How to Approach Eco-Friendly Advertising

Eco-friendly advertising requires a holistic approach

We recently published a piece about the advertising industry’s responsibilities to the environment where we outlined some ideas on eco-friendly advertising. We’re pushing for the industry to do more than simply become net-zero – we want advertising to unleash its potential for positive change across the globe. Advertising should be eco-friendly, not eco-neutral.


Eco-friendly advertising requires every branch within the business to work in tandem, from companies to clients to employees. Here’s some inspiration to make sure everyone is collaborating hand-in-hand for a brighter, more eco-friendly future.


Adopt company-wide initiatives

Sustainability is always a team effort – not just on the scale of continent-spanning governmental initiatives, but on a company level, too.

Your company should be putting on a united, company-wide effort to tackle climate change. At ShowHeroes we partnered with Alaya, a platform that presents and engages individuals in sustainability challenges – online and in person – allowing all of ShowHeroes’ employees to individually contribute in a collective effort. Our #SustainableSummer challenges have thus far involved team activities like cleaning up a local river and having a totally sustainable picnic as well as everyday activities such as using reusable water bottles or reading up about ocean pollution.


The Dentsu agency is another example of a company with great company-wide initiatives, having clocked an inspiring 32,704 volunteer work hours as part of their sustainability effort. They take eco-friendliness really seriously, which is why we sat down with them for a productive talk about sustainability in advertising.


Whether it’s through Alaya or through your own initiatives, getting your employees to positively contribute to sustainability on a personal level each day really adds up – it contributes to the global effort and creates a valuable eco-consciousness within your company.


Rewarding greener companies

It isn’t just about what your advertising company is doing on its own – it’s also about enabling great companies to do great things.


While most companies are merely on their way to ESG compliance or becoming net-zero, some companies have nailed their ecological responsibilities and go above and beyond.

A good advertising deal, such as a ‘green discount’, can supercharge those companies’ technologies, messages, or practices – it could be just what they need to take their next steps.


While there are public calls for advertising companies to stop supporting major pollutants, that isn’t always feasible. By supporting the great companies healing our environment, though, you can make a genuine, positive contribution to saving our climate.


Choosing, or being, green adtech partners

As Marshall McLuhan once said, “The medium is the message” – that’s why adtech being used to push advertisements out matters as much as the advertisements themselves.

Companies pushing out ad campaigns should make sure that the partners they’re working with are taking care of their carbon footprint.


If you’re an adtech provider like we are at ShowHeroes, that’s an additional incentive to make sure you’re being a sustainable partner! We take serious strides in every facet of our business, for example by using sustainable providers for our merchandise needs and sourcing food and drinks locally for our Digital Distillery events.


Gaining and retaining user trust with sustainable contextual targeting

End users – the people viewing ads – are an important part of the eco-friendly advertising system, and their trust has to be earned. That trust isn’t just relegated to sustainability initiatives, either.


Most importantly, we’re talking in particular about one of the most discussed aspects of user mistrust: privacy. While it may not seem to be connected to eco-friendliness or sustainability on the surface, efficient targeting via contextual targeting has privacy at its core and doesn’t need any first- or third-party data in order to optimize targeting and deliverability. That means relevant ads are shown to the right end users, preventing wasted impressions to the wrong audiences.


At ShowHeroes, we developed SemanticHero, our semantic and contextual targeting solution. It’s privacy-safe and compliant, totally eliminating the need for third-party cookie tracking.


Bolstering contextual targeting with advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning means SemanticHero is capable of identifying and targeting precise audiences thanks to analysis of natural language patterns and deeper more nuanced page analysis which can understand tone and sentiment.


Contextual and semantic targeting completely sidesteps any reluctantly-given personal data. This gives advertisers a more reliable and brand-safe solution for campaign placement in a privacy-safe way, as neither cookies nor any other type of identifiers are required.


For advertisers, a simplified tech stack means creating fewer steps to deliver an ad. But it’s not only providers and technology that can be optimized. Formats can be improved to be shorter and more engaging.


With ShowHeroes Studios, advertisers have the option of customizing the ad, branding, and in other instances, the creative itself. Investing more time to produce the right ad and presenting it to the right audience via contextual targeting means numerous consumers who are not in the target will not be served that particular ad. The entire process is more streamlined: Less energy is used, there are significantly less wasted impressions, and overall, there is a decrease in indirect emissions.


The planet depends on you


It’s fundamental that the advertising industry doesn’t forget that sustainability isn’t about profit – it’s about genuine conviction and desire to secure a livable future. That’s why inspirational articles like these can’t be replacements for actual dedication.


The ideas for making advertising eco-friendly above aren’t an exhaustive list! Take them as starting points – things to review, bring up, and work on, but by no means are they the end of any of our stories.


Eco-friendliness rather than eco-neutrality is a big task to undertake, and getting there starts with every one of us.