Server Direct 101

 

How is Signal different from other tag management solutions?

Signal goes beyond tag management to help companies eliminate vendor tags (what are these?) altogether while making online data instantly useful in any web, mobile, or offline application.

Through a tag container, most tag management solutions address the operational challenges associated with managing multiple tags from multiple vendors. These front-end tools focus on improving how third-party code is managed through the end user’s browser. As browser-based tags continue to proliferate — either fueled by the advent of tag management solutions or from continued industry growth — both data collection and the site users’ experience become slow and unstable.

In addition to its own optimized tag container, Signal provides a more scalable method of integration called Server-Direct that eliminates vendor tags and connects brands and sites to their trusted vendors in real-time via the cloud.

What is Server-Direct?

Server-Direct is, in a nutshell, tagless tag management. Server-Direct enables clients to transmit necessary data from their websites to vendor partners without the use of vendor tags, and thereby without placing unnecessary load on customers’ browsers. Moreover, the ability to collect and share data without tags means Server-Direct enables clients to collect data where tags don’t exist, establishing the foundation for Omni-Channel data collection and marketing campaigns.

What tag management-related problems does Server-Direct solve?

Each marketing vendor that requires data from your website requires their own third-party tag to be placed across each of the pages of the site for which data is collected. Given the increasing complexity of the digital marketing ecosystem and the proliferation of new vendors aiding retailers in their campaigns, its not uncommon to see a page littered with dozens of third-party tags, each adding its own incremental page weight (or latency) and magnifying the risk that the page hangs, or fails to load entirely, should any one of the many tags go down.

Additionally, anonymous third parties can “piggyback” on vendors’ tags and pull data from customers’ visits. Not only does this add latency to your page, but it introduces security risks surrounding your valuable data.

Compare the various means of managing tags within a website

Simple container

This approach moves tags from the page to the container, making it easier for marketers and IT to add/remove tags. There are no significant performance gains from this approach, as tags will still need to be fired through the browser in the same manner as if they had been coded directly on the page.

Optimized container (e.g. most tag management solutions)

In addition to moving tags from the page, an optimized container will look to reduce the impact of tags by loading them asynchronously where possible, and/or delaying, where possible, the firing of tags until after the majority of the webpage attributes have loaded. Signal will use its own highly-optimized container for clients’ vendors that are not yet Server-Direct optimized.

Server-Direct (e.g. Signal)

As opposed to reducing the impact of tags within a container, Signal’s Server-Direct technology removes tags and latency entirely, allowing clients to add vendors without any cost in performance.

How is Server-Direct different?

Conventional tag management technology is predicated on repositioning vendor tags within a “container”, but still requires that these repositioned tags be pushed through the customer’s browser in order to pass data to the marketer’s vendor partners. Although the container makes easier the process of adding and removing tags, its ability to mitigate tag-related latency is limited given that this technology is fundamentally still based around tags.

Signal’s Server-Direct eliminates the need not only for the container, but for the tag itself. Signal works closely with vendors to enable transmission of necessary data directly from the website to the vendor, without tags and with zero footprint on the customer’s browser. This highly-scalable approach lets marketers add new vendors without needing to worry about tag latency or tag breakage.

What benefits do I gain from Server-Direct integration?

Server-Direct integration is the best-in-breed method for sharing data with trusted vendor partners:

  • Clients can ensure their vendors are receiving the data they need in the most efficient and expedient means
  • Tagless approach means marketers can add as many vendors as they wish without any of the usual page load performance consequences
  • Should a Server-Direct vendor’s system go down, Signal can queue the data and deliver when the vendor comes back online, ensuring clients have complete continuity in data and shielding clients’ pages from performance issues
  • Clients can eliminate entirely piggybacking of tags and their data
  • Server-Direct enables Signal clients advanced integration capabilities with their partners

What if a vendor I use isn’t incorporated as a Server-Direct partner with Signal?

No problem. Signal’s flexible platform enables clients to add any and all vendors to their Signal account, regardless of whether they are integrated via Server-Direct.

In addition to Server-Direct integrated vendors, Signal has hundreds of templated tags easily accessible in a tag catalog.

Additionally, Signal’s Custom Smart Tag enables the simple “copy and paste” approach to activating any data-driven service in the event the vendor is not yet be integrated Server-Direct or has a predefined template.

How does Signal work with vendors that aren’t Server-Direct integrated?

Signal works with any and all vendors. For vendors who have not yet integrated via Server-Direct, Signal’s technology team will carefully integrate the vendor’s tag within an optimized template in our system. These templates have streamlined code that maximize performance and minimize errors, and can be loaded within Signal’s highly-optimized tag container. Should a client wish to use a vendor outside of Signal’s extensive library, Signal’s flexible platform lets the client copy and paste the vendor’s tag within our system, ensuring our clients the flexibility to partner with whichever vendors they wish.

What if I want my vendors to integrate via Server-Direct?

Signal commonly prioritizes Server-Direct vendor integration based on client request. Signal is happy to work with our clients to on-board their preferred vendor partners.

Who are Signal’s Server-Direct partners?

Signal’s Server-Direct partners represent a broad set of capabilities across the entire digital marketing industry including ad networks, content data management platforms (DMP), demand side platforms (DSP), search, retargeting, attribution, and social targeting. Learn more about the Signal Partner Program.

Why is Signal the only tag management solution with Server-Direct capabilities?

At the time of Signal’s start, the first tag management companies were focusing on developing containers to address the implementation challenges of marketers. Signal’s wide array of leading Server-Direct partners today is a result of careful planning and strong partnerships that have been in development since the company’s inception. This early planning and our subsequent years of vendor partnership have given us to the ability to change the dynamic in how data is shared between clients and vendors, improve site speed above what is possible via tag-based solutions, and improve data quality by eliminating tag errors at the source.

 

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