‘The internet is worse for the environment than airlines’

This Ozone Day, digital marketers need to understand the impact of advertising on the environment, and what they can do to help.

Each year, the messages coming out of Ozone Day becomes more desperate, as people and organisations alike are asked to do more to preserve the earth’s protective Ozone layer… and digital marketing makes more of an impact than we might think.

The carbon footprint of our gadgets, the internet and the systems supporting them account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions, according to  a study.

PMW spoke to three digital marketers to hear what the industry needs to do to slow global warming and save the dying planet.

The use of AI to cut carbon emissions 

“A looming spectre for the industry, online advertising has too long ignored its contribution to carbon emissions,” said Paul Coggins, CEO of Adludio. “Sobering statistics show that the internet currently has a larger environmental impact than the airline industry, and that this will double by 2025. However, there are things we as digital marketers can be doing now to cut down – especially on mobile, where most of our digital lives are spent.

“Digital campaigns require servers to download and deliver campaigns to devices. By optimising digital assets, the energy required and the number of servers will be reduced. Mobile marketers can make use of AI technology which can determine optimal asset placement analytically. This also leads to better performance and reduces latency – a win-win. ”

Matt Nash, UK MD of Scibids commented: “This day which celebrates the preservation of the Ozone layer puts a spotlight on the areas of the digital advertising industry that still need improvement. Sustainability is on everyone’s minds, but when it comes to taking action, where do we start? 

“One way to ensure practices are remaining economical for our planet is ‘virtuous advertising’. Through the use of AI, digital advertising is currently transforming to become more sustainable. AI allows advertisers to build bespoke data sets which evolve as they learn. As a result, the technology can constantly adapt to avoid irrelevant targets, achieving waste-free campaigns. Less, more successful targeting powered by AI means that marketers can meet their goals while helping to preserve the planet.” 

“Sustainability is going to be a key metric in media planning”

Andrew Turner, Chief Revenue Officer, Incubeta added: “The decay of the Earth’s ozone layer is just one of the many environmental crises society is facing today. It’s no longer the sole responsibility of climate activists or individuals to try to restore our world – digital marketers need to understand the role they can play in its protection.

“Marketers need to start by calculating the amount of carbon produced by their campaigns, and then begin implementing processes to offset and reduce this footprint. Very soon sustainability is going to be a key metric in media planning, in the same way that viewability and attention rates are measured. Digital offsetting programmes are available, with brands like FatFace working to improve their online sustainability. 

“The cause for eco-conscious marketing goes beyond client wins or ROI; marketers can make a tangible change to their environmental impact, and the industry should jump at the opportunity.” 

Visit the official page for Ozone Day here: