Berge & Meer Improves Measurement and Attribution Securely with Server-Side Tagging

2023-02-01 | Case study | Insights

Digitl has helped us establish state-of-the-art user tracking by enabling server-side tagging. It is possible to track and attribute the performance of a greater number of users when first-party cookies are used.

Johannes Grandmontagne | Head of Online Marketing

Measuring conversions is essential to increasing marketing efficiency

Measuring conversions is essential to increasing marketing efficiency

Berge & Meer Touristik pioneered the travel industry by offering exceptional all-inclusive travel experiences around the world. Operating primarily in Germany, the company sells almost exclusively directly to customers. After the Coronavirus outbreaks in the last few years, the business shifted to a digital-first strategy to ensure business continuity. Focusing on digital activities, they needed to increase traffic and conversions on their website. However, rising expectations and regulations around user privacy were making it difficult to meet both performance measurement and privacy needs. The company engaged in a discussion with Digitl about regulatory changes, how these were impacting their marketing activities, and what were available measures to meet the expectations in the advertising industry.

higher conversion number through increased measurability

more attributed users to paid search traffic

Using Server-Side GTM to enable first-party touchpoints with users

Using Server-Side GTM to enable first-party touchpoints with users

To move from a third-party to a first-party tracking approach, Digitl proposed installing Server-Side Tagging. By doing so, the user’s touchpoints with third-party servers are replaced with an enterprise Server-Side Google Tag Manager (GTM). As opposed to standard tagging, Server-Side Tagging sends tracking hits to the Server-Side GTM hosted under the client Berge & Meer's domain. As a result, all tracking hits from Google Analytics and marketing pixels can be aggregated into one. The hits are received in the client's cloud environment and forwarded to other tools by the server. This allows for combining and modifying them before sending them to Google Analytics. This way, all tracking-related touchpoints become first-party.

This setup also allowed for a connection to a Google Cloud Firestore to enrich the Google Analytics data with data from the client's CRM database in the future. With Cloud Run, the tagging and preview server instances were run at a lower cost than with App Engine.

Furthermore, Consent Mode was installed by Digitl. Consent Mode helps customize how Google tags behave before and after users make their consent decisions. Used with conversion modeling, it helps use consented, first-party data to better understand how users convert after engaging with ads. This way, the gap of lost conversion data in Google Analytics 4 is reduced by improving the accuracy of the data.

The results and business impact

The results and business impact

Berge & Meer now has full control over data thanks to the new setup. Previously, third-party JavaScripts were used to track data that was directly transmitted between the website and the respective service provider. The data is now tracked and bundled via Berge & Meer's own server, which only Berge & Meer has access to. As a result, the client retains control over the configuration and transmission of the data and can combine and modify it before sending it to Google Analytics.

Due to Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Google Analytics is unable to recognize the conversion channel after 7 days when third-party cookies are used which jeopardizes the accuracy of the analysis such as of new vs. returning users. With the new setup, this challenge was solved improving the ability to evaluate online marketing performance.

The page load speed could be also improved as the computational power needed was shifted to the tagging server ultimately creating a better user experience.

Moreover, Digitl evaluated the performance before and after implementation. The ability to measure conversions could be improved by 11%. At the same time, 15% more users could be attributed to paid search traffic.

Isabelle Hanisch

Isabelle Hanisch

Senior Consultant Digital Analytics

The Goals

  • Secure customer data in light of evolving privacy regulations.
  • Improve the ability to measure the impact of marketing efforts and optimize campaign performance more effectively.
  • Increase control over data.

The Approach

  • Focused on first-party data as third-party cookies had become scarce.
  • Set Server-Side Tagging up with Google Tag Manager 360.
  • Installed Consent Mode to reduce the gap of lost conversions through conversion modeling.

The Results

  • Ensured that Berge & Meer had complete control over its data.
  • Improved data accuracy.
  • Improved Berge & Meer’s ability to measure conversions by 11%.
  • Improved Berge & Meer’s ability to attribute users to paid search traffic by 15%.

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