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DMEXCO trend survey on energy and advertising: Although the consumption of resources is becoming increasingly important, only a minority of people are implementing specific measures

58% of the marketers surveyed are clear on one thing: the consumption of energy and resources by advertising is becoming increasingly important in 2023. However, just 38% of companies will pay greater attention to the CO2 emissions of different marketing measures when planning future budgets. On the other hand, the answer to the question of who should bear the costs of climate-neutral campaigns is unanimous: the advertisers. These are the initial findings from a representative online survey conducted by Civey on behalf of DMEXCO in December 2022, which involved 501 employees in the communication, PR, media, and marketing sectors.
January 18, 2023

As of September 1, 2022, illuminated advertising billboards and displays in Germany must be switched off by law after 10 pm – even though comparisons show that digital out-of-home advertising tends to create fewer CO2 emissions than other media. Will this essentially symbolic political decision be the only one or will the consumption of energy and resources become an issue for other media as well in 2023? Market research company Civey conducted a survey of communication experts on behalf of DMEXCO. The conclusion is that opinions differ on this question: although the majority of respondents (58%) fully or somewhat believe that energy consumption in advertising and marketing will become increasingly important this year, this is still unlikely to be reflected in specific measures being implemented. More than half of the respondents (52%) do not have any resource-saving measures planned in marketing and/or have no intention of making such plans.

Just 38% intend to rethink their media mix

One consequence of the increasing importance of the energy consumed by marketing measures is that just under 38% of respondents intend to rethink their media mix. Slightly more (42%) do not intend to do so, while almost 21% are yet to decide whether they will act and what action they will take. If companies are genuinely going to opt out of any marketing measures, then print mailings will top the list in 2023; possibly because replacing them with digital versions would be relatively straightforward. Otherwise, companies that are concerned about the CO2 emissions generated by advertising and marketing are contemplating a range of individual measures to make advertising more climate friendly. No specific trends can be identified in this area (so far).

Will consumers be interested in the future in whether advertising campaigns are being run in a climate-neutral way? The opinions of communication experts are split on this question as well: 40% believe that whether or not campaigns are climate-neutral is relatively unimportant, while 33% think that this will definitely be a factor for consumers.

The experts are unanimous, however, on the question of who should bear the costs of climate-neutral advertising in the future: 48% consider it the responsibility of the
advertisers. Almost 17% would share the costs between market partners, while 13%
would like the media and marketers to pay up. Only the media agencies are in the

According to Professor Dominik Matyka, Chief Advisor of DMEXCO: “The findings of the survey reveal that while there is already an awareness in the marketing industry of more sustainable ways of operating, this is still unlikely to be reflected in specific
actions. Consumption of energy and resources will also be an important criterion for
the digital economy in the years ahead, so DMEXCO 2023 will focus on this forward-looking theme and offer a platform for the players in our industry who want to help shape more climate-friendly advertising.”

Dirk Freytag, President of the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW):
“Using energy responsibly is an essential element of corporate digital responsibility.
The digital economy therefore has an undisputed obligation in this regard, which it
fully intends to meet as an industry. The BVDW will thus work together with all
stakeholders to set standards for climate-friendly advertising ahead of DMEXCO later this year.”

DMEXCO 2023: Sustainability as a key topic

Sustainable media will therefore be one of the key topics at DMEXCO 2023.
Specifically, Europe’s leading digital marketing & tech event is aiming to accelerate
discussions on future possible standards and specific measures to achieve genuine
reductions in emissions.

DMEXCO’s activities

DMEXCO partnered with Treedom back in 2019 to launch the DMEXCO Forest in Kenya as a way of offsetting the CO2 emissions released by visitors traveling to attend the event. In 2022, DMEXCO marked the resumption of in-person events by committing to continue this partnership. The project has also supported forests in Ecuador, Cameroon, and Madagascar since then, planting more than 3,000 trees in total. By the time the reforesting project is complete in 2029, it will have sequestered around 1,000 tons of CO2 in the atmosphere – roughly equivalent to the CO2 emissions of 6,000 roundtrip economy flights from London to Cologne.

About the survey

Commissioned by DMEXCO, market research company Civey conducted an online
survey of 501 employees in the communication, PR, media, and marketing sectors
between November 23 and December 19, 2022.

Image material for DMEXCO is available online at