Your questions answered – digital advertising on council websites

Digital advertising: your questions answered

Here at CAN we talk to people who work for local councils every day about how the CAN Council Advertising Network can be a new source of income for them. We get to know the sort of questions senior management and elected members ask about digital advertising – what their worries and blockers are.

Below are myth-busting answers to the five most frequent questions. We hope they help. Contact us if you have any other queries. 

Myth 1:

Advertising on council websites detracts from council business

The digital landscape has changed. People are used to seeing ads on websites – it looks odd when they’re not there!

With our advertising, there is no ‘screen takeover’, no Flash animation, and no annoying sound. It is all in standard formats​ and will integrate subtly into your website.

Over 70% of those who responded to a survey of our CAN Council Advertising Network partners received no negative feedback at all from residents after introducing website ads. Over half the remaining councils had just a single complaint. None of our partners had negative feedback from more than ten residents in total.

Read more in our blog on how residents feel about ads on council websites

Myth 2:

Dodgy ads might appear next to content about council services

You get to choose which advertising categories you do and don’t want to see on your website from CAN’s Advertising Category Approval List. This can be tailored to fit the priorities of your organisation.

There’s a standard list of excluded advert types, such as gambling, that works for most councils, and you can remove categories from this – for example, for clashes with commercial concerns – or add to it. 

We continually monitor all adverts served on our network to make sure they comply with your list. And you can ask us to block or remove ads at any time.

Myth 3:

The technology to run ads won’t be compatible with council websites

The tech we’ve developed for the CAN Council Advertising Network is simple to install and the ads have no impact on the time it takes to load content​. All modern desktop and mobile browsers are supported​ by our technology.

Myth 4:

Data privacy might be compromised – and council websites will no longer comply with GDPR

No personally identifiable information is collected​ when users are on your website; all data we collect is anonymous. The technology we use incorporates standard public-sector practice when it comes to cookies.

We have GDPR covered by our tech too – it even adapts to new regulations as they come into force – so it won’t compromise anyone’s privacy or security. 

Make friends with data to find out more about your residents’ behaviour and help shape services for the future. Every time someone clicks on a CAN link on your website, we build up anonymous profile data that gives you valuable insights into who uses your services. It’s the same data advertisers use to target consumers.

Myth 5:

Councils don’t have the resources to set up something new

With the digital landscape changing all the time, we understand that council teams can’t keep up with all the latest developments. It can be a full-time job. And that’s our job.

On average, it takes the equivalent of one day’s effort on your part to start running our advertising technology on your website. CAN will do the rest.

Can you afford not to? Your council website is a powerful asset and an attractive proposition to quality advertisers who want their brand associated with your values. In February 2018, the BBC reported on the success of four Welsh councils raising income through advertising

The CAN Advertising Network can generate income for you at no cost to your organisation and no extra effort on your part using an asset you already own.