With browser tracking protections, OS-level privacy enforcement, legal regulations governing the use of personal data and device storage, and an ever-increasing population of users who want more control over their data, the industries of digital marketing, analytics, and advertising are scrambling. The fact is that when users gain more control (as they should), it usually translates to less data to work with.
Over the past few years, there’s been an overcorrection of sorts to make up for the decades of unbridled data harvesting that’s been going on in the digital industries. Companies that need the data are now trying to figure out how to retain status quo while (hopefully) respecting the user’s right to privacy.
One solution that’s been floated around for years is the elusive notion of “server-side”. But what does that mean? When tracking and/or tagging is moved to the server, a common misconception is that this solves everything. However, if you want to measure what happens in a user’s device, then you still need to run code and persist information in the user’s device. And when data flows are moved to the server, the ominous Vegas rule applies: what happens in the server, stays in the server. Users whose data is being collected and processed lose visibility to what is actually done with that data.