In an era defined by a growing awareness of environmental concerns and the urgent need for sustainable practices, the world of digital advertising has come under scrutiny. The concept of "Green Programmatic" or "Sustainable Media" has emerged as a response to the industry's environmental impact. It calls for a shift towards more eco-friendly and sustainable advertising practices.
This evolution involves various stakeholders in the demand-side (Advertisers and DSPs), as well as in the supply-side: including Publishers, Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs), and Ad tech companies, each playing a crucial role in reducing the carbon footprint of digital advertising.
In this article, we delve into the specific contributions and responsibilities of these key players towards achieving a sustainable and more environmentally conscious programmatic advertising landscape.
Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs) have traditionally acted as intermediaries connecting publishers and advertisers.
SSPs play a crucial role in the digital advertising ecosystem, and they can certainly lead the way in making Supply Path Optimization (SPO) more environmentally friendly and sustainable. SPO involves optimizing the path through which an ad is delivered, and this optimization can include reducing energy consumption, data center usage, and overall carbon footprint. Here are some ways SSPs can lead the way in green SPO:
The statistic show that more than 95% of bid requests sent from SSPs to DSPs can be categorized as digital waste. Yeah! It is quite striking. Wasteful requests refer to network requests that do not deliver significant value, such as those with no response, no bid, or bids falling below the operating cost.
It highlights the inefficiencies and resource consumption within the digital advertising ecosystem, emphasizing the need for more precise targeting, improved data quality, and better optimization practices to reduce this substantial waste.
Data centers are energy-intensive operations. SSPs can invest in more energy-efficient servers or partner with data center providers that prioritize sustainability. This includes using renewable energy sources and implementing energy-efficient technologies. Another solution is regarding the quality of network traffic, which can be vastly optimized by reducing 60% of waste requests. And it results in higher overall bid rates and traded volume, higher profitability and a significant reduction in the server cost.
The quality of the traffic is key, since DSP threshold limits bid requests. By the way, you may want to explore more about what is QPS (query per second) optimization to understand in details how to optimize QPS limits.
Striking a delicate balance between reducing bid requests and enhancing fill rates, win rates, and profitability is crucial for SSPs. To increase these limits, SSPs must deliver high-quality traffic to their partners, steering clear of digital waste caused by empty auctions or invaluable bid requests. To cultivate stronger relationships with their SSP partners, these platforms are now adopting innovative traffic shaping solutions. By doing so, they gain better bargaining power to negotiate limit increases and, in turn, optimize their overall performance.
To reduce traffic without losing profitability, smart matchmaking is crucial. Traffic shaping technologies can match trillions of ad-requests to the right demand-partners in microseconds. It evaluates real-time bidding information, enriched with real-time data from partners, and predicts if the user profiling is a great match before sending to auction. In case the location, time of the day, user profile is not a good match, because it's a low value request, and it doesn't warrant QPS limits, the bid request is never send to an auction.
industry-wide traffic by at least 50% by using machine learning and predictive methods to predict how valuable a domain is, how valuable a user is, and for whom a request is relevant and for whom it is not. Yes, by using a High-Quality Prediction Model
What makes this possible?
"Publishers can easily cut 40% of traffic without harming income, whereas SSPs can decrease 50 to 60% of traffic while increasing revenue! by investing in quality prediction algorithms.”
According to Nils Lind, combining these two elements can cut the entire supply chain in half.
Publishers, SSPs, and their partners can now contribute to the industry's journey towards ad net zero. For example, publishers can remove resellers from their ads.txt file and work with direct demand, as well as manually map out SSPs from browsers/countries where they do not operate.
Ad Buyers can contribute by devoting a more considerable portion of their budgets to lower-carbon creative, such as standard IAB display units, and by directing their budgets to greener DSPs and SSPs. DSPs and advertisers must also identify spammy partners and reward SSP owners who prioritize sustainability.
Regardless, there are certain roles the publishers can still play in promoting green advertising.
In a purely operational sense, they can dramatically lower the carbon emitted through their digital ad inventory transaction. They can do this in several ways, from reducing their page-load to rationalizing the number of partners in their ad stack.
They can dramatically lower the carbon emitted through their digital ad inventory transaction in several ways, from reducing their page load to rationalizing the number of partners in their ad stack.
Publishers can influence advertisers and marketers about the benefits of green media and encourage them to prioritize it in their campaigns. However, publishers have a bigger responsibility than this and, therefore, a bigger opportunity. The content they write can impact the behavior of millions of people.
We would argue that a publisher who emits comparatively little carbon in serving an ad but whose editorial content encourages unsustainable consumer behavior can’t be considered ‘green media’. The true impact publishers can have in producing content that helps drive better consumer behavior in this pivot towards a low-carbon economy.
Publishers can use ad networks that prioritize the inclusion of green media in their inventory, which can help them reach a wider audience of environmentally-conscious consumers.
Finally, a publisher can promote sustainability by featuring content that educates and informs readers about environmental issues and solutions and by partnering with organizations working to protect the environment.
Many players are collaborating to this cause, such as Ad Net Zero, which helps the advertising industry’s drive to decarbonise the production, distribution, and publication of advertising. Or Scope3, that offers a platform where it's possible to check the emissions of every advertising, publishing, and tech platform.
In response to the growing push in sustainable SPO direction, specially from the demand-side, a few Ad Techs are proactively offering solutions to support sell-side on reducing digital waste, carbon emissions, supply path inefficiencies and, bringing players of the programmatic advertising industry closer to a sustainable business.
Ad tech is ultimately an enabler - a set of technologies that help brands communicate their marketing messages to a relevant audience. With that in mind, there are key ways it can influence behavior:
By helping brands promote ethical products and services and successfully grow their businesses.
By supporting publishers whose content inspires and educates people to live more sustainably.
Discover how GumGum achieved a 30% QPS on average reduction using Traffic Shaping. Read the full story
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