Adapting to a Cookieless Future

Josh Gundry
PPC Executive
Bitten chocolate chip cookie with crumbs scattered on a white background.
Bitten chocolate chip cookie with crumbs scattered on a white background.

Cookie Consent V2 has nuked PPC advertising into oblivion, and now all our lives are ruined! Just kidding. Mostly.

There are ways around the heightened privacy standards that Google has put in place. The shift towards cookieless searching has been gradual but constant. This is the latest straw on the camel’s back and it won’t be the last. It signals a broader trend of safeguarding user privacy on the internet and opens different opportunities to gain access to data that is the lifeblood of advertising.

Marketers now need to explore alternative tracking methodologies and this is where server-side comes in to save the day.


What is Server-Side Tracking?

Server-side will be king in adapting your tracking. If you implement nothing else from this blog, implement this.

Server-side tracking is a method of data collection where information about user interactions is processed on the server, rather than through client-side technologies like cookies or JavaScript tags in the user’s browser. The benefit of this is compliance with enhanced data security and improved data accuracy that isn’t affected by ad or cookie blockers. It also has the added benefit of improving page speed as you won’t have analytics providers communicating directly with the user’s browser. You can use platforms like GTM server-side to act as intermediaries, like a client in the cookie era, between your server and GA or Google Ads where it is presented just like normal.


How to Implement Server-Side Tracking

Setting up server-side tracking can be a complex process, as it varies significantly depending on your site’s specific setup and infrastructure. The implementation details can differ, requiring a tailored approach for each unique situation. To help you get started, we’ve outlined a basic process below. For a more comprehensive guide, you can click here or reach out to us directly for personalised.

  1. Choose Your Platform: We recommend Google Tag Manager Server-Side.
  2. Set Up a Server Container: In Google Tag Manager, create a new container and select server as the target platform.
  3. Modify Website Tracking: Set up tracking on your website in order to fire data to the server container rather than directly to tracking endpoints like Google Analytics or Google Ads.
  4. Create Server-Side Tags: Create tags on the user actions as you would normally, such as purchases, link clicks, and lead form submissions.
  5. Integrate with Ad Platforms: Make sure the data you are collecting is being pushed to where you need it to go.

Ad Platform Solutions

Enhanced Conversions

Enhanced conversions is a Google Ads-specific tool in order to increase the accuracy of conversion data. For example, with this implemented, the checkout data is hashed and matched to the user, this process doesn’t rely so heavily on the pixel.

  1. Enable enhanced conversions in Google Ads.
  2. Complete enhanced conversions set up in Google Tag Manager.
  3. Validate enhanced conversions implementation using Chrome Developer Tools.
  4. Verification of Enhanced Conversions in Google Ads.


Meta Conversion API

Conversion API can be thought of as Meta’s own version of server-side tracking, data is fed directly into Facebook. Instead of sharing data through a browser, the conversion API will be used to exchange data directly from your server.

Embracing First-Party Data

First-party data is data that you have collected yourself, whether from newsletter sign-ups or purchase history. This way you can collect information on user behaviour, their preferences and what they engage with on your website. GA4 will play a big part in collecting this data, so mastering the use of it will be key.

There are many ways to collect this first-party data: reward customers for sharing their data by offering discounts or exclusive access, utilise sign-up forms by making data sharing a prerequisite of signing up or create loyalty programs that incentivise users to enrol and actively participate.

One of the ways we gathered first-party data was through an online survey. This allows you to collect the preferences of a customer base while also acting as a lead magnet and a platform to refine your prospecting. A 3 in 1 tool, that if implemented effectively can act as a base for your lead generation and asset creation for a long time. For example, is there a consistent pain point consumers leave on your survey? In that case, you can implement a solution you offer to that in your marketing assets.



CRMs can bolster your retargeting strategies to compensate for the data loss after third-party cookies are left behind. It can enhance your customer profiles so you can continue to create impactful retargeting ads.

With a CRM, you can segment customers based on various criteria like demographics, purchase history, and engagement levels. This segmentation enables you to tailor your marketing strategies more precisely and target specific groups with personalised ads, improving the effectiveness of your retargeting campaigns.


The Rising Importance of Customer Data Profiles

In today’s dynamic market, Customer Data Profiles (CDPs) have become crucial assets. These profiles, comprising demographic information, purchase history, online behaviour, and individual preferences, empower marketers to customise their campaigns with greater accuracy, thereby enhancing customer experiences and driving higher conversion rates. This may seem similar to the CRMs however the main difference between the two are that CRMs help you collect first-party data from interactions with your website or social media platforms. CDPs help you collect broader customer data within your industry, product or service.

Modern consumers seek personalised interactions that cater to their specific needs and surpass their expectations. By building in-depth customer profiles, you can deliver bespoke experiences that foster customer loyalty and encourage repeat business.


Scale Your Business

An agency like Brave can help your business navigate the changing data landscape, providing expert advice and implementing strategies to help you scale your online sales profitably. We make your goals, our goals.

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