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GA4 Server-Side migration

With JENTIS you have multiple options to integrate GA4 as your organization requires. Catering to all stakeholders from data privacy officer to the online marketer. Meaning you have the technical solution at your fingertips to execute something client-, server-side or in a hybrid fashion. Today we want to quickly run you through the options with GA4 and JENTIS and how to migrate from one to the other.

GA4 Options with JENTIS Data Capturing Platform

Chose one of the options to leverage GA4 with JENTIS:

  • Client-Side execution: JENTIS acts as the frontend (client-side) tag management solution that loads the Google Tag (gtag.js) and provides the data you configure to it. With full capability of everything GA4 offers on its features (marketing technology, capability to customize the tracking in the GA4 user interface, ie. tracking events automatically or flagging some as conversions).
  • Server-Side execution via Measurement-Protocol v2: Here you can send data via GA4 Measurement Protocol to your GA4 instance - meant to be used to augment your GA4 client-side collected data. More details:
  • Server-Side execution via JENTIS TWIN Browser: The computation of the data stream happens on the JENTIS runtime (TWIN Browser) in a similar fashion as the gtag.js would execute client side. Bringing in all the advantages of a server-side solution on privacy and data quality. At the same time extending the capabilities of a pure Measurement Protocol only solution (that is limited currently to be only used to augment either the client-side or the JENTIS TWIN Browser implementation).  

Those options open a variety of possibilities on your analytics landscape. With that we want to provide the most convenient solution and there created the following tool options with JENTIS.

GA4 Tools in JENTIS

As the implementation options on GA4 are significantly different we decided to have two GA4 Tools in our Data Capturing Platform (DCP). Remember: a tool holds a configuration where data from the JENTIS DCP is send to. For all options until today we had only one tool per vendor. With GA4 the first time we have two variants for the same tool vendor:

  • GA4: This includes the client-side executed Google Tag (gtag.js) and the measurement protocol. Also there are legacy tag templates for "Server-side Pageview" and "Server-side Custom Event". Those are marked "deprecated" from now on. A detailed migration description is provided below.
  • GA4 Server-Side: This tool is new to your account. We introduced it separately to the existing GA4 tool. It contains all Server-Side tag templates (Pageview, Custom Events, Ecommerce, etc). Also all further development of Server-Side capabilities with JENTIS in GA4 will take place in this tool.

As you can see there is some overlap on the first GA4 tool instance with the GA4 Server-Side tool. In some cases that will require you to migrate those tags to the latest GA4 Server-Side tool version.

Migration Process for the GA4 Tools

If you are in the situation to have either the "Server-side Pageview" or "Server-side Custom Event" in your GA4 tool (that is exactly named this way, and not "GA4 Server-side") then we propose to migrate to the new tool.

What are the reasons and possible risks:

  • if you intend to use GA4 in a server-side fashion with all features the JENTIS DCP provides and keep up to date this migration is a must for you
  • when a new tool is used the data between tools is not shared in JENTIS DCP, so a client (website visitor) with a certain client-id will get a new client-id value in the new GA4 tool instance, so on the migration every user will be a new user in that case (for the first visit, after that the client-id is established and remains consistent)

So please take note of those topics - but regardless we strongly recommend to use the latest GA4 Server-Side tool.

For a migration follow the following steps:

  • Have a look into your current JENTIS Tag Manager setup, which GA4 tags ( "Server-side Pageview" or "Server-side Custom Event" ) are configured and in active use?
  • Note your tags and their setup (properties and field settings, trigger)
  • Create the new GA4 Server-Side tool, apply it to the same JENTIS Containers as the current GA4 tool
  • Create the same tags as with your current setup with the same configuration (properties and field settings, trigger)
  • Preview all your tags and confirm the data streams and variables look all the same in the GA4 and GA4 Server-Side tool
  • Deactivate the tags from the legacy GA4 configuration ("Server-side Pageview" or "Server-side Custom Event" tags)

If that looks all right - the next logical step is to publish this new setup!

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