Publisher Protection

Monetizing Programmatic Advertising For Public Sector Partners


CAN Digital runs a digital advertising network for a broad range of public sector partners throughout the UK, giving local authorities and other government organizations an income stream from running programmatic (and premium) ads on their websites.

And although the AdTech is provided free, the cost to public sector partners on the Council Advertising Network in terms of their reputation would be significant if compromised through the ad delivery.

CAN deals with four primary branches of the public sector in the UK through its ad network. These are local authorities (commonly known as “councils”) and destination marketing organizations (tourism bureaus), both by geographic location and each with its own distinct flavor, plus public transport agencies such as Transport for London (TfL) and public sector job boards. 

Income generated from digital advertising on the CAN network can be used by local councils to plough back into key public services. The AdTech can also be used – free of charge – by network partners to promote their own information campaigns on services such as recycling, social care and public health. 

It can also be used to encourage channel shift from more expensive ways of communicating with citizens, and to spotlight local SMEs who often lack access to digital channels. CAN is committed – like its public sector partners – to using tech to do good. 

It is fundamental to the network that appropriate, clean ads of the highest quality are served on partners’ websites. The public sector has a duty to uphold high standards and deliver a safe, trustworthy service to residents through a seamless, clean user interface.

The Challenge

When CAN first came on the scene in 2014, problematic instances with the ads delivered to their network were rare. But within a few years, the digital advertising environment faced an increasing number of bad actors. Auto-redirects and auto-downloads meant that rogue tech had begun to encroach on CAN’s previously safe, clean space. 

By 2018, CAN was experiencing problematic mobile redirects several times a year. On the TfL website, a disruption forced CAN to suspend ad delivery for 2-3 days at a time to identify the problem, deal with it, and get things back up and running.

Bad ads and redirects undermine the relationship of trust that CAN has worked to build with its partners. They caused a direct revenue loss to these partners. On TfL alone, in the year prior to working with GeoEdge, CAN had 5 instances of mobile redirects that forced suspended ad delivery. The direct ad revenue loss is estimated at a minimum of $10K due to the site-wide suspension. Further direct losses were incurred with individual SSPs as they had to verify the origin of the redirects, and only then, turn each SSP back on. The $10K figure covered CAN Digital’s annual GeoEdge costs. 

The indirect costs of these mobile redirects are more difficult to measure, and include IT costs to suspend and monitor delivery, ad operations costs to isolate the offending SSP, and reputational costs associated with the impact of mobile redirects on TfL customers.

Ad content is also crucial to CAN Digital. Problematic ads such as those for gambling, alcohol, adult themes, and payday loans have no place on public sector websites. Trust in this domain is truly of the essence. 

CAN deals with a complex, multi-layered environment with many parties throughout the supply chain. It cannot expect its ad servers, SSPs or DSPs to control this environment and ensure its safety. CAN sought a partner who specializes in dealing with the rapidly changing space to let it stay ahead of rogue technology. 

The Solution

CAN turned to GeoEdge in August 2019 following a year of mobile redirect issues impacting its clients. CAN had used other ad security providers in the past, but those services failed to stop the bad ads, or didn’t manage to do so automatically.

GeoEdge provides CAN with real-time blocking that stops rogue ads dead in their tracks. GeoEdge cuts down on time to go live, hours spent, resources, and frustration for CAN by being a comprehensive solution.

“The great thing about GeoEdge is it’s a fully managed service. It simply does the job,”
Lloyd Clark

Managing Director, CAN Digital

GeoEdge also picks up on many other rogue ads that are difficult to detect but could cause additional, non-revenue issues. GeoEdge proactively clears rogue ads and prevents them from ever being displayed in the first place.

With GeoEdge, CAN Digital is assured that only appropriate ads will be displayed on its partners’ websites. It prevents problematic content and blocks malware to maintain a clean, stable, high-quality experience clients can rely on. 

Maintaining impeccable standards is at the forefront of CAN Digital’s needs. GeoEdge has allowed CAN to mitigate losses, both in terms of revenue and reputation. 

The Result

Using GeoEdge allows CAN to continue generating income for their clients with the utmost safety in mind. With GeoEdge on its side, CAN is free to focus on its primary mission to deliver quality advertising that reliably serves local audiences.

“The great thing about GeoEdge is it’s a fully managed service. It simply does the job,”
Lloyd Clark

Managing Director, CAN Digital

GeoEdge empowers CAN, keeping the public sector ad space safe. Without it, the industry would no doubt suffer. GeoEdge’s services play an integral and critical component in maintaining a reliable ad ecosystem. For CAN Digital, the benefits of GeoEdge are clear – creating a safe ad environment that the public sector can use to generate income while faithfully serving residents.



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