Digital Advertising

Sustainability in digital advertising part 2: How ad tech is reducing its carbon footprint

Switchboard Mar 17

Sustainability in advertising part 2
Table of Contents

    As sustainability comes to the forefront of digitalization, the digital advertising industry in particular has come under scrutiny for contributing to the global carbon footprint.

    According to a report from fifty-five, a digital advertising campaign generates emissions equivalent to 323 tons of CO2eq, which is approximately the same as 160 round-trip flights between Paris and New York.

    In our last post, we spotlighted Ad Net Zero – an initiative aimed at bringing the industry together to reach net-zero emissions by 2030. Here, we explore five ways that ad tech companies are helping to make this a reality.

    1. Streamlining the data pipeline

    By building more efficient data pipelines for publishers and advertisers, ad tech companies can play a vital role in minimizing data wastage. For instance, implementing data compression and storage techniques that require less energy to process data at scale is crucial in reducing carbon emissions.

    Some companies are already taking a more responsible approach to data collection and sharing, such as AIDEM, a DSP (Demand-Side Platform) that only collects and shares the data necessary to conduct their business, reducing the amount of unnecessary data being transmitted across the digital ecosystem.

    2. Optimizing data centers

    To optimize their data centers, ad tech companies are adopting various measures such as implementing energy-efficient cooling systems and using renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Energy-efficient cooling techniques – such as hot aisle containment systems and evaporative cooling – help to minimize energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.

    In addition, minimizing server idle time is another effective approach to optimize data centers. This can be achieved through techniques such as consolidating applications onto fewer servers and using virtualization technology to run multiple virtual servers on a single physical server.

    3. Green data hosting

    As data centers contribute to 2% of the world’s carbon emissions, which is equivalent to the airline industry, switching to green hosting can significantly impact the environment.

    As such, we’re seeing more and more ad tech companies opt for sustainable server hosts, such as A2 Hosting, GreenGeeks, and Hostgator, who power their servers with a range of energy-efficient initiatives and environmentally-friendly resources.

    4. Adopting eco-friendly email marketing

    Implementing sustainable email marketing practices is another way technology partners can help publishers and advertisers reduce their carbon footprint. Email marketing can generate a large number of carbon emissions due to the energy consumption required for sending and storing emails. In fact, in the UK, Brits send over 64 million unnecessary emails daily, emitting 23,457 tons of carbon a year.

    What’s more, publishers and advertisers can reduce their carbon footprint by:

    • Only sending emails to specific audiences, for instance those who have expressed an interest in their product or service
    • Optimizing email templates to reduce their file size
    • Using a green email marketing service provider that prioritizes energy-efficient operations
    • Encouraging email recipients to take actions that support sustainability, such as opting for paperless billing.

    5. Focusing on ad attention

    As the digital advertising industry strives to become more sustainable, attention has emerged as a key factor in reducing environmental impact.

    According to a recent survey conducted by Teads, 83% of UK marketers agree that enhancing ad attention is a vital factor in reducing the number of wasted impressions and ultimately curbing carbon emissions in digital advertising, thus contributing towards the larger goal of sustainability.

    Meanwhile, a study by Playground xyz reveals that carbon emissions from digital ads fall by 63% when optimized for attention time, presenting an opportunity for advertisers to “use these attention time insights to take action and reassess the digital environments in which they place ads”, according to the attention intelligence platform’s lead scientist Dr Shannon Bosshard.

    If you need help unifying your first or second-party data, we can help. Contact us to learn how.

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