In the worlds of marketing and advertising, industry awards are a great way to enhance your brand and receive validation for your agency’s output. And let’s face it; who doesn’t like to receive plaudits for their work — especially from their peers?
But which awards are worth targeting? And how exactly can they help your agency grow? In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most prominent advertising agency awards taking place in 2022 and explain how your business can get involved.
Why Are Ad Agency Awards Important?
Before we dive into the awards themselves, you might still be wondering if targeting a trophy is the best use of your agency’s time and resources. After all, that nice shiny plaque might look great in your office, but is it going to help you improve your visibility and generate new leads?
The short answer is: yes. Industry awards are not just recognition of a job well done — they serve a whole host of useful purposes, such as:
- Validating your work. More than anything else, awards demonstrate that you are good at what you do. This doesn’t just make it easier for you to attract and convert new clients, but shows your existing clients that you are at the top of your game.
- Enhancing brand recognition. When you win (or are nominated for) an award, your digital agency gets additional media coverage. As well as generating positive publicity, this can be leveraged in your marketing materials and enhance your PR outreach.
- Acting as social proof. Social proof, such as testimonies and case studies, can help you build trust with prospective clients. External industry awards are a great way to do this.
There are other benefits too. Awards can improve morale within your company and help you attract higher-quality employees, for example. But in terms of growing your client base, the wider benefits go far beyond a simple trophy. Award programs are one of many effective resources for expanding your agency’s growth and can be a great pillar to lean on in your marketing arsenal.
Choosing a Suitable Award
Given these benefits, it’s important to take a strategic approach when choosing a suitable program; after all, you want to ensure that the award aligns with your agency’s specific marketing (or business) goals.
For example, if your agency recently delivered a successful social media campaign for a client, and your goal is to attract more social clients, then you may want to apply for a specialist award that carries weight in the social media community. Alternatively, if you are looking to build a client base in your region, you may wish to focus on awards that are more geographically localized (and so on).
The Best Advertising Agency Awards
With this in mind, hundreds of potentially suitable awards programs are available that your agency can target.
Within the broader advertising industry, though, a small range of influential award programs instantly elicit that “wow” factor — the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys, if you like, of the marketing world.
Here are some of the most prominent that are taking place in 2022 — including what you need to do to get nominated for them.
Administered by: The Drum, a media marketing platform and the self-proclaimed “third-biggest marketing website in the world.”
Who is it for? The Drum runs award programs across a wide variety of marketing niches and specialisms, including content, search, and social media (it’s worth taking a look at the full list to see which is the most suitable program for you). As an agency, the Agency Business Awards may be of particular interest, as they seek to recognize businesses that excel in terms of “effective management and excellent performance.”
Why should my agency enter? The Drum is a highly visible and well-respected media outlet within the marketing sector, and its awards are highly coveted. It’s taken seriously within industry circles too; the 2022 judging panel contains C-level experts from the likes of Coca-Cola, Spotify, and L’Oreal.
How do I get nominated? Submit your entry by following the instructions on The Drum Awards website. You will be notified by email if your entry has been nominated for your chosen award.
Deadlines for entry: Entry deadlines are staggered throughout the year depending on your chosen award program. The earliest of these are in February (Search, Online Media, Digital Advertising, and Design). Submissions for the Agency Business Awards, meanwhile, must be received by July 14.
Administered by: the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), an industry body formed in 1995 that manages multiple awards programs
Who is it for? With over 300 categories for marketing agencies, there’s certainly something for everyone. Those categories are split across the following key areas:
- Digital Media
- Print Media (and Print Creativity)
- Strategic Communications
- Audio / Video
- Pro Bono
Why should my agency enter? Since its inception in 2004, the MarCom Awards have evolved into one of the industry’s most respected programs, with around 6,500 global submissions each year. Entry fees are also considerably lower than many other programs on this list. Additionally, the full-time nature of the judging panel means a shorter wait to find out if you’ve been successful.
How do I get nominated? You can submit your entry by following the program’s online instructions. All entries are judged by AMCP panels in Dallas and Washington, D.C.
Deadlines for entry: Submissions for the 2022 awards open on August 1, with the final deadline for entries usually in late October.
Administered by: Digiday, a major industry media platform with a particular focus on the use — and disruptive impact — of technology in marketing
Who is it for? Digiday runs several awards programs, the most prominent of which is the Digiday Awards. They also have separate awards programs for:
- Media Buying and Planning
- Future Leaders
- Content Marketing
- Digital Media
Why should my agency enter? Digiday is an influential player in the marketing industry, and its awards programs carry significant weight. For instance, the 2022 edition of the Digiday Content Marketing Awards features judges from Cisco, Warner Media, and Forbes, while previous winners include Airbnb and Chipotle.
How do I get nominated? To enter, select the relevant awards program on the Digiday website and follow the instructions provided. Note that entry fees for Digiday’s programs are on the pricier end of the scale, with “last chance” submissions costing $699.
Deadlines for entry: The deadlines for Digiday’s specialist awards programs lie across January and February, so you’ll need to be quick if you want to make this year’s editions. The early deadline for the prestigious Digiday Awards is July 22 (although the “last chance” deadline allows for some leeway up to September 23).
4. Webby Awards
Administered by: the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), an influential media body. Its leadership body is composed of C-level executives from the likes of TikTok, VICE, and Disney, as well as senior marketing and media figures.
Who is it for? The Webby Awards cover a very broad spectrum of all things internet related, with eight categories overall. Of particular interest to agencies are:
- Ads, Media & PR
- Apps, Mobile & Voice
Why should my agency enter? The New York Times has described the Webby Awards as “the Internet’s highest honor,” which gives some indication to its standing. Each category offers two chances to win: the IADAS judging panel chooses the Webby Awards, while the public votes for the Webby People’s Choice Awards. The Webbys also have a Europe-centric sister program known as The Lovie Awards.
How do I get nominated? To apply, follow the instructions on the Webby Awards website. Entry fees vary depending on the category you are submitting for.
Deadlines for entry: The extended entry deadline for the 2022 edition is February 11.
Administered by: the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), a renowned industry body within the content marketing community
Who is it for? As the name suggests, these awards are tailored for agencies that specialize in providing content marketing services to clients. The 87 individual prize categories are divided across four areas:
Why should my agency enter? The Content Marketing Awards are a great way to showcase your agency, particularly in key categories such as Agency of the Year (<100 employees), Agency of the Year (+100 employees), and Project of the Year. Entry fees are also much lower, while the ceremony itself takes place at the Content Marketing World expo — a great place to promote and network your agency.
How do I get nominated? To enter, follow the instructions on the website.
Deadlines for entry: The deadline for the 2022 awards is still yet to be determined, but in previous years the cutoff has usually been late May. The winners will be announced on September 20.
6. AVA Awards
Administered by: the AMCP (which also administers the MarCom Awards)
Who is it for? The AVA Awards are aimed primarily at digital agencies, with hundreds of categories across a broad range of specialisms. These include:
- Digital marketing
- Web-based production
- Digital video creation
- Video production
- Audio production
- Pro bono
Why should my agency enter? The AVA program is one of the industry’s premier digital marketing agency awards. It aims to “honor the evolving ways and means that we engage our audiences.” As with the MarCom Awards, the entry fees are on the lower end of the pricing spectrum too.
How do I get nominated? To enter, follow the submission guidelines on the AVA Awards website. As the AMCP runs a full-time judging panel, you will find out within a matter of weeks if your entry has been successful or not.
Deadline for entry: The deadline for 2022 entries is January 20, so you’ll need to be quick!
Other 10 Notable Awards for Ad Agencies
As mentioned, dozens — if not hundreds — of reputable and influential awards programs are available to marketing agencies. Here is a brief overview of some of the other key industry ceremonies taking place in 2022:
- B2B Marketing Awards
- Davey Awards
- Hermes Creative Awards
- Killer Content Awards
- The WebAwards
- BIMA Awards (UK)
- D&AD Awards
- Digital Impact Awards (Europe and Asia)
- Performance Marketing Awards
Industry Awards: Worth the Effort?
Advertising industry awards are a great way not just to get recognition for your agency’s work, but to:
- Promote and showcase your brand
- Demonstrate your knowledge, creativity, and expertise
- Attract prospective clients and provide validation to existing ones
As a result, it’s worth taking the time and effort to seek out relevant awards, and the programs in this list are a great place to start.
Another great way to enhance your agency’s visibility and showcase your expertise is via Semrush’s Agency Growth Kit — itself the recipient of several digital marketing awards! Learn more about how it can help your agency generate high-quality leads, manage client relationships, and streamline your reporting processes.