The challenge

The internet is a major polluter and represents 2-4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is on par with that of the aviation industry. A significant share of the media industry's internet CO2 footprint stems from the large amount of data transferred through the internet infrastructure to ensure that digital ads are delivered to an end user. Data transfer represents 30% of the internet's energy consumption. [1] [2] [3]

What is data transfer, more specifically?

Well, everything we consume online: every file, image and video is made accessible to us because data is transferred to our devices. The actual definition varies, but we can sum it up by saying that data transfer is the transfer of data from one digital device to another. The data that is transferred over the internet requires energy and thus, creates carbon emissions.

To understand what drives these emissions, think of the internet as a supply chain of data.

When looking specifically at data transfer, each part of the supply chain requires energy to be operational, which is a key driver of emissions. We are using lots of data - and we won't be using less any time soon. With more connected users, higher expectations and increasing use of video, global data transfer is expected to grow with 20% every year.[4]

So what can be done to meet these skyrocketing demands and what options exist in tackling this challenge?

We need more efficient data centers and devices, a clean energy supply for the Internet, and investments in projects with positive environmental impact. Read more about this in our white paper.

However, these actions are not enough. We also need to be smarter about how and if we send data in the first place.

Online advertising is responsible for around 60 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. That's the equivalent footprint of:

Assuming 285 g CO2e per passenger km and a distance of 6,381 km. Sources [5] [6]

It's time for the digital ad industry to take the necessary action to minimize its carbon emissions. This can now be achieved without compromising ad performance, simply by targeting data waste. It is the sum of the collective effort that will make the difference, where every campaign will contribute to a more sustainable industry.

SeenThis tech is one part of the solution

Our solution is built on adaptive streaming. Compared to traditional technology when running the same ad, SeenThis streaming allows for instant improvement of the user experience for both static images and video, while reducing data waste and excessive carbon emissions.

SeenThis' technology automatically adapts the delivery of data to every device, IOS, browser and available bandwidth, enabling maximum quality for every user with minimal data waste.

Our ads stream only when in view and pause when out of view. This means that data is only transferred while being consumed by the user, avoiding the data waste related to excessive buffering and content loading offscreen.

All in all, by allowing high quality assets to load instantly in a more sustainable way, SeenThis removes the historical trade-off between quality and load time when dealing with traditional technology . In addition, the solution we present is plug-and-play, meaning that clients experience an immediate impact.