Ad Tech Meets Sustainability: A Green Evolution

The fusion of sustainability and ad tech isn’t optional anymore; it’s a must.

Jounce Media’s research lays it bare: a whopping 20% of ad impressions journey through a maze of multiple trades in the supply chain. This not only escalates costs but also amplifies the industry’s carbon mark. 

The longer the journey, the higher the toll on our planet.

In recent months, Supply Path Optimization (SPO) has emerged as a potential game-changer to shaping a low-carbon future. 

Tracing the Supply Path’s Evolution

The rise of programmatic advertising magnified the complexities of the ad supply chain, introducing platforms like ad exchanges, DSPs, and SSPs. This led to fraud, brand safety issues, and data privacy concerns, aligning with regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

The result? A trust deficit between advertisers and publishers, demanding more transparency and integrity.

This is where Supply Path Optimization (SPO) comes in

The pursuit of Supply Path Optimization gained momentum as industry participants recognized the need for greater transparency, cost efficiency, and environmental responsibility. 

Does SPO, which involves reducing unnecessary intermediaries, lead to the elimination of ad tech platforms and their subsequent loss of business? 


SPO isn’t about slashing platforms; it’s about slashing waste. It emphasizes streamlining ad delivery, cutting out inefficiencies, and reducing carbon footprints. 

SPO  involves evaluating and selecting the most efficient paths for ad delivery, which entails choosing routes with fewer intermediaries, minimized data transfers, and optimal server utilization.

How to successfully implement Supply Path Optimization (SPO)? 

There are two primary ways to do so: 

  1. Select efficient intermediaries

SPO empowers advertisers and publishers to pick efficient intermediaries for direct, energy-saving ad routes.

Here’s a framework for selecting efficient intermediaries:

  • Ability to deliver ads promptly
  • Optimize data transfers
  • Maintain transparency in the process

By selecting intermediaries focused on energy efficiency, advertisers and publishers streamline ad processes, reducing data transfers and server loads. The result? A significant drop in the digital advertising sector’s carbon footprint.

  1. Choose a sustainable ad format

Specific ad formats, such as video ads with high-resolution content, demand more processing power, data transmission, and server resources, leading to higher energy consumption. 

Supply Path Optimization (SPO) entails selecting formats that are less resource-intensive, thereby reducing energy consumption during ad delivery.

Formats such as static image ads or HTML5 banners are generally lighter in terms of data and resource requirements compared to heavier formats like video ads.

This approach contributes not only to lowering carbon emissions but also to creating a more efficient, user-friendly, and faster ad experience for the audience.

More Ways to Go Green in Ad Tech

  • Ditch MFA Sites: In the ANA’s examination of programmatic ad dollars, MFAs accounted for 21% of the audited 35 billion impressions. This translated to 15% of the $123 million spent by 21 advertisers. MFAs constitute a significant chunk of impressions, translating to wasteful energy use. By sidelining these sites, advertisers champion authenticity and conservation. 
  • Embrace Direct Paths:  Simplify. Direct paths build a direct bridge between advertisers and publishers, eliminating unnecessary carbon costs tied with intermediaries.
  • Deploy Precise Targeting: Hit the bullseye. Powered by AI and ML, ads can be laser-focused on the right audience, minimizing redundant impressions and conserving energy.

The roadmap to a greener ad tech world hinges on collective action. The balance between environmental responsibility and profitability isn’t an either-or anymore. It’s a harmonious space carved out by SPO and strategic green initiatives.

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