The hidden environmental costs of digital advertising, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity


<p>Representative image</p>
Representative image

Digital advertising has revolutionised the way brands reach their target audience, allowing them to connect with consumers on a global scale. However, with this increased connectivity comes a downside, as digital advertising has a significant impact on the environment.

One of the major impacts of digital advertising on the environment is the high level of electricity consumption required to power the servers that host online advertisements. According to a study by the University of Bristol, digital advertising accounts for approximately 8-10% of global electricity consumption, with a significant portion of this energy coming from non-renewable sources.

In addition to electricity consumption, digital advertising also contributes around 3-4% in greenhouse gas emissions, that is equivalent to the emissions of the entire aviation industry. This is due in part to the energy required to power the servers, but also to the production and disposal of the devices used to access digital ads.

Another environmental impact of digital advertising is the creation of electronic waste. The constant production and disposal of devices used to access digital ads contributes to the growing e-waste problem, which poses a significant environmental and health risk.

Despite these negative impacts, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the environmental impact of digital advertising. Companies can use renewable energy sources to power their servers, design ads that are optimised for energy efficiency, and encourage the reuse and recycling of devices.

As media buying is an important aspect of digital advertising, and it can also have a significant impact on the environment. Marketers have an important role to play in reducing the environmental footprint of digital advertising. Here are some media buying best practices that can help reduce the impact of digital advertising on the environment:

  1. Use Sustainable Ad Formats: One way to reduce the environmental impact of digital advertising is to use sustainable ad formats, such as static images or text-based ads. These ad formats require less energy to load and are less resource-intensive than rich media ads, such as videos or animations.
  2. Avoid Overbuying: Media buying can sometimes lead to overbuying of ad inventory, which can result in wasted resources and energy consumption. By carefully analyzing audience data and targeting ads more efficiently, media buyers can reduce the number of ads served and optimize ad campaigns for maximum impact.
  3. Use Real-Time Bidding: Real-time bidding (RTB) is a media buying practice that allows advertisers to bid on ad inventory in real-time, based on audience data and other relevant information. This can help reduce waste by allowing advertisers to target only the most relevant audiences, while also reducing the energy consumption associated with serving ads to non-relevant audiences.
  4. Invest in Ad Verification: Ad verification tools can help media buyers ensure that ads are served to real audiences, rather than bots or fraudulent accounts. By reducing the number of fraudulent impressions, media buyers can optimize their ad campaigns for maximum impact, while also reducing wasted resources and energy consumption.
  5. Choose Sustainable Partners: Media buyers can also choose sustainable partners, such as publishers and ad networks that prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility. By working with partners that share the same values and commitments, media buyers can ensure that their ad campaigns are not only effective, but also sustainable.

By implementing these media buying best practices, media buyers can reduce the impact of digital advertising on the environment, while also optimizing their ad campaigns for maximum impact and efficiency. This not only benefits the environment but can also improve the reputation of companies and their digital marketing campaigns by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability.

  • Published On May 30, 2023 at 08:00 AM IST

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