We recently completed a body of work within the Cubed platform which was aimed at assisting customers with understanding the carbon impact of their online presence. This new functionality pulls in additional data related to all of the individual pages across a client’s website, couples these page-level insights with activity volumes (for both new and repeat visitors to these pages) and provides the insight required to measure the carbon impact of simply having visitors come along to your website/s.
We invested developer time in implementing this functionality, on the basis that reducing our impact on the world is a shared goal of ourselves and our clients. This work allows us to simplify the previously difficult task of quantifying the carbon impact of digital, and the result was a number of interesting statistics, some of which I can share here.
The following numbers were from a major supermarket bank:
Annual CO2e: 42,000kg
CO2e generated from bounce visits: 4,745kg
CO2e generated for referred browse visits: 21,491kg
CO2e generated for sales processes: 9,888kg
‘Productive’ CO2e: 32%
The nature of our integrations and calculated marketing data allows us to provide further insights, like splits per visit, per page, productive CO2e stats across numerous breakdowns, and much more.
However, for this major client, the annual CO2e generated was 42t CO2e. By comparison, that’s roughly the same as the annual emissions generated by six UK households – so not a huge amount.
This got us thinking about synergy. For 42t CO2e, very few people would advocate making sweeping changes, potentially at the expense of the performance of the business itself. In reality, reduced carbon footprints are easiest to achieve when they are synergistic with other key advantages.
Take our digital footprint example again; in reality, this client has key priorities around generating additional revenue & profit and improving performance. But what that could mean is synergistic with reducing CO2:
Improving Conversion Rates: Getting more customers to their goal points means improving sales revenue and reducing bounces. But this also means improved levels of ‘Productive CO2e’, less wasted page views and fewer bounce visits. Which in turn means a reduction in generated CO2e.
More Efficient Marketing: Marketing in the right way to the right people is more efficient and will improve performance whilst at the same time reducing costs. In turn, this also means less digital CO2e production wasted by targeting the wrong customers.
Reduced Site Footprint (per page): Reducing the page footprint generally means faster load times. And faster load times are viewed very favourably by Google, which could have a positive impact on Organic Search rankings. And of course, reducing page footprint is a sure-fire way to reduce the CO2e impact of the digital presence as a whole.
So, whilst a specific focus limited only to reducing emissions may not be a clear business priority, it is clear to see the synergies with the more important business metrics themselves.
What’s more, it becomes even more apparent that some of the less common metrics – for example, our calculated ‘Productive CO2e’ numbers – actually become proxies for understanding the performance of the individual marketing channels, campaigns and sources themselves, giving synergistic insights into where improvements can be made for all-round benefits.
A real win-win scenario, typical of the best synergies.