Sustainable Digital Advertising: How Far Off is the Industry?

October 3, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | Brand-Related | CSR & Environmental

More than 8 in 10 consumers around the world claim they would be more likely to buy from a company that practices sustainable advertising, although relatively few (61%) know that experiencing an ad has a negative impact on the planet. A new study [download page] from Good-Loop finds that almost 9 in 10 digital marketers in the US believe that the digital advertising industry has a responsibility to reduce carbon emissions.

Despite that shared feeling of responsibility – and two-thirds believing that minimizing carbon emissions should be a target for every marketer – it’s clear that the industry has some ways to go. Almost half (47%) of US marketers currently don’t have plans in place to reduce the carbon emissions generated by digital campaigns to net zero, while just 2% are already there. Among those who do have plans, they are slightly less likely to be for reaching net zero by the end of this year than at a later point.

The latest edition of The CMO Survey [pdf] finds an uptick over the course of this year in the percentage of CMOs whose companies are likely to take a variety of actions to reduce the negative impact of their marketing-related activities on the ecological environment, particularly by changing products and/or services and by changing marketing promotions.

A key driver in the push to carbon neutral advertising is the belief that all have a critical role to play in reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change. Beyond that, Good-Loop’s survey finds that slightly more marketers feel under pressure from customers than from senior management. The fewest, however, pointed to pressure from the digital marketing industry as an important factor in carbon emission reduction.

In other highlights from the report:

  • Roughly 6 in 10 (61% of) US marketers surveyed say they’re tracking the carbon emissions generated by their digital ad campaigns.
  • Carbon tracking remains nascent, however, with the most common method being estimates based on the number of impressions.
  • 3 in 4 (76% of) US digital marketers believe the digital advertising industry needs to do more to help reduce carbon emissions.
  • Around half of agency (56%) and brand (46%) marketers believe that “sustainability is more important than the cost of media.”
  • Some 69% of brands and 54% of agencies agree that “there are not enough sustainability education/training programs to give marketers the skills and confidence to effectively understand and reduce the impact digital marketing has on the environment.”

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 400 digital marketers in the US and UK.

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