Ever since it was released that server-side tagging in Google Tag Manager would run on the Google Cloud Platform stack, my imagination has been running wild. By running on GCP, the potential for integrations with other GCP components is limitless. The output to Cloud Logging already introduces interesting pipeline opportunities, but now it gets even better. It’s finally possible to write directly to Google BigQuery from a Client or tag template!
One of the largest costs in a server-side tagging can be logging. Google warns about this in their official documentation, and it’s definitely something to keep a keen eye on if your server-side endpoint processes enough data per month. How much should it process for logging to become an issue? It depends, but you could start seeing some impact once the endpoint processes >1 million incoming requests per month. The best way to find out if logging is a problem is to visit the Billing dashboard in your server-side tagging Google Cloud project and check what the portion of Log Volume is in your monthly costs.
Updated 26 May 2021: Added details about the new Namespace Objects option in the template. Core Web Vitals is described on the dedicated web.dev resource as (emphasis mine): “Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools.” Recommended Core Web Vitals thresholds - from https://web.dev/vitals/ The Core Web Vitals measurement as suggested by Google are:
At one point in the turbulent year of 2020, you might have gasped in surprise when looking at the preview interface of Google Tag Manager. No, I’m not talking about the new preview mode interface. Instead, I’m referring to how the Click Element and Form Element built-in variables would now display a CSS path string rather than the expected [object HTMLDivElement] (or equivalent). There was good and bad in this update.
With the introduction of server-side tagging in Google Tag Manager, the variety of things you can do with your own server-side proxy is mind-boggling: Reduce client-side bloat by consolidating data streams and distributing them to vendor endpoints server-side. Improve data security by adding safeguards and validations to prevent harmful data from being sent to vendor endpoints. Enrich data server-side, by combining the incoming data stream with data from APIs and data stores that you own and control.
Intelligent Tracking Prevention is the name of the tracking prevention mechanism implemented in WebKit and enabled in Safari and all major browsers running on the iOS platform. I’ve written about it on this blog, and the CookieStatus.com resource is something you should bookmark for further reading. The purpose of ITP is to prevent tracking tools’ access to data stored and processed in the browser. This involves things like blocking all third-party cookies and restricting the lifetime of first-party cookies.
On the surface, tracking events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is fairly simple. Events are, after all, pretty much the only thing you can collect in GA4. It’s easy to get tied down with endless comparisons to Universal Analytics, though. While I’m steadfastly opposed to the idea that GA4 should resemble Universal Analytics, it’s still important to cleanse the palate and approach GA4’s event tracking with an open mind. There are some comparisons that can be drawn between the new and the old, but what GA4 might lack in some features and use cases, it more than makes up for this with a more flexible data structure.