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Reducing Emissions with Attention Metrics: Early Results From Scope3 & Adelaide

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By Marc Guldimann

Earlier this year I met with Scope3 co-founder and programmatic legend Brian O’Kelley for coffee. Brian shared Scope3’s vision, which involves increasing transparency of the carbon emissions from digital advertising campaigns.

Fewer emissions, more green.

We discussed the potential for matching our data sets and comparing emissions from media optimized using attention data to media optimized using viewability or video completion rate.

A few weeks later, Adelaide’s data team had access to troves of Scope3 emissions data. We analyzed the emissions from a campaign already running an A/B test to compare the outcomes from optimizing to viewability vs. Adelaide’s attention metric AU. What we found was remarkable: the “attention-optimized media segment” generated far fewer total emissions.

There were two main drivers of this performance and one unexpected hurdle.

First, the attention-optimized media segment delivered 13% fewer impressions. Adelaide data encourages advertisers to buy fewer, higher-quality impressions. This can have a significant, positive impact on reducing an advertiser’s total emissions based on Scope3’s research, which shows that every 1 million impressions generate a metric ton of emissions.

Second, media in the attention-optimized segment created 24% less supply path emissions, suggesting that higher-quality impressions tend to come through cleaner pipes. This checks out as made-for-advertising type sites like monetizing through more and dicier supply paths.

Other emission sources taken into account include creative and base business emissions. In our study, the total base business emissions of publishers using AU was 8% lower. However, high-impact placements promoted by attention metrics typically create more emissions than small placements when transferring and rendering creative. In this case, we saw 16% more creative emissions in the AU-optimized group — substantial but not nearly enough to offset the other reductions.

The portion of the campaign running on media optimized to AU created 14% fewer total emissions. It also delivered better business outcomes, with 7% more awareness than the viewability-optimized segment.

This study further validates the power of attention metrics to drive better outcomes for all stakeholders in the ecosystem. Thanks to Scope3 for partnering with us to explore new uses of attention data and leading the industry towards one of the most important business outcomes, lowering carbon emissions.

Read more about our work with Scope3 on Digiday:

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