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OK, that’s one unappealing title for a blog post, but rest assured that the content more than makes up for this obscurity. Recently, my favorite toy in the world, Google Tag Manager’s server container, introduced the capability to handle asynchronous operations in variables. This is done through a JavaScript interface known as Promise. A Promise is a way to run code in JavaScript without knowing what its eventual value will be.

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One of the key skills for anyone working with web analytics and tag management is understanding how to identify where things went wrong, why they went wrong, and ideally how to fix them. There are plenty of excellent browser extensions for helping you debug, and we’ll discuss these in the guide, too. But most of all we’re going to use browsers’ own developer tools, as they are always the best source of truth for anything that happens within the browser window.

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To continue my extensive collection of Google Tag Manager’s server-side tagging articles, in this guide I’ll walk you through how to set up a Server container in Microsoft Azure’s App Service platform. For my previous guides on manually provisioning a Server container, follow these links: Amazon AWS (Elastic Beanstalk): Deploy Server-side Google Tag Manager In AWS Google Cloud (App Engine): Provision Server-side Tagging Application Manually Azure’s App Service is similar to AWS Elastic Beanstalk and GCP App Engine, in that it lets you create a web application from scratch with minimal effort.

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For many, it seems, one of the most important justifications for server-side Google Tag Manager is its resilience to ad and content blockers. After all, by virtue of serving the container JavaScript from your own domain, you escape many of the heuristic devices today’s blocker technologies employ. Well, I’ve gone on record over and over again to say how this is poor justification for using server-side GTM. By circumventing the user’s wish to block scripts, you are disrespecting them and forcing their browser to download scripts that they wanted to avoid downloading in the first place.

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One of the biggest blockers for Google Tag Manager’s server-side tagging to slip out of beta is Google Ads. Until server-side tagging supports a solution for both conversions and remarketing capabilities to be reproduced server-side, it’s unlikely that Server containers will lose their beta label. While I can’t say what will happen to the beta label now, the fact is that Google Tag Manager has now released support for Conversion tracking using server-side tagging.

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Since Google Tag Manager released the manual setup guide for server-side tagging, my mind has been spinning with the idea of walking through the deployment into Amazon’s AWS. I personally prefer Google Cloud Platform over AWS, because I think it’s so much more user-friendly. Even though in this guide we’ll be utilizing one of the simplest AWS services, Elastic Beanstalk, the deployment is still much more complex than if you were to use GCP’s App Engine.

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Ever since Google Analytics released the first features of consent mode, I’ve been anxiously waiting for news about a more tightly-knit integration with Google’s preferred implementation solution: Google Tag Manager. In a recent release, Google released a veritable cornucopia of new features that should assist in determining and implementing consent not just across Google tags, but any tags running in the container. The new features are: New consent types (in addition to ad_storage and analytics_storage which were introduced with consent mode).

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Simo Ahava

Husband | Father | Analytics developer
simo (at) simoahava.com

Senior Data Advocate at Reaktor

Finland