The IPG-owned agency also found that eliminating impressions that don’t comply with the Media Rating Council standards will reduce 6% of carbon emissions generated by online advertising. For context, this is equivalent to the carbon emissions made by 34,144 cars in a year, according to a Statista digital ad impression report. This includes video and display ads that run below the page break and are out of view when a page loads—which advertisers don’t pay for anyway.
Another way advertisers can help the planet is by placing static ads instead of animated ones. On mobile devices, the study revealed 34% fewer carbon emissions for static ads than animated, and 16% fewer on desktops.
The study comes as the public is increasingly critical of the environmental impact of the products and services they use. Programmatic advertising alone generates 215,000 metric tons of carbon emissions a month, across the U.S., Germany, Great Britain, France and Australia, according to the Scope3 State of Sustainability Report for the first quarter of 2023.
Bryan hopes that continued measurement of emissions and viewability will drive behavior change for both the buy and sell sides. By shifting spend to publishers that implement best practices, marketers can lower emissions and increase attention on their ads.
“This information can inform the action we want to see, which is avoiding non-MRC compliant impressions, those wasted impressions that account for 6% of total inventory,” he said. “While we may not pay for that as marketers, we’re certainly still generating those emissions, which is goofy.”