7. October 2022

Preventing Data Loss with Server-Side Tracking

Outages and downtimes of critical services affecting data collection are becoming more frequent – and costly. But with server-side tracking enabled, marketers have an ace up their sleeve.

Picture this: You just launched a major new marketing campaign during peak website traffic times. You decided to invest significantly in search ads, checking performance in your analytics setup. You sit back and wait for the traffic (and your return on investment) to start pouring in. 

Then you glance at your Twitter feed and catch the headline that will ruin your day. 

One year ago, a Google Analytics outage led to unrecoverable data loss for at least a whole hour. For marketers, the downtime not only meant lost monetisable traffic. If you had campaigns running at the time, you were probably out of luck: on-site conversion data was lost forever. 

Digital marketing has become one of the most efficient ways to promote a business. Website data and analytics are vital for business growth. With behavioural and demographic data on hand, you are set to plan and execute informed business strategies and grow your business faster.

But today’s marketers are also given increasing responsibility for handling and safeguarding their customer’s website and tools data. This makes them and their companies especially exposed to data loss situations, like the Google Analytics outage of October 2021. 

Accidents like this will happen more in the future since the digital landscape becomes more difficult to handle and more vulnerable to security breaches and misconfigurations. And these situations are not just quite frequent – they can also become costly quick. 

But data loss due to downtimes can be controlled or even avoided altogether by business owners and marketers. 

How to prevent data loss in such events?

When outages affect the data collection of third-party services like Google Analytics, there is not much you can do. In most cases, you don’t own the raw data that is being generated. Third-party services usually deliver aggregated data sets and reports and keep the raw data for themselves. When their services go down, so does your data. 

There is a solution to this problem, however. Collecting the raw data yourself will not only open up new data use cases for your business – such as automation via machine learning applications. It will also enable you to keep a backup of your data in case third-party services go down. 

One of the most practical ways of collecting your raw data is server-side tracking.

In server-side tracking, data from the user’s browser is transmitted to your own web server before it is sent elsewhere. The web server functions as an additional layer between your website and your marketing and analytics tools (e.g. from Facebook or Google). 

After affected services are brought back online, you can easily send the data you collected during the outage to the affected tools, “filling” the gaps created due to the outage.

This is exactly what we were able to provide to JENTIS customers affected by the Google Analytics outage in October 2021. JENTIS’ server-side tracking solution will cache your data the second the system recognises that a third-party provider is down. 

Where others experienced big gaps due to unrecoverable data loss, JENTIS customers enjoyed complete, uninterrupted data collection and reports. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Reliable data collection is the foundation of every data-driven marketing strategy – otherwise, you risk making decisions based on incorrect information
  2. Server-side tracking with JENTIS enables businesses to collect the data they need, retain full ownership of it and transmit the collected data to the affected tools (e.g. from Facebook or Google) as soon as they are back online
  3. Server-side tracking is the easiest and most effective way of collecting website data in a 100% GDPR-compliant way

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