If you missed Part 1 on why this quick guide matters, check it out now.
In Chrome, if you open up your Developer Tools and click on the Sources tab, you'll likely see a collection of files. If you're running common tools such as Facebook Pixel or Google Analytics that require a feed of data produced from your users, you should see the files they use to process data and send to their respective APIs here.
When data is generated via the server, on the other hand, there is no indication that anything is loading on the page at all—because it isn't! The events are produced by back-end services that power your website, like a Customer Data Infrastructure (CDI).
Common examples of events that can be generated here are log-in events, product purchases, and form submissions. Typically, they’re recorded in a database somewhere for you to access at a later date. But you can also choose to forward them along to your vendors' APIs (so long as they accept server-side events).
Server-side information relies on events produced by the services behind your website—and server-side integrations let you take back control of your customers’ data and use it to gain the insight needed to grow your business and retain your customers, without allowing third parties to accidentally or maliciously misuse it.
“Server-Side” Doesn’t Always Mean the Same Thing
Many CDIs or CDPs that offer server-side integrations have to run them in conjunction with client-side integrations. Yes, data is integrated server-side, but all the client-side insecurities and inefficiencies are also in play. A huge limiting factor is that not all vendors support APIs to process this type of data. Google, for example, generally doesn’t accept data produced server-side. They are developing a new solution for server-side eventing, but so far, the plan is to require Google's client-side tag to run.
It’s important to note that information is still being shared whenever a client-side tag is present.
So is it possible to restrict all access to your data, from any third party? The only option is a full data-routing architecture on your own private cloud that restricts all access to data processing, even for the company that created the architecture. Essentially, you must own your own data router.
Bonus Benefits of Server-Side Data Integration
Keeping data compliant from ingestion and maintaining data governance are obvious benefits of server-side integrations. What’s not so obvious is how performance is enhanced when events are no longer subject to inconsistent browser settings, extensions, and general network risks.
Since server-side events do not require any browser resources, the browser activity triggered by each customer on your website is materially lower. This makes your website faster and more performant—to a degree directly correlated with the amount of data processed by each client-side tag you move to server-side.
Additionally, directly calling one event and sending to each vendor greatly reduces duplicate and inaccurate data.
Of course, integrating with a new tool is also easy with a ready-to-use yet fully customizable data architecture.
When it comes to respecting your users, server-side integrations make it not only possible, but also easy. The time has come for organizations to invest in their customers by providing them the experience they expect while protecting their information from accidental—or intentional—re-use.
Interested in respecting your users through server-side integration? MetaRouter provides the first server-side-focused Customer Data Infrastructure. When deployed on your private cloud, not even MetaRouter has access (though we have several alternative deployment options as well). Reach out anytime.
You can also download a PDF version of this white paper to share.