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Working to reduce digital advertising's carbon footprint

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A single digital advertising campaign can emit over 5.4 tons of CO2 on average - about the same as half of one consumer’s annual emissions. This may come as a surprise to those in the industry who know climate change is a real threat, but never realized the impact advertising had on the situation at large. 

So now that we know advertising contributes to the climate problem, what do we need to know? And what can we do? Let’s dive in.


How does advertising emit C02?

The average consumer sees over 5,000 ads per day. Now imagine all of the energy-consumer infrastructure and ad technology needed to support all of those ads and place them in front of consumers. Consider programmatic advertising, we are seeing carbon emissions from trillions of actions taking place every day. And it’s not just the process of serving ads that uses energy, but it tracks all the way back to energy used to design and build ads, and even the energy used to power the laptops of people putting the media plans together. 


What actionable steps can be taken to reduce emissions in advertising?

Maximize ad size for sustainability: Optimize ad and asset size to enhance the audience experience and minimize CO2 emissions. PadSquad works with our partners to optimize ad size for efficiency without sacrificing the quality of the ad experience.

Protect from ad fraud for a greener campaign: Reduce fraudulent impressions through brand safety measures and placing ads across Ads.txt compliant publishers to reduce CO2 emissions. PadSquad is partnered with Moat, Double Verify and Integral Ad Science to provide brand safety and fraud protection. We also have internal safeguards and best practices in place to target campaigns towards only Ad.txt compliant publishers. 

Invest in high quality and “low climate-risk” inventory: Block low quality ad inventory as well as high CO2 emissions ad inventory to save energy and resources. This can be activated against via tools like Scope3’s Climate Shield via a growing list of DSPs and platforms like Magnite, Xandr, Lumen Research, Basis etc.

Did you know? Climate risk inventory emits 2X more carbon and underperforms   by 13%

Streamline path to premium inventory supply: Embrace the shortest path to high-quality inventory to reduce unnecessary auctions and data transmission that increase CO2 emissions. PadSquad has direct relationships with premium publishers to maximize media buying efficiencies. 

Use frequency and recency capping: Control the frequency and recency of ad displays to limit unnecessary energy-sucking impressions and enhance the consumer experience. PadSquad applies frequency and recency capping to minimize wasted ad spend as well as unnecessary carbon emissions. Oh, and it helps reduce ad fatigue for your audience too.

Optimize towards attention metrics: Ensure your ads captivate audiences and target quality inventory to avoid wasting budget and energy on unseen ads. PadSquad is partnered with leading attention measurement companies like Lumen Research, Adelaide, and Oracle to help advertisers stay informed on how they are performing against attention benchmarks and to optimize towards attention KPIs. 

Measure your environmental impact: Utilize a calculator to determine CO2 emissions year over year overall and based on parameters like format type, format size, impressions, and audience segments. AdNetZero and AdGreen are recommended partners to enlist for measurement. 


It can be overwhelming to get started taking steps to reduce the CO2 emissions from your digital ad campaigns, but we’re here to help! Contact us to learn more about how we can work with you to apply these actionable solutions. We’re all in this together. 

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