In the search for new ways to optimize their affiliate marketing, casinos are thinking outside the box in 2024. One of these game-changing methods is server-side tracking (also known as server-to-server, or S2S), which offers reliable services and an improvement in data accuracy while ensuring data protection.

However, any other technology has its own challenges.

Thus this article will discuss about the merits and demerits of servers side tracking in relation to casino affiliates plus a detailed guideline on how it’s done.

If you want to keep up with your competitors in the casino industry, understanding server side tracking should be one of your priorities because you may need to polish up on some tracking techniques or possibly venture into different horizons within affiliate marketing.

Let’s unleash this powerful tracking technique together!

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Traditional Tracking: Hitting a Wall

If you’re an online casino operator with an affiliate program, you understand the importance of recording the origin of your leads and players. This is how you reward those affiliates and identify the marketing channels that are profitable. The cookie has been our trusted ally for years when it comes to doing all this hard work.

However, things have started becoming unsteady in the tracking realm.

Privacy laws like GDPR as well as browsers tightening up on third-party cookies have thrown a spanner in these works; not forgetting ad-blockers which never leave us alone

So, the question is: Are your affiliate campaigns getting the full picture?

Chances are, your analytics are missing out on valuable data, making it a whole lot tougher to make those data-driven decisions.

Server-Side Tracking: A New Hope

Imagine a tracking method that bypasses those pesky browser restrictions and puts data privacy front and center.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, that’s where server-side or server-to-server tracking (SST or S2S) comes into play.

Think of it as a behind-the-scenes data ninja. Instead of solely relying on the user’s browser, SST does most of the work on your own servers. It’s a little bit techy, but the potential benefits for casino affiliate marketing are huge.

Let’s dive in and see what all the fuss is about.

Pros of Server-Side Tracking for Casino Affiliates

We’ve already touched on the advantages of server-side tracking in our previous post, but let’s break them down further.

Consider these the superpowers SST can bring to your casino affiliate program:

Accuracy: The Data You Can Trust

Picture this: A potential high roller sees your affiliate’s ad on their tablet. Intrigued, they start checking out your casino. A few days later, they’re ready to sign up, so they switch to their desktop computer to finish the process. With traditional cookie-based tracking, there’s a chance that conversion might not get correctly attributed to the original affiliate.

SST bridges those device gaps.

By tracking data server-side, you get a more accurate, holistic view of the user’s entire journey. This means your affiliates are fairly rewarded for the leads they send your way, which keeps them happy and motivated as part of your program.

Let’s not forget those stubborn ad blockers!

Industry figures suggest that a significant chunk of internet users now use them to cut down on intrusive ads. Unfortunately, some overzealous blockers also interfere with legitimate tracking.

S2S helps minimize this blind spot, ensuring a larger portion of your affiliate traffic gets captured.

Privacy: Building Trust in the Casino & Affiliate Space

GDPR and other privacy laws should be on every casino operator’s radar. SST helps with compliance by keeping sensitive user data on your own servers. This reduces the need for third-party cookies and scripts, giving you more control over that data.

By demonstrating a commitment to privacy, you build trust. Think of it this way: potential players are savvier than ever. If they see that you’re prioritizing their data protection, they’re more likely to see you as a responsible and reputable casino.

A good reputation brings loyalty, something that benefits both your casino and your affiliate partners.

User Experience: Happy Players = Happy Affiliates

Slow-loading websites are a major annoyance, especially when a potential player has that “I’m ready to deposit!” itch.

Every second counts.

Traditional tracking can sometimes bog down pages with a bunch of third-party scripts. SST lightens the load on the user’s browser, helping to prevent those frustrating delays.

Think of it as clearing out some browser clutter.

A snappier, more responsive website leads to a happier user experience. That translates to fewer frustrated visitors clicking away and more conversions rolling in. Satisfied players often lead to happy affiliates, too – after all, their commissions depend on delivering quality traffic your way.

Future-Proofing: Ready for What Comes Next

The digital landscape doesn’t stay still for long, and neither do privacy regulations or browser restrictions. Cookie-based tracking is facing more scrutiny, and it’s wise to stay ahead of the curve.

SST sets you up to be less vulnerable to shifting sands.

It’s a proactive approach that keeps your affiliate tracking functional even when browsers start to clamp down further on those traditional tracking methods. Staying adaptable in the ever-evolving online world is a serious business advantage!

Cons of Server-Side Tracking for Casino Affiliates

No technology is perfect, and server-side tracking is no exception. It’s essential to be aware of the potential drawbacks before you dive into a full implementation:

Technical Complexity: Not Your Average Plug-and-Play

Here’s the thing: SST requires more technical know-how than traditional cookie-based tracking.

It’s not as simple as dropping a tracking code onto your website and calling it a day. You’ll need to set up server-side containers, configure data collection, and troubleshoot potential hiccups.

This might mean working with your developers, IT team, or potentially hiring external help with experience in SST implementation. This brings us to the next consideration…

Cost: The Investment Factor

Stepping up to SST can come with increased costs.

You might need to invest in additional server infrastructure to handle the workload, especially if you have a large-scale affiliate program generating a serious amount of data.

Plus, if external specialists are needed to get everything configured properly, then that adds another layer of expenses to factor into your planning.

Control: A Shift in Dynamics

With Server-to-server, you’re handing over a bit more control to the server-side tracking provider. They’ll host your containers and often provide the interface for managing data collection. This trade-off is about deciding if the benefits of SST outweigh this slight reduction in direct control.

Some operators might prefer to keep everything 100% in-house. (Not only because the house always wins!..)

The Need for Careful Planning

Just like any major technical change, migrating your affiliate tracking to an SST model should not be rushed. A well-thought-out plan is essential, just like with anything else in life.

You’ll need to:

StepsDescription
Choose the right SST solutionThere are various providers and options out there. Research is key!
Map out your existing trackingWhat data do you collect, and how is it used? This will guide your SST configuration.
Update your affiliate agreementsSST might warrant some modifications, ensuring everyone is on the same page about how data flows.

Is It Worth the Trouble?

SST’s negatives should not be deal-stoppers, but they are important things to consider. Compare the possible expenses and complications to the future benefits. If a casino wants to prioritize accurate tracking, privacy compliance, and ensuring that its program is future-proof, then it must take SST seriously.

Implementation Guide for Casino Operators

While server-side tracking is more complex than traditional methods, it’s certainly manageable. Here’s a simplified roadmap to guide you on your SST journey:

1. Choosing an SST Solution

Several options are available, and the best choice depends on your specific needs and tech stack:

StepDescription
🏷️ Google Tag Manager Server-SideGreat for operators already familiar with Google Tag Manager. It provides solid customization options and can be cost-effective.
🚀 ScaleoA notable choice since it’s already geared toward iGaming affiliate marketing. If you use Scaleo as your affiliate software (or are considering it), their built-in S2S capability could streamline your setup.
🛠️ Other ProvidersExplore solutions like Stape, Segment, Snowplow, and more to find the right fit.

2. Technical Setup

This is where it gets hands-on!

The exact process varies depending on your chosen SST solution, but here are the general steps:

StepDescription
📦 Set up server-side containersThese will house your tracking tags and scripts, independent of the user’s browser.
⚙️ Configure data collectionDecide what information you want to track (clicks, conversions, player events, etc.) and set up rules in your SST container.
🔗 Connect your analyticsLink your SST setup to your preferred analytics platform so you can use that data for reporting and insights.

3. Integrating with Your Affiliate Platform

Make sure your affiliate program plays nicely with your new SST setup:

StepDescription
🔗 Affiliate link modificationsYou might need to adjust affiliate links to trigger data collection on your servers.
⚙️ Update the affiliate platformIf you use a platform like Scaleo, you’ll likely have settings to configure how it receives data from your SST implementation.
📣 Communication with affiliatesLet your affiliates know about the transition – this ensures transparency and avoids any unexpected changes on their end.

4. Testing and Troubleshooting

Never skip this crucial step! Before going fully live with SST, thoroughly test that data is flowing correctly.

StepDescription
🔄 Simulate user journeysTest various click paths and conversion events.
✔️ Verify data accuracyCompare reports from your old tracking system to your new SST setup. Look for discrepancies and troubleshoot issues.
📅 Prepare for the switchOnce you’re confident in your SST implementation, set a date to phase out your old tracking methods.

Extra Tips:

  • Start small (if possible): Run SST in parallel with your existing setup for a while, gradually migrating everything over once you’re sure things are running smoothly.
  • Document everything: Good documentation makes troubleshooting and maintenance easier in the long run.
  • Consider outside help: If the technical side seems daunting, enlisting specialists in SST implementation can be a smart investment.

Remember, SST is a journey, not a one-time fix. Stay informed about updates to your chosen solution and continuously optimize your tracking to get the most out of this powerful technology.

Conclusion

Server-side tracking deals with data accuracy concerns, privacy issues, and dynamic browser restrictions, even though it is a little more intricate than the usual methods. Such an approach incorporates a more accurate basis for casino affiliate marketing.

Indeed, implementing changes requires a significant investment of time and resources. However, if you want to stay ahead of the game with your affiliate program and offer partners the precision they deserve, then server-side tracking should be taken seriously.

Server-side-tracking offers several benefits we discussed in this post:

Here are three interesting statistics or facts about the tracking of servers to servers in the advertising of casino affiliates:

  • Ad-Blocker Resilience: This kind of tracking is made to reduce the loss of profits caused by updates on browsers like Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP). Server-to-server tracking guarantees that affiliate sales are recorded correctly even when these browser restrictions are in place, knowing too well that ad-blocking is becoming widespread.
  • First-Party Cookie Advantage: Instead of using third-party cookies which is common with other tracking methods, server-to-server tracking uses first-party cookies exchanged between advertisers and networks. This not only complies with GDPR but also ensures that sales can be attributed accurately to the right channel without revealing customer information.
  • Impact on Website Performance: Through implementing server-to-server tracking, you may improve your website performance. It bases its operation on the exchange of first party data thereby enabling you to speed up your website which might contribute towards better organic ranking as well as user experience improvement.

The journey becomes easier when you have the right tools. If you haven’t checked out Scaleo yet, now would be a good time to do so. Designed specifically for iGaming needs, this seamless SST implementation coupled with robust affiliate management features could just be what powers up your casino affiliate program!

Ready to see how Scaleo can streamline your affiliate marketing? Try Scaleo free 14-day trial and experience the difference firsthand. Enjoy robust, secure, fast and reliable Sever-Side Tracking and take your affiliate marketing to the next level!

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Last Updated on May 3, 2024

Author

Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.