In recent years, environmental concerns have become increasingly prevalent across various industries. Programmatic advertising is no exception, as the digital advertising ecosystem contributes significantly to carbon emission. Processes like ad serving, data transfer, and server maintenance consuming substantial amounts of energy.
A recent study by Good Loop revealed the significant carbon footprint associated with powering digital advertising worldwide. A typical online advertising campaign emits 5.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to driving a vehicle over 20,000 km. If we broaden the point of analysis, we can see that in the world’s five largest economies (US, UK, Germany, France and Australia), as much as 215,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions are collectively generated per month.
Comprehending Carbon Footprint in Programmatic Advertising
In programmatic advertising, the primary contributor to carbon emissions are data centers. During ad serving, data travels from the advertiser’s server to the publisher’s server and eventually to the user’s browser, resulting in energy consumption and carbon emissions at each step of the process. Additionally, when advertisers collect data from users, it is sent to a data management platform (DMP) for analysis, resulting in energy consumption and carbon emissions.
According to research conducted by the European Commission, electricity consumption by data centers will increase by more than 3% by 2030. Meanwhile, in China it is estimated that in 2035 data centers will account for between 5-7% of the country’s total energy consumption. These results highlight the urgent need for all the different industry players to adopt sustainable practices and reduce carbon emissions.
At Opti Digital, we are deeply committed to reducing carbon emissions and taking significant strides towards environmental sustainability within the programmatic advertising industry. As an industry player, we are dedicated to implementing eco-friendly practices that align with our sustainability objectives and fostering a greener future.
Strategies for Reducing Carbon Footprint in Programmatic Advertising
Now that we understand the carbon footprint of programmatic advertising, let’s explore some strategies that ad tech companies and publishers can implement to minimize their environmental impact.
Optimize Bid Request:
In the programmatic advertising sector, ad server processes have a huge impact on carbon emissions. Most of them send bid requests to various platforms, regardless of whether the ad is actually viewed by the user, creating unnecessary data transfers and energy consumption. In addition, creative elements such as code, images, videos, and other media resources contribute to carbon emissions during the rendering process.
That’s why our Lazy load technology reduces energy costs by eliminating unnecessary ad requests and bids that contribute to carbon emissions, and improves ad viewability. At Opti Digital, with our All-in-One solution the ads are loaded and displayed only when visitors approach the ad placement, by scrolling down the webpage, without sending any prebids to the SSP’s and any call to ad server before the ad is viewed.
Furthermore, another powerful method that may be used to optimize the ad auction process is traffic shaping. This technique includes an algorithm that strategically selects which supply-side platforms (SSPs) to send bid requests to. So, it permits to filter the ad inventory for the SSP’s, reaching a higher bid rate and win rate.
At Opti digital, we’re developing a technology that can collect this data in response rate statistics, allowing us to identify which SSPs are delivering superior results. Thanks to this, we will be able to:
- avoid to call multiple SSP’s when they are all sending a similar bid offer
- avoid to call SSP’s that are not sending any response.
By reducing the number of low-value bid requests we send out, we avoid unnecessary ad calls.
Avoids unnecessary ad responses
Optimizing communication efficiency reduces carbon emissions. At Opti Digital, we send price floors in the bid requests up front to all bidding partners SSP, which may forward these price rules to the DSP. Our Opti Yield solution avoids unnecessary ad responses from DSP to SSP that would be disqualified in the SSP’s or ad server. It also prevents the unnecessary display of creatives, which is a high energy-demanding action, for ads that would not bring value.
Offset Carbon Emissions
Another approach to mitigate the impact of carbon emissions is offsetting. Companies can buy carbon credits or invest in renewable energy projects to offset their carbon footprint.
At Opti Digital, we believe this is not the best way to have an impact on reducing emissions, but we prefer to act at every stage of the supply chain. Among our initiatives that demonstrate our commitment to sustainability is the Green Challenge Event, during which we make a donation to an environmental NGO.
Want to go further ? In our webinar “How can digital media reduce advertising carbon footprint?” We have examined each point in more detail.
In conclusion, our commitment to reducing carbon emissions in programmatic advertising is in line with the growing environmental concerns of our industry.
As the Scope3 report shows, the digital ad supply chain has a unique advantage over many other physical supply chains: it can be optimised with remarkable ease. Due to its ease of control, green advertising brings considerable advantages: it does not negatively affect publishers’ revenues; it increases web performance and usability; and it significantly reduces its impact on the environment. For this reason, at Opti Digital we believe that choosing a greener approach to programmatic advertising is not only good for business but essential for a sustainable and prosperous future.