Data Onboarding 101: Client-side vs Server-side Distribution

Marketing Innovation

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Data Onboarding 101: Client-side vs Server-side Distribution

Marketing Innovation

Marketers want distribution that is accurate, scalable, and fast. Once customer CRM records are matched to online identifiers, segment data has to reach a destination in order to target the customer audience. A destination here refers to a DSP, DMP, Ad Network, Attribution Platform, and anywhere a customer may want to send their segment data. LiveRamp supports two methods of distribution and is the market leader in server-to-server data transfer.

Client-Side Distribution: Redirection Web

For client-side distribution, LiveRamp includes the appropriate segments in a pixel call to the applicable destinations.


Client-side distribution can involve loading several destination pixels, but the browser can perform only a few pixel loads before the end-user experience is compromised.

Additionally, if the segments for a user change, LiveRamp must see the user again before that user’s data can be updated within the destination. The user’s browser itself is the only vehicle for data. This means campaigns can take about 30 days to reach reasonable scale from the time LiveRamp imports your CRM data. If your segment data substantially changes relatively often, you have to wait another 30 days before you have the same scale within the given destination platform.


  • Potentially compromised user experience on websites with slow/too many pixels
  • 30 days before critical scale and for each data refresh

Server-Side Distribution (S2S): Instant Gratification

When LiveRamp sees a browser in its match network, it forwards the browser to an S2S enabled destination partner who then returns their cookie ID for that browser via a pixel call. That way, a mapping is stored between the LiveRamp cookie ID and the partner’s cookie ID. This cookie pool is built up over time and maintained for all our server-to-server partners. Using this pool, LiveRamp can send the distribution partner segment data keyed off the partner’s cookie IDs, allowing customers to target their users directly in the distribution partner’s system.

When a new customer campaign is launched, LiveRamp matches all synced cookies from the past 90 days (or whichever timeframe is preferred) that correspond to email or postal identifiers from the customer database to the appropriate segments and sends the segment data over to the distribution partner. The distribution is done in aggregate at a segment level — PII and cookies are never distributed together. With S2S, the campaign can be brought to full scale in the destination’s platform 3 to 7 days after the marketer sends the file to LiveRamp. Furthermore, data is refreshed with the destination on a daily basis, accounting for any segment changes, additions, deletions, or new matches. S2S is particularly effective in situations where CRM segments are constantly shifting.


  • A campaign can reach full scale immediately after LiveRamp processes the files
  • Segment data can be updated, refreshed, and suppressed quickly

The Choice

LiveRamp supports both methods of distribution and has server-to-server integrations set up with all major online advertising platforms. We are committed to getting CRM data online as quickly and effectively as possible while accommodating the fluidity of today’s dynamic audiences.