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Sustainability Media Measurement Media Planning and Buying

How Good-Loop helped halve an auto giant’s digital ad emissions

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By Ellen Ormesher | Senior Reporter

June 19, 2023 | 6 min read

The purpose-led ad platform has launched a tool that helps advertisers weed out carbon-intensive publishers.

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Brands can cut their emissions by reducing certain domains / Unsplash

Where an ad is displayed can contribute significantly to a digital campaign’s overall carbon footprint, with the number of emissions generated varying dramatically from website to website. According to Good-Loop, the average online ad campaign emits 5.4 tonnes of CO2e – half what an average UK consumer and a third of what a US consumer produces in a year.

It’s not alone in attempting to measure the digital ad and media industry’s carbon footprint. Earlier this year, Scope3 unearthed that programmatic advertising generates hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2e every month.

Good-Loop’s chief operations officer, Ryan Cochrane sympathizes with the challenges advertisers face. “It can sometimes feel a little daunting looking at the scale of digital advertising’s oversized carbon footprint and its impact on the environment. But despite the size of the task, advertisers can make a real difference right now by making simple changes to the way they run their campaigns.”

This latest innovation, part of Good-Loop’s carbon measurement solution, the Green Ad Tag, aims to help. It allows advertisers to block media partners that do not meet their sustainability targets. This reduces the environmental impact of its online ads and helps them to deliver better ad campaigns.

Cochrane explains how it works. “Our pixel gathers up all the domain data from the ad campaign. From there, it looks at how emission-heavy the site itself is – looking at things such as the volume of ads.txt entries, data transfer, the assets on the page, and more.

By filtering out publishers that are more carbon-intensive, advertisers can drastically reduce the emissions generated by their online campaigns without making trade-offs in performance. In one beta test, Good-Loop tells us that Brand Advance, the leading diversity media ad tech platform, cut its emissions by 18% – just by identifying 10 domains that it could work with to reduce CO2e.

A global car brand (which Good-Loop declined to name) was able to reduce the carbon emissions of its digital campaign by an average of 41%.

The tool also lets advertisers know how many emissions would be saved based on the threshold that’s been set, helping advertisers to continuously make changes mid-campaign to reduce their impact.

But Cochrane adds, “It’s important to stress that this isn’t another thing to hit quality publishers over the head with,” telling The Drum that the tool is primarily about education and empowering media buyers to start viewing carbon as a key consideration in their campaign optimization.

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“What we typically see is that a high amount of the emissions come from the long-tail – the likes of made-for-advertising (MFA) websites, that you really should be excluding anyway. We’re seeing significant double-digit reductions as a result of steering just a fraction of impressions away from these sites and towards more reputable, trusted publishers.”

At the moment, Good-Loop’s preliminary partners Captify and Brand Advance are the only ones who have been given access to the tool, but Cochrane says it will be rolling it out to other users of its green media technology soon.

He teases that the learnings from this tool have also informed additional new product offerings, “such as our new Green PMPs, which enable advertisers to target the top 25% highest performing websites from a carbon perspective in our database, or to take action to avoid the worst offenders.”

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