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#ZeroCarbonEmail: First meeting of a working group, a Wiki and need a logo!

This Thursday, July 4th, we had the 1st meeting of the working group entitled "technical specifications for campaign reports" (yes, I know, it's not very sexy said like that!).

If you have followed the previous episodeWe had defined 4 priority themes for the #ZeroCarbonEmail initiative, one of which was entitled "Designing specifications to add information on CO2 expenses in campaign reports "(now that sounds better, doesn't it?).

So, after some discussions on Slack, with people interested in this theme, we organized a first virtual (but vocal) meeting to structure this beautiful idea. Here is the (provisional) result of this debate. Thanks to the 9 participants, there were mainly agencies and routing solutions in the room.

Note: Although a lot of energy is being put into it, the ZeroCarbonEmail initiative is open to everyone. Badsender doesn't intend to take the lead and lead the work. The more we will be numerous and from various universes (agency, routers, advertisers, ...) the more we will have an important impact!

What to put as CO2" reports in our email marketing tools ?

To lead this discussion, we worked on a small mindmap of which here is the screen capture:

Before we dive in, a quick reminder of our objectives. The purpose of creating these reports or dashboards is to highlight the carbon impact of marketing campaignsand in this case, email marketing. The idea is to make campaign managers and users of these solutions aware thatthey have an impact on the CO2 emissions of their campaigns.

The different types of reports

After some dithering in the discussions, we have defined (but it may still evolve), three main types of reports:

  • Impact of the campaign It's about measuring the carbon impact of the campaign at the campaign level. An interesting point that was raised was to propose these indicators not only in the reports, but also at the time of the conception of the message in order to influence the campaign manager during the creative process, during the counting of the data, ... so that he makes virtuous choices.
  • Impact of the operation of the marketing platform (yes, I changed the title a bit): More on a dashboard mode, it's the global impact of the solution, whether it's on the data hosting or the marketing platform operation.
  • Global dashboard The idea is to have an overview of the evolution of the environmental impact of campaigns, to show trends, ...

In detail, our ideas

Attention, we have not yet proposed any calculation formula, any method, ... we have just tried to gather ideas on the different indicators that could be relevant.

Impact of the campaign

  • Score on the message : Clearly, this is the score on which there is the most enthusiasm! The idea is to design a tool resembling the principle of SpamAssassin, with a rating on various criteria that may or may not earn points. These criteria (not exhaustive) would be based on the code, the design of the message, the weight of the images, ...
  • Post campaign carbon footprint The purpose of this score is to indicate, after sending, the environmental weight of the email received by ISPs and webmails. Here, it is the targeting that is eventually the adjustment variable. The question of targeting inactive or not and better segmenting is therefore essential.
  • Carbon footprint generated by the shipment itself To send a campaign, the servers of the marketing solution must run, assemble code, generate DKIM signatures, dip into the database, open connections with the destination SMTP servers, collect behavioral information (openings, clicks, etc.), etc. This part of the balance sheet is intimately linked to the practices of the solution... and again largely to targeting.
  • Savings potential It's not really a score, but we could imagine a mechanism to automatically advise the campaign manager so that it is as respectful as possible. To be clarified.

Impact of the operation of the marketing platform

  • Data hosting : Here, we are in the presence of an indicator not directly linked to a campaign, but rather to the hosting of data in the broadest sense: contact points, personalization data, purchase history, product catalog, data necessary for the operation of the marketing platform, etc.
  • Functioning of the platform Here, we are in the presence of an indicator related to the computing power outside the campaign: synchros, API, ... (this is not my expertise and we did not dig too much, we will see later). But we could also have a vision on the overall carbon footprint of the company managing the marketing solution.

Global dashboard

  • Positioning in relation to other users of the platform Is my carbon expenditure average/median? Am I among the best or the worst? The idea is to help marketers position their practices in relation to other users of their marketing platform.
  • Monthly carbon expenditures (+variations) Is there a monthly variation? Am I getting better over time or is my situation getting worse?
  • Carbon saved based on marketing solution initiatives If the marketer has his role to play, if the ecological efficiency of Orange or Google data centers are not in our hands, the practices of marketing solutions can also play a big role (data center running on green energy, insulation of buildings, telecommuting policy, ...). As everyone has his share of responsibility, it is good to play on all the tables also in terms of numbers.

Next steps

The next step is to move forward on some of these indicators. It is likely that the "Score on Message" is the ideal candidate to have a first tool that is usable, replicable and not too dependent on other working groups (cuckoo for the working group on a reliable study on the carbon footprint of email).

There are still some important unknowns, which we will leave to others (for some)

As said above, we lack reliable figures on the number of grams of carbon that are spent by our little emails, in order to get our dashboards, we might need :

  • Carbon footprint of an email hosted by ISPs/Webmails after it is sent
  • Carbon footprint of an email sent by a marketing solution (power required to send)
  • Carbon footprint of data hosting in the marketing platform (customer/prospect profiles, behavioral data, ...
  • Carbon footprint of ... I don't know what else we might need!

Another point to be clarified is whether we play the card of the gram of carbon in the various indicators or whether we find a numerical indicator that is not directly related to carbon or if we take a "thing" of everyday life as hours of light bulbs lit, km traveled by car, ...

We published a wiki to document our work

... well, actually, at the publication of this article, our wiki is empty. Otherwise, it's over here : https://www.zerocarbon.email/

We count on you to help us fill it!

We need a logo

You don't have to bother too much, but a logo with the words ZeroCarbonEmail would be cool. If there's more than one, we'll hold a vote. Feel free to join us on Slack and give us your suggestions!

Join us in our Slack chat room

To request to join the Slack #zerocarbonemailIf you want to be added to our mailing list, feel free to fill out the form below, and we'll add you (you won't receive any email from Badsender when you sign up, we didn't even put an optin box). If the form doesn't display, disable your Adblocker 😉

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