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How online retailers can unlock the benefits of server-side measurement

As the demise of third-party cookies looms, server-side measurement has emerged as a potential solution for online retailers. By sending data directly from their own servers to advertising and analytics platforms, retailers can bypass the limitations imposed by browsers and retain information about their website visitors’ actions.

However, server-side measurement is not a silver bullet, and it is important to understand its limitations and benefits before deciding to implement it. So what does server-side measurement really offer online retailers?

What is server-side measurement?
Server-side measurement refers to the process of sending data directly from a server you own to the servers of the platforms used for advertising and measurement. Browsers are the middleman that control how cookies behave, and therefore limit what can be done with them.

First-party cookies are essential for remembering visitors’ actions on a website. But with the tightening of regulations by tech companies and a move towards a privacy-first internet, their lifespan is reduced to seven days on some browsers. Meanwhile third party cookies track a user’s browsing history and activities, enabling retailers to present personalized ads for products and services.

Server-side measurement offers only a partial solution. It has the ability to set first-party cookies to circumvent the seven-day cap, allowing brands to retain information about their own website visitors’ actions and enable accurate measurement for analytics. But it is important to stress, this does not mean It will bring third-party cookies back.

So knowing what server side measurement can and can’t do, let’s consider the benefits that can be realised in four key areas:

  1. Improve a website’s performance and increase monetization capabilities
    As a retailer, you can benefit greatly from using server-side measurement to improve your website’s performance and increase monetization capabilities. Research by 55 and Deloitte for Google has shown that a site’s conversion rate is closely tied to its load speed, and server-side measurement can help reduce requests in the visitor’s browser, leading to faster load times.

  2. Control over the flow of data to advertising and analytics platforms
    In addition to boosting website performance, server-side measurement also gives you more control over the flow of data to advertising and analytics platforms. This means you can remove sensitive information, mask personally identifiable information, or enrich data by adding important data points from your own systems. With new regulations coming in and existing ones becoming stricter, it’s important to stay compliant and respectful of your visitors’ wishes, and server-side measurement can help you do just that.

  3. Mitigate the impact of ad blockers
    Another benefit of server-side measurement is that it can mitigate the impact of ad blockers on your analytics. Most ad blockers also block major web analytics functionality, leading to a loss of website visitors in your reports. However, a server-side measurement domain is less likely to be auto-blocked by these tools, improving visibility in your analytics as long as visitors consent to web analytics measurement.

  4. Take advantage of advanced adtech functionalities
    The adoption of server-side measurement can allow companies to take advantage of advanced adtech functionalities. With increased data flow and the ability to bypass ad blockers, adtech platforms are able to gather data from more visitors. Some adtech platforms, such as Meta, have even gated important features behind the enablement of server-side measurement. For example, conversion lift testing on Meta can only be done if a company has implemented CAPI, which is their server-side pixel implementation.

In conclusion, while server-side measurement can’t bring back third-party cookies, it does offer retailers an opportunity to retain information about their website visitors and enable for accurate measurement for analytics.

As new regulations come into place and existing ones become stricter, server-side measurement can help brands stay compliant and respectful of their visitors’ wishes. By adopting server-side measurement, retailers can gain more control, improve website performance, and enhance their marketing capabilities.

Richard Wheaton is UK MD at MarTech consultancy fifty-five. As a part of The Brandtech Group, fifty-five is a data company that helps brands collect, analyze and activate their data across paid, earned and owned channels to increase their marketing ROI and improve customer acquisition and retention. If you’d like to speak to Richard and the team, visit 

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