Greenbids’ Guillaume Grimbert on the State of Sustainability in Programmatic 

In this interview we caught up with Guillaume Grimbert, CEO and co-founder of Greenbids, to discuss the state of sustainability in the programmatic landscape. Guillaume expands on how programmatic advertisers can adopt more sustainable practices while avoiding greenwashing or treating sustainability as a trend, as well as the economic benefits of going green. 

How positive do you feel about the current state of sustainability in the programmatic landscape? 

My feelings are mixed. On the one hand, I encounter perspectives that trivialise responsible media critical metrics like gCO2PM (grams of CO2 per thousand impressions), treating them as mere marketing tools rather than recognising their significance in combating climate change. This indicates a need for deeper understanding and commitment within our industry. On the other hand, there is growing momentum, as shown by the increased attendance at the NYC Green Media Summit and the development of foundational standards like GARM and AdNetZero. Additionally, impending regulations are a promising development, applying necessary pressure to accelerate sustainable practices across the industry.

What are some of the ways programmatic advertisers can adopt more sustainable practices? 

Programmatic advertisers should start by taking action now rather than waiting for perfect carbon measurement methodologies. We already have effective tools like Scope3, Good-Loop, Cedara, and Impact+. Building on this, adhering to global frameworks from GARM and AdNetZero will help advance our efforts. Moreover, focusing on media quality metrics such as attention rates and premium inventory can kickstart sustainable practices. Implementing these measures not only supports environmental goals but also enhances media performance. Finally, we usually build a Joint Sustainable Business Plan with our clients to scale a responsible media strategy effectively.

How can programmatic advertisers progress from adopting sustainability as a trend, to embracing it as a long-term commitment? 

Transitioning from treating sustainability as a trend to embedding it as a core operational principle involves integrating sustainable practices into the strategic foundation of a company. Advertisers must evolve from merely participating in sustainability initiatives to making them central to their business models. This means investing in continuous improvement, adopting innovative technologies, and promoting a culture of sustainability within their organisations. Regularly revising their strategies based on emerging research and technology will ensure that sustainability remains a dynamic and integral part of their operations.

How strong is the link between sustainable practices and cost efficiency for programmatic advertisers? 

Media effectiveness is strongly correlated with sustainable media practices. One good example to consider is ad viewability. Imagine that about 50% of ads are not viewable, which means that half of the resources utilised for these ads are effectively spoiled. This waste is not just an environmental concern but also a financial drain, reducing the overall efficiency of media spending.

By adopting sustainable practices, advertisers can significantly reduce this wastage. At Greenbids, we focus on eliminating inefficiencies across the ad supply chain. For instance, by utilising predictive models and AI-driven strategies, we try to only focus on emissions per KPI. This not only improves resources allocation but also aligns spending with effective ad placements, ensuring advertisers get the best value for their investment.

In addition, sustainable practices often correlate strongly with high-quality media metrics. By enforcing quality standards such as attention metrics and choosing premium inventory from curated marketplaces, advertisers can further enhance the sustainability of their campaigns. These practices not only ensure that advertising is more responsible but also increase the overall campaign effectiveness, demonstrating that sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand in the programmatic advertising ecosystem.

From a publisher’s perspective, our AI-driven approach helps optimise ad selection, maximising advertising revenue with the fewest possible ad calls. This leads to a substantial decrease in resources used per ad, which enhances both sustainability and cost-effectiveness. The efficiency gained here also contributes to improved web performance and faster page load times, which benefits the overall user experience.

This approach significantly improves the attractiveness of ad spaces. By reducing the volume of unsuccessful ad calls, we increase the participation rate for publishers, making them more appealing to supply-side platforms (SSPs) and thus increasing their potential revenue. 

Thus, adopting sustainable practices in media not only yields positive environmental outcomes but also showcases how right practices can lead to significant cost savings and efficiency gains, proving that sustainable investment is a smart financial strategy as well.

Does greenwashing pose a significant risk to the industry’s progress in creating a more sustainable future? 

Absolutely, greenwashing is a significant risk as it can undermine genuine efforts to foster sustainability. It’s crucial that any proclaimed sustainability achievements are backed by robust technical solutions and verifiable data. The industry needs stringent regulations to prevent misleading claims, ensuring that only verifiable, impactful actions are recognised. Strong regulation and carbon reporting are essential for holding companies accountable and thwarting greenwashing attempts, thereby safeguarding the industry's integrity and contributing positively to our planet.