Shopper purchasing with touchless mobile checkout, woman cashier in blue t-shirt hands over diagonally striped paper shopping bag.
Case Study

Square improves conversion measurement securely with Server-Side Tagging

Square builds tools that empower businesses and individuals to boost their economic potential. Businesses of all types use Square to reach buyers online and in-person, manage their business, and access financing. Square also develops tools for customers, like their Cash App that people use to send money to friends and family instantly.

Recently, teams at Square engaged in discussions about regulatory changes in the advertising industry and how those changes were impacting the company’s existing marketing strategy and processes. “The evolving landscape meant that our marketing team was seeing reduced data quality and even a lack of data in some instances,” says Doug Logue, Senior Product Manager of Marketing Technology at Square.

To achieve its marketing goal of acquiring new businesses not yet using one of Square’s business solutions and optimizing campaigns to high-value sellers, Square needed a solution that met three key goals. First, the solution needed to keep customer information secure — a top priority for Square. Second, Square needed a solution that seamlessly integrated with its customer data platform in order to control and manage the data from their CDP before sharing it with other measurement platforms. This platform was used as both the source of truth for all customer data and to route accurate information to the marketing team. And third, this solution needed to help Square optimize its marketing campaigns using event information that could not easily be sent to its marketing platforms. The team found a solution in Server-Side Tagging, a feature of Google Tag Manager 360.

“Server-Side Tagging is our preferred method for sending measurement data to our marketing partners. It allows us to collect data from the website in a secure manner while improving data collection and enabling event enrichment.”

Doug Logue, Senior Product Manager of Marketing Technology, Square

Adopting a secure server-side solution

In order to help keep customer information secure, Square wanted to implement a server-side solution to lower the risk of encountering malicious code or mishandling of sensitive information on their website. With its current client-side solution, Square had to limit the number of third-party JavaScript tags on its website in order to ensure third-parties couldn’t access information they were not supposed to.

Server-Side Tagging would enable them to move tags into a secure server container hosted on Google Cloud. Tags in a server container can’t collect unintended data or manipulate the content and behavior of a web page. With a server-side solution, Square could easily control what data should be shared with each of their measurement platforms.

A slide that explains server-side tagging using images of a consumer shopping site using one tag to send data to a server container then the secure server sending the data to respective platforms.

With a server-side tagging solution, a single tag is used on the advertiser’s website to send data to a secure server container hosted on the advertiser’s server.

An easy interface for marketing and engineering teams

Not only did Tag Manager 360 have the security solution that Square was looking for, but had another added benefit. “Implementation was easy, and the tool was cost-effective. Integration is as simple as adding a tag in Tag Manager 360 and setting up a server container via a form on Google Cloud Platform,” says Amogh Kambale, Software Engineer at Square.

After integrating Server-Side Tagging with its customer data platform, both the marketing and engineering teams at Square were pleased that the user interface they were working with was familiar and easy to use. Many of them were already using Google products and services like Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform and they felt a comfortable familiarity with the process of using Server-Side Tagging.

Square’s marketing team was also pleased about the ease of creating server tags for Server-Side Tagging. They could access a shared ecosystem of tags created by marketing vendors and simply create tags themselves for any smaller vendors who didn’t have them.

Improved event measurement

To best serve businesses, Square needs to measure customer actions by combining online and offline data sources. Since these activities were qualified in their backend system, they couldn’t share some of their most important events with marketing platforms for bidding optimization. For example, the team had trouble tracking “first payment,” the significant moment a Square Seller begins doing business on the platform.

Now that Square has implemented a server-side solution, it will be able to optimize its marketing campaigns towards these events to drive more “first payments.” With its integration between its customer data platform and Server-Side Tagging, Square was able to send these and similar events from its backend system to its server container in Cloud, which would then pass this information to its marketing platforms. “Early results from implementing Server-Side Tagging with our customer data platform have improved our ability to track conversions by 46%,” says Amogh. “We expect to see more improvements as we continue to add more server tags in Tag Manager 360.”

Looking ahead

Based on its success, Square will expand the number of apps that send data to Server-Side Tagging in Tag Manager 360. They’re also planning to use the tool across platforms and expect a significant increase in their ability to track conversions as they leverage Server-Side Tagging for mobile events.

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