Government of Canada names programmatic partner

Country's largest public-sector advertiser pursues greater transparency with AdGear

The Government of Canada is the latest Canadian advertiser to sign a direct agreement with an ad tech provider to pursue more transparency in its programmatic campaigns.

The government named Montreal-based AdGear as its first-ever dedicated ad tech partner last week. AdGear’s technology will power media buying and delivery for all federal government ministries and departments over the next three years, with an option to extend that agreement for an additional two years.

The government has been using programmatic for more than two years, but up until now its buying has been handled by media agency Cossette. The new deal will keep Cossette in the loop for planning and executing programmatic buys, but will ensure the government has direct access to campaign reporting, and maintains complete control over any audience data it collects and uses.

AdGear co-founder and president Yves PoirĂ© said the federal government’s communications team made it clear during the selection process that they wanted greater transparency of media pricing and performance, as well as ownership of data.

“There are more and more brands that want to internalize advertising technology to be in control of the first-party data that they cultivate during the campaign or by noticing people visiting their sites,” he said. Although direct contracts between clients and tech providers are relatively new, he said that several of AdGear’s biggest advertiser clients have gone that route, such as St-Hubert, Belair Direct and Simons.

The programmatic technology that AdGear provides includes a programmatic demand-side platform (DSP), data management platform (DMP) and ad server. In addition to advertiser clients, it works with Canadian publishers like La Presse on cross-channel ad serving and audience reporting. The company had another big win last week, revealing that it was chosen by the Toronto Star to provide rich media ad serving for the new Star Touch app.

Over the past several years, many public sector advertisers have embraced programmatic as a means to reach large audiences at relatively low cost compared to TV or other forms of digital advertising. Among the most aggressive adopters in the public sector has been the Government of Ontario, which was ranked second on Index Exchange’s list of top-spending programmatic advertisers in Canada for the first half of 2015.

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