What Responsible Media Means to OpenX

By OpenX in Responsibility, Transparency|June 20, 2024

While change is nothing new for the programmatic industry, addressing environmental and social issues adds another layer of evolution to our ecosystem. Publishers, advertisers, and their adtech partners have all realized that continuing with the status quo will not support the future we want to create and that consumers demand. Navigating these improvements requires lowering emissions to safeguard the planet, championing DEI initiatives, adhering to data privacy laws and regulations, and respecting the privacy of consumers.

With the guidance of organizations such as IAB, GARM, and Ad Net Zero, we’re seeing greater alignment on these values, which is helping various parts of the ecosystem identify changes that need to be made. However, realization alone is not enough. Laying the groundwork for an equitable, sustainable, and transparent ecosystem requires setting targets and measuring progress. 

At OpenX, that work has already begun, which is why we’re updating one of our core pillars from sustainability to responsibility. The reconfiguration of this tenet is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to driving meaningful change in responsible media buying in multiple areas. Creating a sustainable future will always be of the utmost importance to us, but the lens is no longer wide enough. We have a responsibility — to our partners, to our families, to the planet, and to ourselves — to create an ecosystem that is a net-positive experience for everyone while including everyone.

Sustainability requires ongoing reporting

Initially, we submitted plans to the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to reach Net-Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2027, an objective we achieved in 2021. Reaching this momentous goal six years ahead of schedule (and before anyone else in the advertising, media, and tech spaces) was achieved by thinking of sustainability more holistically; a blueprint that we’re eager to share.

Not only did we migrate our entire technology infrastructure to a cloud platform, but we consolidated office space and championed remote work, which reduced more than 95% of our carbon emissions. For the remaining emissions, we worked with Climate Impact Partners to identify high-quality carbon offsets, leading to our certification as CarbonNeutral. 

Finally, we sought the guidance of Dr. Bill Wescott, a climate expert who serves as advisor to numerous governments and policy makers, to act as an ongoing consultant. Notably, Wescott led the Greenhouse Gas Protocol subgroup in the late 1990s that developed the concept of scope 3 emissions — or indirect greenhouse gasses that occur as a result of a company engaging in business.

This year, we’re working to offset emissions that go alongside the positive growth our business is experiencing, and yet we will continue to report our environmental impact with the understanding that what gets measured gets improved. The opposite of greenwashing is transparency, which is a promise that we don’t take lightly.

Impact PMPs help brands amplify their social responsibility

A commitment to social responsibility, like environmental stewardship, requires direct action today to create the world we want to live in tomorrow. To that end, companies are more conscious than ever of integrating DEI into responsible media. While recent reports indicate that upfront commitments to diverse-owned media companies have slowed, at OpenX, we’re making it easier for our partners to continue to invest in underrepresented communities. 

In this case, we’ve partnered with Givsly to donate 5% of gross media spend to nonprofits of the buyer’s choice at zero cost to the buyer. These Impact PMPs allow advertisers to direct funds toward organizations that support minority publishers, women, LGBTQ groups, and underrepresented communities — all in an effort to foster real change. 
Over the past five years, Givsly has worked with hundreds of companies to increase campaign performance by incorporating a donation when people take certain actions with its creative, thus promoting audience engagement. In fact, Impact PMPs with these adjustments receive double the click-through rate, an 18% higher video completion rate, and a 9% increase in CTV engagement.

For our advertising partners, our partnership with Givsly is proof that driving campaign results and supporting important social causes need not be confined to an either/or proposition.

Data privacy initiatives should focus on building trust

With data protection laws and regulations evolving rapidly around the world, concerns around data ethics and privacy are taking center stage. At OpenX, we believe that transparency and industry collaboration are essential to building lasting solutions that both respect and protect consumer privacy. 

That’s why we’ve built industry-first auditing tools that enable real-time reviews of key components of our infrastructure, such as detailed analyses of consumer opt-out and consent signals in the bidstream. Our innovative approach to compliance is designed to help partners confirm not only the data they are sending us, but also what OpenX is doing with it. We want to show our work on data ethics so that our partners can feel confident that our processes align with their high standards.  

We also don’t want our partners to have to take our word on something as fundamental as consumer privacy. That’s why, in addition to maintaining our data-driven real-time tools, we conduct internal audits of our formal privacy initiative every year and engage an independent assessor to audit the program bi-annually. 

With the belief that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” these efforts are protecting consumers, improving transparency for partners, and building a safer online experience for everyone.

Across the business, OpenX is invested in delivering outcome-based solutions like the ones above. Using innovation to address relevant issues and turning them into tangible results for our partners is not only good business, it’s a way of building a future where everyone thrives. That’s a responsibility worth having.