Study Highlights Methods to Reduce Ad Campaign Emissions

Advertising Emissions

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | Jun 1, 2022

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Advertising Emissions

(Credit: Pixabay)

The advertising industry isn’t typically at the top of the list when considering emissions impacts, but the field produces a good share and there are ways companies can lessen the effect of that publicity.

A study from data company 55 analyzed the carbon impact from advertising and media campaigns, with a main focus on digital technologies, and how improvements can be made. The company looked at the emissions linked to the creative production of an advertising campaign, the emissions from the use of the campaign, and the carbon impact from the intended audience.

Then it suggested ways to reduce advertising emissions such as being as efficient as possible in production, using sustainable equipment, properly targeting the ads and using Wi-Fi as opposed to mobile networks, among other considerations. According to 55, a single ad campaign can generate 70 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and taking some of these steps can help reduce those emissions by 50% to 70%.

The impact of advertising may not be the forefront of emissions improvements, but like all industries there is a potential for improvements. For example, Purpose Distributors says that the advertising industry in the United Kingdom is responsible for more than 186 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and adds 28% to the average consumer’s carbon footprint.

The digital sector also plays a significant role in emissions and the World Economic Forum says it contributes 1.4% of the world’s total. Yet, the World Economic Forum says, the digital sector can also reduce the world’s emissions by 15% through improvements in renewable energy, transportation and building use.

In this particular study, 55 says transport makes up more than 80% of an advertising campaign’s emissions. As a result, companies should consider local shoots.

Digital components can also be a significant source of emissions. The study suggests reusing content, using shorter videos and shooting in a lower resolution. It says cutting a video’s length by 3 seconds cuts around 20% of its carbon emissions equivalent, while shooting in a resolution of 720p instead of 1080p can reduce emissions of the product by 30%.

Even more so, 55 says mobile networks emit up to six-times more emissions than Wi-Fi networks do, so creators should consider the methods in which they digitally share their ad content. A study by Ericsson found that energy use on global networks was up 64% from 2011 through 2021, also showing the need for technology to play a bigger role in sustainability efforts moving forward.

Better market targeting also can lessen advertising emissions, according to 55, because it reduces unintended uses and can help companies come up with plans that address the carbon cost per impression.

55 says it wants the advertising emissions information to be used across the industry in order for companies to collaborate to lower the overall emissions impact of the industry. The data company says it eventually wants to extend the scope of that information to other types of advertising campaigns such as TV, print and radio.

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