cost between $60-$90 or more depending on your traffic, and that may seem like an extra cost. But it’s worth it as you’ll have full control over your data. We offer a complete server-side tagging setup that includes server-side GTM, Analytics, Google Ads, and FB Conversion API. We help you create your OWN Google Cloud account and then do all of your server-side tagging on your account.
Here is What the Process Looks Like
Onboarding & Account Creating
We will assist you (during a video call or by sharing detailed video documentation) with:
- Creating and connecting your OWN Google Cloud and server-side Google Tag Manager (sGTM) account
- Linking your own subdomain to Google Cloud account
The Analyzify core version (costs $179) should already be installed and set up in your store. Because server-side tracking works on top of client-side tracking as described above.
Initial Setup & Validation
Data is one of the most sensitive topics for a business. That’s why we have a strict data validation phase. Once we’ve completed the setup, we first submit your data to the test properties while your setup remains intact. Then we cross-compare your original data with the new installation.
- Analyzify will integrate the related code into your store,
- All compatible tags will be merged and moved to your new sGTM account,
- Facebook Conversion API, Google Analytics, Google Ads will be set on the server-side,
- Your data will flow into the test properties for a few days and be validated.
Production & Delivery
Once we are 100% sure that everything is working perfectly, we will disconnect your existing data analytics setup and bring your server-side tagging live.
- The installation will be pushed to production.
- The data will be carefully monitored by our experts for the upcoming 4-12 hours.
- Our team will also walk you through your sGTM installation and provide you with a detailed video series for your specific setup.
Analyzify Server-Side Tagging is a great deal. We will set up everything for you, validate, deliver, maintain and train your team.
- Google Cloud Server-Side Tagging Instance Setup
- Google Tag Manager Server-Side Setup
- Google Analytics (UA + GA4),
- Google Ads Server-Side (Enhanced Conversions),
- Facebook Conversion API Setup
- Data Validation / Custom Adjustments
- 12 Months Support
- 2-Hours 1-on-1 Data & Server-Side Tagging Training
We do offer a complete server-side tagging setup that includes server-side GTM, Analytics, Google Ads, and FB Conversion API. We ask you to create a Google Cloud account and then do your complete server-side tagging on your account.
Just like the regular version of Analyzify, our server-side tagging setup will be served under your properties. We will not collect or pass any data to our properties. All the data will flow into your own Google Analytics, Google Cloud and GTM accounts. Our team will be responsible for the setup and validation.
The server-side tagging works on top of your regular data analytics setup. However, you first need to have a solid data analytics setup, data layers, and web-GTM container to run the server-side tracking. That’s why it is an add-on to our core version.
Analyzify Server-Side Tagging add-on costs $2290: a one-time fee for setup, service, and support. The core version of Analyzify is $449, also a one-time fee, in addition to 1-year support. You will also need a Google Cloud account to run the server-side tagging. It comes with a $300 free credit; but depending on your traffic, it might cost between $60 - $90/month.
The Server-side tagging is a whole another concept. It doesn’t only include Facebook Conversion API - but it also makes Google Tag Manager (sGTM), Google Analytics, Google Ads work through the server. It overcomes ad blockers and the Safari’s and iOS’ cookie lifetime limitations. Last but not least, it sends more data to Facebook (compared to the native integration) so the event match rates go higher.
Client-side tracking is the typical tracking method that almost all websites currently use. Almost every action takes place in the visitor’s browser. When a visitor visits our websites, Google Tag Manager (if installed) runs through the browser (e.g. Google Chrome or Safari), reads the data layers (if installed), and sends requests to 3rd parties along with the related data attached to it.
As for the server-side tracking, the data collection and processing happen on your server. You can check our article if you wish to learn the concept further.
After the initial setup, we have a data validation phase where we send all the data into staging properties and cross-compare it with the original data. We move your setup to production once we are 100% sure. The total process takes 5 to 7 days.
If you already have the core version of Analyzify on your Shopify store, just go ahead to the app settings and Get Started on the Server-Side Tagging add-on. Else, you can start with Analyzify and you’ll have the option to purchase the add-on after your setup is complete.
“I am pretty good with tech and feel comfortable with facebook ads and getting everything to link correctly but trying to figure out Google ads / G4 with Shopify was beyond what I could handle. Analyzify was easy to set up and Murat and the team at Analyzify were great in addressing an issue with getting my add to carts to show. Highly recommended!”
"These guys are the real deal; we had thrown everything at our disposal for fixing our Google Analytics tracking issues with our shopify store but nothing worked. They not only fixed the GA tracking but also setup GA4. Absolutely amazing"
"The analyzify team went beyond just installing G4 through tag manager. When I was trying to do it myself I realized that i needed to spend a lot time on figuring out what events, triggers and tags to install. If i were to do everything that analyzify did i would have had to spend days just learning how and what to do. The video that explains everything that they did and the suggestions given are the icing on the cake. Thank you!"
"I have worked with dozens of different developers and agencies but none have been as helpful and knowledgeable as the team at Analyzify. They go over and above expectations. These guys are the real deal; Mr. Erman really took the extra miles! He is very detailed and even figured out a few issues with my Google account that I haven't been realizing! I strongly recommend Analyzify app"
“If you are using Google Analytics it is incredibly important to be able to trust your data. Basing decisions on an account that isn't set up properly has such uncertainty and that is exactly where we were before using Analyzify. Erman and his team were able to quickly set up our account correctly and fix existing errors. I highly recommend taking the time and small fee is very reasonable and definitely worth the investment. Thank you Erman!”
“This is a must have for every store. I'm pretty technically inclined but setting up Google Tag Manager with GA4, Google Optimize, and all other pixels is my nightmare, somehow I always screw it up. Using Analyzify has been the most seamless experience to set everything up flawlessly. The customer support aftercare is also phenomenal, they go above and beyond to make sure everything you need is working right. I will be using their services on my other store ASAP.”
“Professional. Fast. Knowledgeable. Personalized service (It always feels like we are their top priority). A must-have.”
“Outstanding App and team. Best tracking solution you can find for Shopify. Team is amazing and responsive, we are making changes in theme often and we require custom data layer and adjustment of tracking code, Analyzify team did outstanding job helping us have always up-to-date data ready.”
“I first saw Analyzify in their how-to YouTube videos. They presented themselves very clear and easy to follow so I was encouraged to look at this app for my store. I had previous code and tags created over the years and did not want to duplicate anything. They offer a VERY reasonable price for the work they put in and saved a lot of time on my end. The work was fast, clean, works efficiently for me to read better data in GA. A trustworthy investment for you to get the most of your data!”
"We wanted to get greater control over event tracking via GTM to improve our understanding of how customers are interacting with our store. We struggled with the frankly complicated setup until we came across Analyzify. It has been the perfect solution for our requirements and the dev team are truly outstanding. They patiently answered our queries and have been quick and efficient in resolving our support requests. Wonderful product by an even better team, highly recommend them if you wish to understand your customers better and boost your sales! "
"I have been working with these guys for a few weeks now, and absolutely nothing short of amazing! The support is above and beyond anything I've received in any other app, and the product opens up so much data and information to drive the growth and success of the business, its hard to believe at first. The data is instantly relevant, and actionable. In todays marketplace with everyone moving to online, this is the edge businesses like mine need to stand out, and the Analyzify team have been with me every step of the way. Awesome, Amazing, Insightful and a probably the best value on the entire Shopify App Store. "
"After another app completely messed up and shopify failed to resolve we had approached Analyzify where we not only had solved the problem of the tracking but also now have much ore detailed Analytics , great app great support and after sales support. "
"Great plugin to have all the data on your Store and the various visitor behaviors! (and therefore do very powerful marketing actions) The support is fantastic, they customized everything for my store! Super recommended! "
"This is an analytics powerhouse of a service. Amazing people who over-deliver on everything.. Best investment we have made in understanding our stores performance."