Majority of digital marketers believe industry needs to do more to reduce emissions

Majority of digital marketers believe industry needs to do more to reduce emissions

More than eight in ten (84%) digital UK advertising professionals believe the digital advertising industry needs to do more to help reduce emissions, according to new research.

Purposeful ads platform Good-Loop carried out the study, Counting Carbon: How UK Marketers Are Tackling Adland’s Climate Crisis, surveying more than 400 digital marketers in the UK and US.

It found nine in 10 UK marketers believed the digital advertising industry had a responsibility to reduce carbon emissions and more than half (56%) of UK marketers believed minimising carbon emissions should be a target for every marketer.

However, only 9% of brand marketers and 24% of agency marketers felt reducing carbon emissions was “just something we have to do” and just 18% of brand marketers and 7% of agency marketers said there was pressure from the digital marketing industry to do so.

A total of 87% of UK agency marketers surveyed believed sustainability was “more important than the cost of media”, compared to 61% of UK brand marketers.

The study also highlighted a perceived lack of education and training around sustainable media, with 70% of UK agency marketers and 63% of brand marketers saying there were not enough education or training programs on sustainable media.

While nearly three-quarters (71%) of UK marketers are already tracking the carbon cost of digital advertising campaigns, 83% noted they still rely on “estimated figures or calculations”.

Good-Loop’s research highlighted tech used to track emissions is still “quite nascent” and lacks standardisation as 39% of those surveyed used an independent carbon calculator, 37% a carbon calculator built in-house and 35% look at estimations based on number of impressions.

These calculators can all produce different results for the same ads, for example some will factor for weight of creative but will not consider programmatic supply chain, meaning there could be “a leaning” towards calculators that report the lowest emissions which could result in a lack of investment from key stakeholders.

Earlier this year, WPP’s GroupM launched a carbon measurement standard in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP).

Just under four in 10 (38%) stated their organisation plans to reach net zero in digital advertising at “some point in the future”, with 29% saying the plan is to do so in the next twelve months.

However, only 15% of marketers say they have been set targets to help get to net zero, revealing a disconnect with senior management.

Good-Loop’s report also stressed setting targets alone without a plan does not “facilitate maximal performance” and could even be “counter-productive”.

In separate research, Good-Loop found a typical online ad campaign emits 5.4 tons of carbon, which is almost half of what a UK consumer emits in a year.

Additionally, Scope3 found one million video impressions has the same carbon footprint as return flight from Boston to London.

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