Digital Transformation Ad Spend Adtech

DoubleVerify announces solution to quantify campaign emissions

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By Kendra Clark | Senior Reporter

June 20, 2022 | 5 min read

DoubleVerify has teamed up with Brian O’Kelley’s Scope3 to build out a new measurement tool designed to provide advertisers with a detailed picture of how their campaigns contribute to CO2 emissions.

CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plant

The digital advertising industry has a CO2 problem / Adobe Stock

Media measurement and verification company DoubleVerify today announced at the Cannes Lions Festival for Creativity that it is rolling out a new, first-of-its-kind tool to measure advertisers’ carbon footprint. The metric aims to quantify how a given campaign’s digital supply chain – in all its granular details, and inclusive of adtech vendors – contributes to CO2 emissions.

The solution is being developed via an exclusive partnership with Scope3, an organization co-founded and headed by AppNexus co-founder Brian O’Kelley that conducts research on supply chain emissions. DoubleVerify’s and Scope3’s shared objective is to make CO2 emissions a metric that advertisers care about as much as they do viewability, fraud or brand safety.

The news comes amid increasing concerns over the environmental impact of the advertising industry at large. Most steps within the digital advertising pipeline – from real-time bidding to identity management – require great amounts of electricity from millions of servers. On average, one gram of carbon is produced for every ad impression, per proprietary research by Scope3. Considering that an average digital ad campaign includes thousands or potentially millions of impressions, the total impact of just one campaign can be staggering.

O’Kelley has reportedly said that in 2018, the digital advertising and cryptocurrency industries produced roughly equivalent emissions; now, he’s suggested that crypto’s impact has surpassed that of digital advertising, but that the sector still has a lot of course-correcting to do. The new DoubleVerify metric aims to help it do so.

“We can’t expect carbon-aware decisions about ad spend to be made without a comprehensive and accurate view of how supply-side partners are contributing to emissions,” said DoubleVerify’s chief executive officer Mark Zagorski in a statement. “With Scope3, we are able to provide advertisers and agencies with the information they need to take action and drive real change. For the first time, they will be able to use this new offering to measure and reduce the impact of their properties and ad spend.”

The new campaign-based metric, which is still in the development phase, aims to depict the end-to-end digital advertising lifecycle and assess the environmental impact of the many complex factors involved. It uses measures set by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the industry’s leading provider of emissions measurement standards, to classify impact according to a three-‘Scope’ taxonomy. Scope 1 indicates direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions and Scope 3 encompasses all additional indirect emissions that can be detected within an organization’s supply chain.

The model for the new metric was created using open datasets, first-party customer data and a handful of partnerships with third-party data providers and research and analysis teams.

The tool will be accessible alongside DoubleVerify’s suite of ad measurement and verification solutions in its service and analytics platform DV Pinnacle. Through the platform, users will be able to access detailed reports about every campaign and will have controls to customize data capture and reporting to focus on the emissions of specific campaign elements including channels, partners, inventory and regions.

“Through our partnership with Scope3, we’re the only company putting carbon emissions data alongside foundational ad performance criteria such as viewability, brand safety and fraud and invalid traffic,” DoubleVerify’s chief executive officer Mark Zagorski told The Drum. “With our scale and leadership position in the market, we can drive meaningful change, helping advertisers become more carbon-aware and efficient.”

O’Kelley, for his part, is ready to take on the challenge. “The advertising industry has been overlooked as a significant source of supply chain emissions,” he says. “It’s a challenge that can be solved and sustainable advertising can meaningfully contribute to the fight against climate change. For organizations seeking to make carbon-aware business decisions, having metrics and insights into how to run effective campaigns while using the least amount of energy is critical.”

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