An ad viewed twice as long produces two-thirds fewer emissions; industry can achieve a six- percent reduction in carbon emissions by preventing delivery of non-viewable impressions
NEW YORK, NY – June 20, 2023 –A global study breaking today establishes a link between sustainable advertising practices and positive attention metrics. Attention x Sustainability: The Benefits of a Smaller Carbon Footprint in Media, conducted by MAGNA’s Media Trials in conjunction with Oracle and using Scope3 emissions data, found that the longer an ad was viewed on a page, the lower the carbon emissions.
The study analyzed over one billion impressions across 55 countries through live campaign tracking and further stress-tested findings by using AI-based, predictive eye tracking on approximately 350 display ads that appeared on 100 U.S. websites. The resulting analysis proved that a spot that was in view for 10 seconds produced 64 percent less carbon emissions than a spot with a five-second, in-view time. The Scope3 carbon emissions model, which calculates the total grams of carbon dioxide released from digital impression delivery (gCO2e), was the standard measurement used for the study.
This correlation between in-view time and carbon emissions is likely related to total ad load on each page, as the more ads that load, the greater the emissions generated. In turn, competing ads will divide viewers’ attention. Eliminating impressions that do not comply with the Media Ratings Council (MRC) standards, such as video and display ads that run below the page break and are out of view, which advertisers do not pay for anyway, will reduce six percent of carbon emissions generated by online advertising. To put this in tangible terms, based upon a Statista digital ad-impressions report, this six-percent reduction is akin to removing 34,144 cars from the road for a year.
“Sustainability is a vitally important facet of our business model, and this research reveals how we can foster more environmentally friendly practices in the advertising industry without sacrificing attention metrics,” said Martin Bryan, Global Head of Sustainability, IPG Mediabrands. “Often, what makes sense for our planet and its people turns out to be good for business. This study shows a way advertisers can be more sustainable and successful, too.”
The study comes as consumers are increasingly considering the environmental impact of the products and services they use. Programmatic advertising alone generates 215,000 metric tons of carbon emissions a month, across five major economies (USA, Germany, Great Britain, France and Australia), according to the Scope3 State of Sustainability Report for Q1 2023.
The new study delved further to explore the relationship between key metrics and carbon emissions, utilizing Oracle’s Moat score system, which looks at multiple performance and engagement dimensions, such as in-view time, in-view rate, screen real estate, and various interactions among other signals in a composite way as a useful index to media quality, and, as we learned, lower carbon.
Higher quality metrics are strongly correlated to generating lower carbon emissions, as Moat display score comparisons of MRC Impression display ads proved. The higher the Moat score, the lower the emissions, with ads ranking in the top Moat quality quartile generating 58 percent lower emissions than those in the first quartile.
In addition to Moat Display Scores, the study utilized Moat In-View scores and Engagement Scores. Higher engagement scores also correlated with lower emissions, with ads ranking in the first quartile yielding 20 percent higher engagement scores and 83 percent lower emissions compared to ads in the lowest quartile. The correlation between higher engagement scores and lower carbon emissions was consistent across markets.
“Brands and agencies have long had access to a wide range of attention signals for analyzing and buying media. By partnering with MAGNA to conduct this research, we have shown that attention and sustainability have a strong, positive correlation,” said Jim Sink, GVP of partnerships, Oracle Advertising. “This research provides further rationale for advertisers to optimize toward attention signals like those offered by Oracle Moat as these signals not only improve campaign targeting, but also reduce a campaign’s carbon footprint.”
Another way advertisers can help the planet is by placing static ads instead of animated ones. On mobile devices, the study revealed 34 percent fewer carbon emissions for static ads than animated, and 16 percent fewer on desktops.
For example, IPG Mediabrands has developed products and tools that help our clients be more sustainable with their marketing investments, from custom media buying algorithms optimized towards attention and lower emissions to Supply Path Optimization solutions. The relationship between attention and emissions is a win-win for all involved, and for the planet; and is an area of continued research and product development at the company.
“As brands seek to be more sustainable, from supply chain to shopping cart, the impact of advertising on the environment warrants further study, and that is something we are committed to support,” said Bryan. “This new study underscores that advertisers who avoid non-MRC compliant impressions and instead lean into lower-emission sites and ad formats can, in fact, also gain important attention and engagement metrics.”
The full study can be found here.
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About IPG Mediabrands
IPG Mediabrands is the media and marketing solutions division of Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). Mediabrands manages approximately $40 billion in marketing investment globally on behalf of its clients and provides strategic services and solutions across its award-winning, full-service agency networks UM and Initiative and through its innovative marketing specialist companies Reprise, MAGNA, Orion, Rapport, Healix, Mediabrands Content Studio and the IPG Media Lab. Mediabrands clients include many of the world’s most recognizable and iconic brands from a broad portfolio of industry sectors. The company employs more than 13,000 marketing experts in more than 130 countries representing the full diversity of humanity. For more information, please visit our website: www.ipgmediabrands.com and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn or Instagram.