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How AdForm and Audi worked together measure media's carbon impact


By The Drum, Editorial

November 30, 2023 | 4 min read

AdForm, PHD and Scope3 combined with Audi to cut carbon emissions across the programmatic ecosystem with a campaign that picked up the Digital Industries Awards for Automotive. Here is the award-winning case study.

Example of the award-winning digital work

The rapid explosion of the programmatic ecosystem was driven by ideas that didn't factor in environmental impacts. To address that issue, Adform integrated with Scope3, which built a model that predicts and understands the emissions of every single part of the advertising supply chain. The integration, of which Adform was the first DSP, provides brands with the option to buy more sustainable advertising at scale, along with quantifiable data to selectively eliminate high-emission domains within Adform’s platform, Adform FLOW.

Within just one month post-launch, the feature was adopted by 16 advertisers across six markets – signaling a strong industry desire to drive impactful climate change in digital advertising. Specifically, the integration between Adform and Scope3 gives brands and agencies the ability to leverage real-time insights and data to selectively eliminate high-emission domains within the Adform FLOW platform. Before this, being able to reduce the carbon emissions emitted from digital ads was challenging due to a lack of green media solutions with quantifiable data and results.

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Adform’s carbon reduction capabilities, powered by Scope3, is a decisive improvement in addressing carbon emissions in the whole marketing mix. To test this, Adform ran a pilot campaign in the Czech market with Audi to ensure the carbon reduction of its advertising campaign for its e-tron range of fully electric vehicles. The campaign, deployed by media agency PHD, was an essential component for Audi to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025.

With the digital advertising industry producing more than 215,000 metric tons of carbon emissions in a single month across five leading economies, coupled with a lack of green media solutions to reduce digital advertising’s carbon impact, Audi faced a significant barrier to achieving its carbon-neutral goals prior to working with Adform. For the first time, Audi had access to valuable reporting data that highlighted which domains were responsible for higher emissions.

Adform FLOW’s carbon reduction feature enabled the campaign to dynamically exclude 30% of the highest emitting domains in the market, those with emissions above 550 gCO2PM. To ensure high performance, the exclusion list also included domains where the CTR performed lower than the client’s KPI. Results from the three cycles of the campaign showed a reduction of emissions by 43%, while achieving 81% lower gCO2PM compared to the Scope3 market average. This was done in tandem with maintaining and improving campaign performance, which led to a 65% increase in CTR versus Audi’s historical performance data from previous campaigns.

With Adform’s carbon reduction capabilities, Audi and PHD were given real-time insights and data to inform and enable planning, as well as the real-world ad delivery capability to drive down emissions without compromising performance. Having Audi prove that through this campaign, and provide such transparency, is a service to the whole industry. Through Adform’s pioneering work on enabling carbon reduction for the digital advertising supply chain directly through its DSP, Audi was able to access an adaptable, scalable solution to factor carbon emissions into its advertising decisions and campaign.

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