There are some technical (and policy) issues when it comes to using cooking for tracking. Server-side tagging holds some promise.
If you’re involved in affiliate marketing or advertise on a large scale, you’re probably aware of cookies and their use.
However, there are some limitations:
- From a policy and privacy perspective, cookies can be disabled on certain browsers. Cookies can be disabled by the end-user, and additionally, increasing privacy regulations are imposing restrictions on how cookies can be used.
- Cookies can expire after as little as 24 hours. The last time I checked, Amazon’s Associate cookie was 24 hours. Sure, there are others that last far longer, but most of them do, eventually expire.
(That said, there are pros and limitations of each.)
From my understanding, the simplest way to describe what server-side tracking is, in a word (or phrase), is two-sided.
Basically, your server registers a sale, and with that sale comes certain data (not of which breeches the privacy of any particular customer).
That’s one side.
The word two-sided comes in because it’s when the affilaite’s data is matched to a sale that it’s confirmed that a given sale was referred by that affiliate.
For affilaites, advertisers, and managers who feel the squeeze of increasingly restrictive regulations, server-side tagging (though it has its limitations), seems like a viable alternative to using cookies. Yes, it does take some time to set up, get used to, and test, but it may be time and effort well spent.