As one of the leading global ad exchanges, Sharethrough manages billions of ad requests every single day, helping thousands of websites and apps to better monetize their content and advertisers to better reach a qualified audience. Last year, we started noticing our constant efforts to optimize our data infrastructures and to make them more efficient were also allowing us to significantly decrease our carbon footprint. As an industry player, we realized we could have an impact in reducing the carbon footprint of digital advertising and wanted to offer a way for advertisers to deliver carbon neutral campaigns while maintaining or increasing their performance. This was achieved by creating the industry-first solution for brands, advertisers and publishers to reduce the carbon impact from digital ads: GreenPMP™. By running ads through GreenPMPs on the Sharethrough Exchange, a fraction of the CPM is designated towards funding Carbon Direct’s high-quality carbon offsetting initiatives to compensate for the emissions created by the ad campaign.
Along with creating a solution, we also set out to help educate the digital advertising industry and consumers on the environmental impact of digital ads. A Sharethrough research study on Consumer Understandings of Carbon Emissions revealed that while 60% of consumers were unaware that browsing the internet generated carbon emissions, 80% were more likely to favor brands that are actively working to reduce their carbon emissions. This means consumers need educating both on how their internet usage generates carbon emissions and on which brands are doing their part to reduce that impact. To achieve this, we decided to create a hub to help spread awareness, share our research findings and track our progress in real time by creating our micro-site: greenpmp.io.
The goal was simple: we wanted to create a hub where we could track the progress of campaigns run on GreenPMPs. We also wanted to build an education resource center for brands, agencies and publishers to get the latest news and research studies on Green Media Products.
One of the main challenges was to measure the carbon emissions of the digital advertising supply path – from building the creative to rendering an ad on a website. All of the intricate details were evaluated, in partnership with Scope3, to evaluate how much CO2 needed to be compensated per impression delivered. The process was tedious, and our data team worked tirelessly to connect the dots and showcase the numbers we now see populated in the main dashboard.
Once we had the data we needed, we built the main dashboard, showcasing daily growth of delivered net zero ad impressions, the number of domains, advertisers and publishers using GreenPMPs, as well as the total metric tons of CO2e compensated to date. Once the feature was built, we added a section for our proprietary research study, including consumer sentiment in regards to their digital footprint. Throughout the website, users can visit the latest news related to GreenPMPs, the product’s video reel, as well as concrete steps that can be taken to reduce carbon emissions in the digital advertising supply path.
One of the key features of GreenPMPs is the noticeable green icon added to all ads that run on Sharethrough’s Green Media Products. The green icon signifies the ad has been delivered through a net zero supply path where emissions have been measured and compensated for. When users are served an ad with a green icon, they are redirected to greenpmp.io, to learn more about the initiative and access exclusive educational content.
Since its launch, we’ve seen over 5900 brands have delivered campaigns using GreenPMPs, and this number keeps increasing every day as evidenced on our site. We’re proud to have achieved amazing milestones in a short period of time. In particular, more than 249.2 tons of CO2 has been compensated for thanks to GreenPMPs, which is the equivalent to driving 33 times the circumference of the Earth in an average gas-powered car or heating 1,033 US households for 1 month - all while maintaining or increasing the performance of the campaigns! These metrics continue to grow daily, demonstrating a real interest from the ad industry to become cleaner and greener.
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