To promote its new electronic vehicle, the Q4 Sportback e-tron, Audi France wanted to create a sustainable digital and video-on-demand campaign.
The internet is responsible for producing almost 2% of global greenhouse gases, and online advertising – video in particular – is a big contributor, according to research from SeenThis, a streaming tech provider that speeds up video ad delivery to help reduce carbon emissions.
And video consumption is only growing. Social media platforms, for example, are plastered with vertical video.
To support its campaign for the Q4 Sportback e-tron, Audi France and its media agency, Re-Mind PHD France, partnered with SeenThis.
Less data, same quality
SeenThis reduces a campaign’s carbon footprint with technology that cuts down on the amount of data that gets transferred between platforms.
While one might assume this would cause a corresponding dip in the quality of the video stream, it’s possible to reduce the load without compromising performance, said Gareth Holmes, VP of strategy and media at SeenThis.
The Audi France campaign, which ran for one month between September and October, transferred roughly 33% less data compared to conventional download technology, which led to 10% CO2 reduction.
At the same time, Audi France doubled its click-through rate compared with previous campaigns to 0.22%.
Technology that helps with a brand’s sustainability goals but negatively impacts or doesn’t boost performance can’t be considered truly sustainable, Holmes said.
Campaign performance is key. Otherwise, he said, “it’s not a sustainable solution.”
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Trends within trends
Which is why SeenThis is focusing so heavily on improving data emissions through video to create a smoother user experience and speed up load times.
Meanwhile, as viewers and marketers better understand the environmental ramifications of data usage, there’s an increased demand for not only measuring but reducing the emissions.
SeenThis struck numerous partnerships over the past year in its mission to help brands reduce their campaign-related carbon footprints. In addition to Audi, SeenThis works with LATAM Airlines, Barilla, Levi’s, Havas, IPG Mediabrands, GroupM, MiQ, PubMatic and Cedara.
Through the Emissions Dashboard it launched in September, SeenThis partners can track campaign performance and emissions, which is not unlike offerings from other sustainability startups such as Scope3 and Cedara that monitor media-related CO2 emissions data.
Forging a green path forward
The main goal of Audi France’s partnership with SeenThis is to position the car brand as an innovator, both in the manufacturing industry and in how it promotes its vehicles, said Pierre Le Roux, consulting director at PHD.
The quest for carbon neutrality means advertisers need to get into gear.
For example, Audi France plans to expand its emissions-reduction efforts beyond its video ad campaigns, said Sylvain Bucalo, head of marketing communications at Audi France, including a project over the coming year to improve the image and video quality across its entire website while also lowering its carbon footprint.
But what about Audi in other regions?
Fact is, it’s easier to make these types of moves in Europe and the UK where businesses are already taking sustainability more seriously due to legislation, versus in the US where there aren’t as many regulations related to sustainability. Efforts to control emissions are quite analogous to what happened with GDPR, said Holmes, in how a broader understanding of and alignment on how to proceed made it easier to roll out changes.
This initial campaign sets a precedent for how Audi France will approach similar future campaigns in the year ahead, Le Roux said.
And, according to Bucalo, Audi France has been a pioneer within the VW Group as the first brand to experiment with this solution in the region. The effort will help establish a framework that may expand to Audi marketing teams in other European countries down the line.