Six Steps to Sustainable Digital Advertising

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In an era where the digital footprint of an average online advertising campaign can rival the CO2 emissions of 35 round-trip Paris-New York flights for a single passenger, the call for sustainable digital advertising has never been louder.

As well, with consumers increasingly appreciating environmental values more and more, companies must recognize the importance of integrating sustainability into their advertising strategies. Sustainable marketing is no longer just a buzzword but a critical business practice aimed at reducing waste, conserving resources, and fostering a positive impact on a company's bottom line. 

Advertisers, it's time to act: your digital footprint matters, and it's high time to take significant steps toward reducing the carbon footprint of your digital ad campaigns.

In this article, discover the six key points you should focus on to reduce the environmental footprint of your digital advertising campaigns. 

1- Define the right KPIs 

Start by setting the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that align with your campaign objectives and sustainability goals, ensuring that your campaigns effectively reach your audience and minimize their environmental footprint. For example, at Gamned!, we now track not only CPM (cost in euros per 1,000 impressions) but also CePM (cost of electricity consumption per 1,000 impressions) and CaPM (carbon emissions per 1,000 impressions).

2- Optimize digital ad formats for maximum effectiveness and efficiency

Optimize your digital ad formats by choosing the right format according to your advertising goal that delivers maximum impact with minimal waste, reducing your campaign's overall energy consumption. One effective strategy is to convert display ads to more compressed image formats. For example, choosing WEBP format over JPEG can significantly reduce file sizes. Moreover, choosing lighter colors and duotone designs (two contrasting colors) can decrease the energy required to process and display your ads. Using black, especially on OLED screens, can lead to even greater energy savings because black pixels are turned off on OLED screens.

3- Prevent ad fraud and ensure media quality

Ad fraud drains your budget and increases energy consumption through fake impressions. By preventing ad fraud and ensuring media quality, you protect your investments and contribute to a more sustainable advertising ecosystem. Avoiding ad fraud starts with choosing the right partners, including ad networks, publishers, platforms, and vendors you can trust. There are smart ways to keep your ads safe, like whitelisting and blacklisting. Looking back at your past ad campaigns can also give you clues. If you notice certain spots where fraud has happened before, you can ensure your ads don't appear there again.

4- Choose the right target audience

You can avoid wasted impressions and higher energy use by carefully selecting your target audience. Focused targeting ensures your ads are seen by those most likely to engage, reducing unnecessary energy consumption. Broad targeting might seem like a good way to catch a lot of attention, but it often leads to showing your ads to people who aren't interested in your offer. This not only wastes your advertising budget but also uses up energy every time an ad is displayed. On the other hand, targeting too narrowly might mean you miss out on potential customers who could have been interested in your campaign, limiting its overall success. The key is to find a balance and aim to reach those most likely interested in your ads without spending energy and resources on those who aren't.

5- Choose responsible and sustainable ad tech tools 

The digital advertising industry faces the challenge of adopting a unified, reliable method to track carbon emissions accurately. In this context, AdTech tools emerge as key players in promoting sustainability within the ecosystem. By centering sustainability in their platform optimizations and operational practices, these providers can significantly contribute to reducing the carbon footprint. Partnering with AdTech providers who prioritize sustainability means you're not just investing in eco-friendly practices but also supporting the development of technologies that aim to measure and mitigate the environmental impact of advertising.

6- Data cleaning and archiving after a campaign

After a campaign ends, efficiently managing, cleaning, and archiving data can have a profound effect on reducing digital waste. To illustrate, ADEME estimates that in France, data centers consume around 10% of the country's electricity (in particular, to cool computer servers running at full capacity). Proper data management ensures that only valuable data is retained, minimizing the energy used for storage and processing.

The use of greener technologies, linked to a better mastery of the programmatic ecosystem (choice of KPIs, targeting, mode of distribution, simplification of the components of a campaign, etc.) allows us to work towards the realization of less energy-intensive programmatic campaigns. Once this stage is passed, we face a technical challenge that could have a very significant impact on energy consumption: mastering SPO and purchasing logic. The challenge is to measure and reduce the number of actors involved in the purchasing path, to focus on direct paths, in order to drastically reduce the electrical consumption of digital campaigns. Kylian Leibreich, Digital Advertising & Online Acquisition Marketing expert | CSR Lead

By putting these six steps into action, advertisers can significantly decrease the environmental impact of their digital campaigns. It is a now-or-never moment for advertisers and agencies to step up, re-evaluate the carbon footprint of their digital campaigns, and integrate new, eco-conscious KPIs into their strategies.

At Gamned!, we're already ahead of the trend, having already incorporated many of these best practices into our operations. 

Are you looking to make your next digital advertising campaign impactful and sustainable? Reach out to a Gamned! expert today and tell us about your project.


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