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.
Keep in mind that Analyzify's core version (costs $749) 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's server-side tagging add-on costs $2790: a one-time fee for setup, service, and support. The core version of Analyzify is $749, also a one-time fee, in addition to 3-months of expert support. An additional 1-month support fee is $179.
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.
It's an excellent application! In addition, they offer outstanding support. The plugin has allowed us to activate all Google Analytics 3 and 4 enhanced e-commerce reports.
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.
I was able to install and get Google Tag Manager running in less than 30 minutes. Google Analytics 4 is working perfectly and I didn't have any experience with this. I didn't need a developer and I've acquired a whole team happy to help me for the installation and for future changes. They are always available and very happy to help in a timely manner. Setup was easy and video walked me thru every step of the way. I have it installed in my 2 stores and suggest it to all who need to be ready for Google Analytics 4.
I have had this app for a while, and not only it performs perfectly, it is always updated and it provides tremendous value to the business. The instructional videos are super-helpful, but the team behind is the true gem in all of this. No problem is a problem and the founder is always available in first person to help! No-coding experience needed. The perfect solution to have a custom implementation without the need for a costly consultancy.
I used this service to correct our store integrations to the Google platform and to get a head-start on proper connection to the new GA4 platform. They were very responsive and helpful with a clear process. A big missing piece for us was Google's tag manager. If you have fairly good knowledge of Google Analytics and GMC etc. with some decent web dev experience, you probably would not need this service as I did not see any particular value-add other than ensuring proper setup. But for those that may be a bit out of their league, this was VERY helpful. I really appreciated how they explained exactly what was done upon completion, and it was rewarding and refreshing to see our data flowing properly once again.
Very important app to have on your store in order to understand how your e-commerce is doing. With them, I feel sure about my analytics data and now I can work on strategies for Google Ads campaigns. They have a very good implementation and their support reached me out directly on Google Meet to fix some issues caused by the GDPR app I use.