From wasteful to sustainable

DoubleVerify’s Daniel White explains how better ad measurement can lead to a lower carbon footprint

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword in today’s rapidly evolving advertising ecosystem; it is a guiding principle for marketers.

Major brands are committing to progressive change across their sustainability efforts. But this begs the question of strategic implementation: where to begin?

One place to start is understanding the direct relationship between advertising outputs and their carbon footprint. Emissions produced through the advertising ecosystem are influenced by a complex supply chain.

When it comes to digital ads, that supply can look even more complex. Real-time bidding is one of the dominant buying and selling modalities for digital ads.

The multitude of servers that power real-time bidding consumes a significant amount of energy – as do the machine learning algorithms that support RTB and the ultimate delivery of each ad.

To actively contribute in the battle against the climate crisis, brands can optimise their advertising investment by making carbon-aware decisions and ensuring better measurement.

In 2022, DoubleVerify partnered with Scope3 to provide advertiser and agency customers with a comprehensive campaign-based carbon footprint metric via DV’s flagship service and analytics platform, DV Pinnacle®.

Scope3 has designed and developed the system of record for mapping the end-to-end emissions of the digital advertising lifecycle, which accounts for the complete ad tech graph behind every impression they measure.

This model uses a mix of open data, customer collaboration, partnerships with third-party data providers and independent research and analysis. Scope3 then categorises greenhouse gas emissions into three types or ‘Scopes’ by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions. And Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.

With this metric, advertisers and agency customers receive detailed campaign-based reporting outlining the digital supply chain entities that contributed to their campaigns’ emissions.

And they further receive the custom data and reporting to cover specific partners, platforms, channels, inventory, formats and regions.

By providing a comprehensive and accurate view of how supply-side partners contribute to emissions, advertisers can take action and optimise their advertising investment to make those online advertising transactions more carbon efficient.

Aside from tracking carbon emissions, brands can further reduce their carbon footprint by not allocating advertising funds to low-quality placements.

An ad that isn’t viewable, for example, is a wasted impression opportunity, as is a placement that is compromised by fraud. Content that does not align with a brand’s values can also result in a wasted – and even damaging – opportunity.

By diverting investment away from such placements, brands can prevent media wastage and avoid the unnecessary consumption of energy that would have otherwise been expended on these ineffective advertisements

As advertisers actively engage with the topic of sustainability, it is important to remember the significance of consumer sentiment towards brands that actively demonstrate their values.

In fact, DV’s Four Fundamental Shifts report shows that an overwhelming 74 per cent of consumers in the UAE agree that companies that are genuine and authentic appeal to them, surpassing the global average of 68 per cent.

This underscores the crucial intersection between values-based marketing and consumer trust. It is imperative that brands authentically showcase and implement their values, particularly in the context of sustainability.

Beyond optimising advertising investments, active engagement in local initiatives is important for the advertising community. DoubleVerify actively participates in the Advertising Business Group’s Sustainability Working Group, a collective effort of local and global brands and agencies committed to steering the industry towards sustainable best practices.

This initiative is an integral part of ABG’s Sustainability Agenda, which strives to build a more sustainable advertising industry in the UAE

DoubleVerify’s mission is to make the digital advertising ecosystem stronger, safer and more secure, thereby preserving the fair value exchange between buyers and sellers of digital media. While Scope3 is the standard that delivers an accurate, comprehensive, and independent emissions model for every company in the digital ecosystem

By Daniel White, Senior Regional Director MENAT at DoubleVerify