Celebrating Excellence in Digital Marketing and Advertising

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The editors of AdExchanger present the 2021 AdExchanger Awards, the only recognition program honoring the best of the best in programmatic.


    • Best Programmatic Consulting Or Advisory Firm

      Programmatic is confusing. This award recognizes firms that guide clients deftly through a complex landscape and help them determine how to best apply programmatic to achieve their business goals by, for example, better leveraging agency partnerships or taking programmatic in-house.

    • Best Programmatic-Capabilities By An Agency

      This award recognizes agencies who have mastered programmatic buying. The best agencies have demonstrated programmatic excellence through a deep understanding of identity, targeting, measurement and the vendor landscape. These agencies also take bespoke approaches to planning, optimizing and measuring programmatic campaigns and walled gardens to move the needle on clients' businesses.

    • Best Use Of Data By An Agency

      Data has always been the lifeblood of media investments, but with the rise of digital – and the growing importance of first-party data – having a data strategy is critical. Agencies nominated for this award show a deft ability to not only leverage data to improve clients' media investments, but to know which pieces of data can make media dollars work harder.

    • Best Use Of Technology By an Agency

      Agencies must have a deep understanding of platforms and how to best leverage them for their clients' specific needs. Agencies nominated for this award have either demonstrated exceptional understanding and ability to work with top platforms in the space or built technology in-house that solves for identity, buying, measurement and beyond.

    • Best Data-Driven TV Campaign

      This category recognizes nominees that have identified, targeted and purchased an audience on linear TV or over-the-top, including connected TV campaigns. Innovation in targeting, planning, interactivity or measurement are all considered.

    • Best Educational Tool Or Program

      Demand for digital skills is outpacing the supply of available talent. This category recognizes the solutions or processes that cultivate mastery of data-driven marketing, with proven results.

    • Best Overall Use Of Programmatic In A Marketing Campaign

      This category recognizes campaigns that applied programmatic concepts and techniques in unique ways, from their planning to execution, optimization, identity and measurement.

    • Best Programmatic Out-Of-Home Activation

      From digital signage to location data, out-of-home marketing offers new ways of customization and measurement. The Best Programmatic Out-Of-Home Activation will recognize a campaign or strategy that exemplifies the success and innovation in OOH marketing.

    • Innovation in Audio Advertising

      From podcasts to voice-activated devices, audio is rapidly becoming a crucial medium to engage with consumers. This award recognizes companies that have innovated their approach to audio, from buying to measurement to ad formats. Award is open to audio publishers and podcasters, marketers and audio ad tech companies. 

    • The AdExchanger Award: Overall Excellence In Programmatic Media

      This category draws from all award entries submitted and recognizes excellence in its service and contribution to stakeholders, such as marketers or consumers, and the industry at large. Entries will be judged on how clearly they align a product, service or campaign with proven results, innovation and creativity.  *This award may be entered individually or all winning entries from other categories will qualify for entry into this overall excellence award

    • Best Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative

      Hiring. Supply chain initiatives. Media planning. In both internal and external projects, companies are putting diversity, equity and inclusion principles at the forefront of their decision-making. This award recognizes companies who are putting resources behind creating an equitable workplace and world.

    • Leadership In Advertising

      This category recognizes digital advertising and marketing professionals who typify visionary leadership by effectively guiding their organization or business unit to meet business goals while advancing innovation and inspiring their teams.

    • Rising Star - Leadership Under 40

      This category recognizes emerging leaders in digital advertising and marketing, with a focus on mid-level professionals under 40 years of age who already have demonstrated a track record of achievement, exceptional growth and huge potential to disrupt the industry.

    • Best In-House Media Operation

      Call it "in-housing" or "hands on." This award category recognizes advertisers who have built media-buying and advertising capabilities in-house. Winning entries will excel in one or more of these areas: data strategy, technology integration, supply relationships, creativity, measurement and continuous improvement.

    • Best First-Party Data Strategy by a Marketer

      Some marketers have reams of data that needs organization, while others must undertake projects to start collecting data and tap into that data to better understand their customers and how to reach them online and offline. This award will recognize marketers who are making progress in their first-party data initiatives, judging both work that’s undertaken and the larger roadmap they’ve created for themselves.

    • Best Publisher First-Party Data Platform

      Data broadens how publishers can understand their audience. And it opens up new opportunities to monetize their readership and improve the experience for their readers. Publishers in this category are using their first-party data in order to do things like generate insights for clients, target campaigns or measure results. This award recognizes both progress and overall excellence in a publisher first-party data platform.

    • Best Use Of Technology By A Publisher

      Whether it’s a new integration or going deeper with an existing technology, leading publishers have found ways to make the tech work for them to boost results. This category recognizes publishers who have built, partnered or bought technology that is driving notable business success or audience growth.

    • Excellence In Mobile App Monetization

      From games to utility apps to mobile news publishers, the app market is jam-packed with creative talent – but it's the unsung heroes on the user acquisition and monetization teams that keep the lights on. This category honors the mobile app marketers who know how to keep a user base healthy, flourishing and profitable.  

    • Most Innovative Publisher

      The industry's most innovative publishers have set a high bar for their use of technology, data, platforms, internal organization and partnerships to position themselves for success. This category recognizes publishers who have found new and creative ways to reach and monetize their audiences.

    • Best Account Support by a Technology Company

      The human touch still matters, especially as technological complexity increases. The top platforms in this category help their customers resolve issues and succeed with outstanding personalized service.

    • Best Data Technology

      This award recognizes the leading companies that bring data to bear in programmatic media and beyond, from CDPs to DMPs to identity companies.

    • Best Demand-Side Technology

      This award recognizes outstanding demand-side technology companies that consistently meet the highest standards and show leadership and innovation in areas like identity, targeting, measurement, partnerships, client services and marketplace quality.

    • Best Early Stage Technology Company

      This award recognizes the best and most innovative of the new wave of technology firms. Applicants should have been founded less than three years ago.  

    • Best Measurement or Analytics Capability

      This award recognizes the best measurement and analytics that takes into account the evolving identity landscape as well as the need to deliver meaningful insights.

    • Best Publisher-Side Data Platform

      Data broadens how publishers can understand their audience. And it opens up new opportunities to monetize their readership and improve the experience for their readers. This category rewards tech that helps publishers make better decisions, gain insights from their readers or boost their revenue.

    • Best Video Technology For Media Suppliers

      This award recognizes innovative and powerful publisher-facing tech in the video space. The category encompasses a wide variety of technology capabilities, from targeting to measurement to yield management and ad delivery.

    • Best Seller-Focused Technology

      Through technology, publishers can solve many problems: understand their readers better, meet advertisers’ KPIs, drive subscriptions or increase their bottom line. This category recognizes vendors that excel in helping publishers build stronger and more sustainable businesses. 

    • Most Innovative TV Advertising Technology

      From streaming to linear to CTV, more data is being introduced into video buys. Measurement is evolving, the big screen is being infused with identity and cutting-edge companies are emerging to meet the growing appetite for advanced television advertising solutions.


  • Open to all brands, agencies, publishers, and technology providers.
  • International entries are welcome.
  • All entries must be related to programs/events/campaigns that started after July 1, 2020.
  • Entrants may submit as many campaigns as they wish.
  • Campaigns may be entered in multiple categories to increase chances of winning.
  • Companies can submit on behalf of others (e.g. their client) with the participant’s permission. For example, a vendor could submit for a campaign their client ran using their technology.

Entry Guidelines

Deadline & Cost

Regular Deadline:
August 27 at 11:59 PM ET

Entries received before midnight ET on August 27 are $350 each.

Late Deadline:
September 3 at 11:59 PM ET

Entries received after August 27 will incur an additional $145 late fee per entry.

Prepare Your Entry

Below is a list of the items you will need in order to complete your AdExchanger Awards entry:

  1. Primary entry contact.
  2. For agencies and suppliers, you'll need a client contact for entry verification.
  3. Brand logo as vector file.
  4. Start and end dates of campaign/project.
  5. Visuals: Videos are optional  (but judges love them.)
  6. Full summary of campaign's goals and any available results. (if applicable)
  7. If the entry wins an AdExchanger Award, what companies should be listed on the trophy?



New York City

Mark your calendars! This year’s gala is in-person October 25, 2021 at the Marriott Marquis New York.

Join us as the winners are named during the annual AdExchanger Awards Gala taking place during PROGRAMMATIC I/O NY 2021. We're raising a toast to all of the winning campaigns that took their work to new heights. Ain't no gala like an AdExchanger gala!

Interested in sponsorship opportunities?

Contact Jonathan Toback at jtoback@accessintel.com to position your company as a co-host of this commemorative affair in front of hundreds of leading brand marketers, agencies, and technology providers.


Should you have any questions about the categories, rules, or gala for the AdExchanger Awards, please contact:

Emily Rocca