The Oil & Gas Sector’s Digital Advertising Strategy Aug 2021

Research by InfluenceMap shows that the oil and gas industry is using social media as a key avenue for advertising, posting thousands of social issues, election, and political ads every year which are designed to delay climate action.

InfluenceMap researchers found 25,147 ads from just 25 oil and gas sector organisations on Facebook’s US platforms in 2020, which have been viewed over 431 million times with an approximate cumulative spend of $9.5 million.

Out of the entities included in the research, the American Petroleum Institute and ExxonMobil were the largest users of paid ads on Facebook’s US platform in 2020 by a significant amount.

The industry, according to InfluenceMap, is using a range of messaging tactics that are more nuanced than statements of climate denial.

They include:

  • Tying the use of oil and gas to maintaining a high quality of life
  • Promoting fossil gas as green
  • Publicising the voluntary actions taken by the industry on climate change.

This messaging is misaligned to the science of climate change according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency’s analyses on reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

Furthermore, the research also shows that the industry is using social media strategically and deploying their advertisements at key political moments.

Based on the findings, InfluenceMap outlines the following recommendations:

  • Transparency: It is vital that big tech companies are transparent on how their platforms are being used to influence climate change conversations. This will allow for greater accountability for the platforms themselves and organisations that use them.
  • Evidence-based: The results of this research can be used in discussions regarding the impacts of fossil fuel advertising and how it is regulated to ensure alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • You can read the report in full here. Please contact caadcoalition@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like to connect to any of the authors of the report.