As we acknowledged in the first post in this series, programmatic efficiency comes at a cost. A single ad impression generates roughly 1 gram of carbon waste, about the same amount as watching 45 seconds of ultra HD television. A million ad impressions generate the same carbon footprint as a roundtrip flight from Boston to London. Or 121,000 fully-charged cellphones. Or 45 backyard barbecues. You get the picture.
More than 75% of U.S. marketers believe that the digital advertising industry should do more to reduce our collective impact on the environment. Many have initiatives underway to minimize the Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions caused by everyday business activities. However, digital advertising falls into the category of Scope 3: indirect emissions incurred by third-party partners. Scope 3 accounts for more than 90% of the average company’s carbon footprint.
Data centers are the undisputed source of the problem, requiring massive amounts of energy to collect, store, and process the vast amounts of information needed to make programmatic advertising possible at scale. Those data centers are indispensable, but marketers can still seek out efficiency in the programmatic supply chain by asking a few key questions of their partners, starting with where they stand on bid duplication.
How do you eliminate – or at least, actively minimize – bid duplication? Bid duplication is the norm across programmatic supply paths. It’s partly a natural side effect of publishers sending ad requests to multiple supply-side exchanges, a perfectly legitimate and necessary publisher-side yield management practice. Unfortunately, another common practice perpetrated by many supply-side exchanges is intentional bid duplication to create a more competitive (and higher) bid landscape. Doing so improves the likelihood the SSP will win the auction.
For advertisers, reducing duplication in their programmatic supply chains isn’t just an important step toward sustainability, it’s also a key factor in achieving a more efficient—and more cost-effective— spend. When DSPs receive unduplicated bid requests, they can better align each inventory opportunity across their brand-side clients and respond with a fair bid that matches each buyer’s best interests.
While many DSPs are actively seeking to eliminate exchange-initiated bid duplication, there is no shortage of less scrupulous supply paths playing their role in thwarting demand-side detection. Which is why, for brands, supply-path curation can be an added arrow in the quiver to enforce a no-bid-duplication policy. In concert with each buyer’s DSP, narrowly selecting a small number of exchange partners known to enforce one-placement-one-bid policies streamlines programmatic processing. The practice reduces networking costs and overall energy consumption, and improves ad auction dynamics, delivering a fair and transparent price point to advertisers and publishers. Ultimately, energy consumption goes down as does the tech tax. Brands can devote more of their ad budgets to working media, and publishers will generate more revenue.
Do you know where each of your supply partners—and their partners—stand on bid duplication? Finding out is an important first step on the path to carbon-neutral media. TRUSTX has maintained a strict policy of zero bid duplication since day one, just one way in which we’re doing our part help our customers reach their ESG goals.
Over the next few weeks, we will share two more installments in this series devoted to understanding and operationalizing a sustainable approach to programmatic advertising. Sign up for email updates from TRUSTX to get notified when we publish a new post!
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