adelement | March 27, 2023
As the world grapples with the climate crisis, sustainability has become a buzzword across industries. While the ad tech industry has been making strides towards sustainability, there are concerns that small and mid-sized companies may be left behind. I will try to share some of my thoughts on a high level.
Ad tech is a data-intensive industry, and the infrastructure required to support real-time bidding, ad targeting, ad verification etc. in a complex supply chain makes every single impression served very energy-intensive. On top of that, the fact that nearly half of all ad buys never reach publishers indicates a significant amount of wasted energy, time, and money.
“SeenThis” estimates that 1GB of data generated from digital advertising is the equivalent of 1kg of CO2 emissions. Further putting this in perspective, the digital ads industry emits 60 million tons of CO2 annually which is equivalent to 2000 billion plastic bags. This is a mind boggling number.
Interestingly, the top 10 companies in the industry, who are leading the charge towards Sustainability, efficiency with their initiatives such as Direct to Publishers, deduplication of requests, SPO and more also control a staggering 80% of the ad spend. They have collected massive amounts of data in the past giving them an overall edge in the market.
Will Sustainability and similar initiatives become a way for big companies to gain a competitive advantage? Is the intention to get SMBs out of business?
While sustainability is an important goal, there's also a risk that large corporations may use this initiative as a tool to gain a competitive advantage. To level the playing field, it's important to promote transparency and collaboration across the industry and ensure smaller and mid sized companies are not left behind.
There are several ways for any company to address the sustainability challenge in the ad tech industry. Here are the steps we are taking at AdElement that may be applicable to many:
These resources provide insightful white papers, reports, podcasts, and a checklist of actions to help guide companies on their path towards sustainability.
For example: Opting for data centers powered by renewable energy, which can contribute towards reducing their carbon footprint. By choosing eco-friendly vendors and suppliers, companies can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability while also contributing to a greener future.
In conclusion, by staying informed, promoting transparency, innovating and building value in your demand as well as supply partnerships, companies can make a significant impact towards a more sustainable future for the ad tech industry.