4 minute read | Apr. 24, 2024

Make your message stick. Without sticking it to the planet.

Internet emissions are predicted to double by 2025, with online advertising contributing. For mission-driven brands, a free report helps digital advertisers understand and own their impact.

No one in the history of advertising ever bought and ran an ad hoping for zero or negative returns. So why is it that for much of online advertising today, moving the needle falls short on the metrics that matter most for mission-driven brands? 

That’s the mission—and rallying brand advocates. But as the message sputters, the planet sizzles. As audience engagement stagnates, negative climate impact accumulates. And that’s not an exaggeration—a needlessly complex, inefficient digital ad-buying system wastes dollars even as it cranks out increasing amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions typically classified as scope 3.

Everyone at boa shares your outrage and the urgent need for clear, immediate solutions. That’s why we’re making a new report available as a free download—Advertiser’s Guide, 2024 Global Advisory—and are summarizing key concepts here. 

Get it. Share it. Drive your mission forward as you drive down emissions. We can help with that. Our approach to more sustainable media buying follows this framework:

Every Ad, Adds Up

Consider a hypothetical ad campaign of $72,000, 6 million impressions and $12 CPM. Six million sets of eyeballs sounds pretty good until you realize the campaign also generates 5.4 tons of CO2. That’s about the same as driving one car for one year. But compounding the issue is advertising in North America totaled $262 billion in 2023, according to research by Statista. So there’s a lot of traffic on the info-ad fueled mega highway.

If math on this kind of exponential scale seems hard to grasp, that’s understandable. It’s tough. The thing to remember is that every time you see a digital display ad, there’s a poof of energy behind it. Poof, poof, poof. For anyone who says, oh, it’s just an ad, Planet Earth disagrees.

Imagine L.A. at rush hour, Chicago O’Hare at the holidays and air-conditioners humming on a hot August afternoon. There’s a massive electrical load—always on, always firing—that pumps out emissions in order to create, place and serve online advertising. But here’s how you can do better.

Reset, Recalibrate, Reduce

On the open web, there are too many intermediaries in the ad system. Many exist just to inflate metrics, but whether legitimate or deceptive, every touch point layers on more poofs of energy. Even in a walled garden ad network—which in theory might be more streamlined— recommended file sizes are often much bigger than they need to be, thus contributing to the negative impact. 

The boa paid media team views targeting as more than an exercise in demographics. In addition to who, targeting at boa includes how, what, where and when. And most importantly, we keep asking WHY as we optimize campaigns so there’s no trade-off between better advertising performance and lower carbon output. Striking this balance is more than occasionally doable. We get it done every day.

More Mission, Less Emission

The bottom line is that optimizing ad campaigns in 2024 looks different than even just a couple years ago. The media landscape continues to evolve at breakneck speeds, and AI-automated advertising will only increase the computing power required to run advanced new systems. In fact, Internet emissions are predicted to double by 2025, with advertising contributing.

Get our free report—Advertiser’s Guide, 2024 Global Advisory—and let’s talk. We’re here to help you own your impact. Whatever your challenge—increasing sales, generating leads, raising awareness of a brand or product—boa has the ethos, expertise, team and tech stack to match.