If you haven’t noticed how consumers have been more and more aware of ecological issues these past years, you have probably been living under a rock. Following this ecological wave, a new innovative concept was born: responsible advertising.
This concept is based on a very simple idea: the fact that marketing and advertising professionals need to be aware of the potential negative impacts of their advertising strategy, in order to limit its effects, notably on the planet.
Responsible advertising thus encompasses several concepts:
– That of a marketing strategy whose messages are designed so as not to have a negative impact on consumers
– That of advertising campaigns that have limited impact on the planet
As a marketing communications manager, you probably work hard to ensure that the content of your ads is harmless to your targets, and that it doesn’t offend their values or expectations.
But have you taken the time to set up digital advertising campaigns with a limited environmental impact? That’s what this post will help you achieve, by making you discover how to make responsible and reasoned advertising.
Because, when you learn that, for instance, in 3 years time, you can reduce by 80% your digital ads’ CO2 emissions, this strategy looks like a game-changer for your brand!
Why go for responsible advertising?
Why integrate responsible advertisements to your media plan, you might ask? Discover here what that kind of advertising campaign can help your brand achieve.
Because advertisement has a colossal impact on the environment
Did you know that, according to The Shift Project think tank, the Internet (including its IT equipment and media consumption) is responsible for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide… i.e. more than civil air transport!
These numbers might even double by 2025, to reach 8% of total emissions – which is the current share of emissions coming from light vehicles such as cars.
And advertising isn’t the most eco-friendly Internet use of them all. In fact, a 2016 study revealed that online advertising had generated 60 million of tons of CO2 emissions: the equivalent to the consumption of Morocco.
That’s why it is crucial for you, advertisers, to take a more responsible approach to your marketing strategies, which aligns with your brand’s commitments, in terms of ads and consumer expectations.
Because your target audience wants to see more responsible ads
Belgian consumers are sensible to eco-responsibility in their day-to-day life. 1 in 3 Belgians says it’s necessary to consume more responsibly.
And 14% of them consider brands are the most important actors to promote a more responsible way of consuming.
This applies, to only to what kinds of products your potential customers buy, but also to the way these products are promoted through advertising and marketing content.
Thus, your consumers expect you to make responsible commitments in terms of advertising. That’s why including responsible advertising in your marketing strategies is now a matter of brand awareness, notoriety, and customer retention.
Because this trajectory is crucial for the whole market
Here is the last reason you should dive into responsible advertising: the fact that the online advertising industry is rapidly moving towards these new practices.
In France, 74% of IAB France’s study respondents say they know what responsible advertising was. When focusing only on ad networks, adtech, and media editors, this figure rises to a stunning 83%: a sign that key players in the market are already interested in this type of practice.
However, only 48% of the respondents admit to already applying a responsible advertising approach to their digital marketing strategy. And 63% of those who haven’t said they will start doing so in less than a year.
Thus, responsible advertising should explode in marketing campaigns soon enough. And be aware that this is not only a temporary trend: this promotional technique is a real need for advertising to evolve into a more positive practice! So for you, marketer, launching your own responsible ads strategy is crucial, so as not to fall further behind.
And don’t worry: responsible advertising does not impact your campaigns’ performance! A better management of your advertising budgets and marketing efforts, associated with an optimal targeting and creative work, can even significantly improve your performance.
That’s what Impact+ has proven, showing it achieved a 67% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions among its clients, without impacting the performance of their existing campaigns.
4 steps to launch more responsible advertising campaigns
Are you willing to set up your first responsible advertising campaign? Here are the 4 key steps to follow to advertise in a more eco-responsible way.
Step 1: Estimate your existing campaigns’ impact
Your strategy must start with you estimating the environmental impact of your current campaigns. The idea is to know where you’re starting off, so you can find ways to optimize your marketing campaign’s impact.
Take the time to analyse your current programmatic advertising setup:
– What type of digital content are you promoting? Is it GIFs, static images, animations, videos, enhanced videos? Each of these formats will have more or less impact on the planet.
– How was the content designed? Materials, or even shooting locations, must be taken into account.
– What is the weight of the media that is advertised (in Mega Octets)? Are there any variations included in your campaign?
– How many advertising formats are used (banner, interstitial, wrap…)?
– How is your ad creation hosted? Where is it hosted? Not all hosting services have the same eco-responsible practices.
Then make an audit of how your campaigns are distributed:
– On which media are your creations distributed?
– On which devices are they broadcasted (mobile web, mobile app, tablet web, tablet app, desktop)?
– What is your campaign’s capping?
– What kinds of connections are involved (WiFi, 5G, 4G…)?
– Which partners are involved in your broadcasts? What are their practices in terms of responsible advertising?
Finally, don’t forget to analyse the technical specs related to your ads broadcast. Ask yourself where the servers that distribute your campaign are located: this is a key element to take into account to measure its impact on the environment.
At the end of this first step, you’ll have a precise idea of the elements that increase the carbon footprint of your marketing communication.
Step 2: Optimize your campaign
Once you have a clear vision of your campaign’s environmental impact, you can start finding ways to optimize it, to turn it into a real responsible ad.
To do so, you may think about the following tactics:
– Optimizing the weight of your different digital advertising media. Your goal is to compress the images and videos, without degrading your final branded content’s quality.
– Selecting different advertising formats, depending on your goals. Some formats can be very demanding in terms of energy, such as GIFs instead of HTML5, for instance.
– Choosing more eco-friendly broadcasting supports.
– Reducing your campaign’s capping, to limit repetition.
– Choosing more eco-friendly broadcasting partners that are keen on more eco-responsible practices.
– Choosing “greener” broadcasting servers with Green IT commitments.
– Wisely selecting your measurers and tools to make sure the servers aren’t called out too much.
The key to a good responsible campaign is to optimize it without degrading the quality of your ads, thus, preserving your branding.
Step 3: Measure your campaign’s carbon footprint
Once your responsible advertising campaign has ended, you can measure the real impact it had on the environment. To do so, different solutions exist, depending on your campaign’s perimeter: audit firms specialise in this kind of approach (such as Impact+ or ecoact), but technological solutions are also available.
Generally, you can track key metrics such as…
– The number of times your campaign was broadcasted
– The number of times your video was totally completed
– The campaign’s repetition…
In the end, you obtain results calculated in kilos or tons of CO2 actually generated by your campaign. The best practice consists in analysing these results closely, to determine even more virtuous good practices for your future campaigns.
Be aware that the methods used to calculate the carbon footprint of such campaigns vary from one actor to another, and are not necessarily aligned. Some take into account criteria that others leave aside.
Anyway, each of those methods allows you to determine a good basis to move on to the next step (which is, as you’ll see, the carbon compensation of your campaign).
Step 4: Offset the carbon impact of your campaigns
Sure, carbon offset isn’t the perfect solution to make your advertising strategy really responsible. But it offers a temporary solution, while you find the best practices to create totally eco-friendly ads.
Here’s what you can do: as an advertiser, you commit to invest in a social and solidarity project, or an eco-responsible project, to limit the impact of your Internet advertising.
To do so, there are multiple organisations and mechanisms that allow you to offset carbon in your company.
At Gamned!, our experts activate solutions specialised in responsible advertising, such as Goodeed and WhatRocks. Their benefits lie in the fact that they develop your employer brand, by highlighting the eco-friendliness of your campaign, in line with your CSR commitments.
Goodeed: sponsor a video campaign
Goodeed’s mechanism is quite simple: each time a web user sees your ad (whether it is TV advertising, wrap, or video online) a donation is made to the project of your choice.
Everything works smoothly: you choose a project before your campaign is launched, and Goodeed takes care of the rest.
At Gamned!, our experts saw an average of 7 points of brand approval on the Goodeed format. That’s enough to boost your brand’s sympathy capital while continuing to be creative.
WhatRocks: to reward your audience’s exposure to an ad
Here’s a second example of what Gamned! activated to launch responsible ads: WhatRocks.
Again, the concept is really simple to deploy:
– The user creates its WhatRocks account through the pop-in on the editor’s site, or by clicking on the label on your ads.
– Afterwards, each time an ad is viewed, or each time the user interacts with the ad, he wins points (in a virtual currency called “Rocks”).
– The user can then give his or her points to the non-profit organisation he prefers.
Let’s talk about results. WhatRocks helps marketers perform while doing responsible advertising. In fact, when compared with traditional media advertising, an ad broadcasted through WhatRocks generates +16% click-through rate, and +8.5 video completion.
As you’ve seen, the advertising industry is starting to follow more responsible and reasonable guidelines. Behind these innovative approaches lies a single goal: to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint while ensuring companies’ digital advertising performance.
Are you interested in launching your own programmatic responsible ad campaign? Contact our experts at Gamned! to talk about your marketing goals, and target the best practices to set up on your campaigns right now.