Virtually every industry has its own version of the Academy Awards; an excuse to don extravagant evening wear, sip the finest champagne, and either bask in the success of your contemporaries or curse the names of those who shone brighter than you.
There’s The Shorty Awards, which recognizes excellence in editorial brevity on Twitter. You may have heard of the conversion rate optimization world’s answer to the Oscars, the Opties, an accolade only granted to the very best examples of optimization wizardry. And, of course, there’s the U.S. Search Awards, a celebration of the digital marketing world’s best search and PPC practitioners – an award that WordStream’s founder and CTO Larry Kim received last year in the “U.S. Search Personality” category.
Larry looking absolutely fabulous in his victory tiara.
With so many opportunities to shine, it’s easy for digital marketers to overlook chances to get their company’s name out there (and enjoy swank after-parties), or miss crucial awards application deadlines altogether. With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of marketing awards, complete with their respective deadlines and any additional entry criteria. We’ve also divided these awards into relevant subcategories to make it easier for you to find those that are most relevant to your business.
We have, however, omitted some awards from this list. Although events such as The Webby Awards and The Bloggies do have some relevant categories, these events are not primarily aimed at the digital marketer, entrepreneur, or small-business owner audiences, making them only tangentially relevant.
So, without any further ado, join me in raising a proverbial toast to the digital marketing world’s brightest minds, and get cracking on those applications!
General Business Awards
This category focuses on awards based on growth, work environment, and other miscellaneous criteria.
Business Journals – Various
The Business Journals network of publications is among the most-trusted editorial brands in the U.S. With specialized issues focused on many major cities, the Business Journals operate a number of awards ceremonies, including the Best Places to Work and Fast 50 (in both of which WordStream has either won or placed as a finalist, yay).
It’s a little impractical to list all the various awards run by the Business Journals in this post, but be sure to check your regional Business Journal site for deadlines for relevant awards.
Deadline(s): Year-round/varies by publication
Entry Fee(s): Varies; some free, others require entry fee
The Inc. 500 / 5000
Inc. magazine is essential reading for executives and entrepreneurs alike, and the publication’s Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 awards are among the most competitive and coveted in the U.S. Entrants are judged by comparative year-over-year growth, revenue, and other factors.
Entries for the 2016 award are now closed, but typically applications are due by late April or early May. It’s not too soon to start thinking about next year, so this is another one to keep a close eye on.
Deadline(s): 2016 awards closed, typically due in the spring
Entry Fee(s): A one-time nonrefundable application fee of $150 due at time of submission. This fee can be applied toward the $200 necessary to register for the Inc. 5000 Conference & Gala event.
Another staple that can usually be found on coffee tables throughout WordStream’s office, Entrepreneur magazine is a great publication focused on the business world’s most innovative minds and promising companies.
The magazine’s Entrepreneur360 award is unique in that it recognizes entrants based not only on revenue, but also culture, impact, leadership, and other criteria.
Deadline(s): June 17, 2016
Entry Fee(s): Free
Search Marketing Awards
The following awards focus primarily on the search industry, including PPC.
U.S. Search Awards
Arguably the best-known and most prestigious of the search industry’s shindigs, the U.S. Search Awards is held in conjunction with PubCon and supported by industry heavyweights including SEMPO.
One of the search industry’s most important events, the U.S. Search Awards is always one to watch, especially for the up-and-comers in the world of search.
Date/Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, NV, October 12, 2016
Deadline(s): July 22, 2016
Entry Fee(s): With the exception of the Young Search Professional and Search Personality awards, all entries are subject to a $125 administration fee (in addition to VAT, if applicable). Entries received after the July 22, 2016 deadline will be charged an administrative fee of $175 plus any applicable taxes.
Search Engine Land’s ‘The Landies’
While a relatively new award, Search Engine Land’s Landy Awards have already become very popular in the search community.
Search Engine Land’s Founding Editor Danny Sullivan speaking at The Landy Awards 2015
In addition to recognizing the very best in search (both paid and organic), the Landies also benefit good causes, with Search Engine Land pledging to donate a minimum of $5,000 to charitable organizations this year.
Date/Venue: SMX East, Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center, New York City, NY, September 27-29, 2016
Deadline(s): Early Bird entry deadline – June 15, 2016. Final entry deadline – June 30, 2016
Entry Fee(s): $250 application fee applied to all entries received by June 15, 2016. An additional late fee of $50 will be applied to entries received between June 16-30, 2016.
The European Search Awards
Although our audience is primarily North American, there’s simply too much great work being done in search by European companies that it was worth mentioning this prestigious award ceremony in this round-up.
Featuring the very best search practitioners from across all European Union member nations, the European Search Awards is an event to keep a close eye on to see what’s coming next in the rapidly changing world of search.
Deadline(s): 2016 entries now closed. Entries for next year’s competition likely to open in January 2017.
Entry Fee(s): 2017 awards fee information TBD at the time of writing. All 2016 entries, with the exception of the Young Search Professional and Search Personality awards, were subject to an administrative fee of €95 (approx. $108), in addition to a VAT charge of 20% for entries received from within the European Union. Late entries were charged an administrative fee of €125 plus 20% VAT.
Content Marketing Awards
Content and inbound marketing have been en vogue for some time now, which means there are plenty of opportunities for content folks to shine.
The Killer Content Awards
Put on by the folks at Business2Conversion, The Killer Content Awards celebrates content that exemplifies the very best in buyer-focused messaging and innovation in inbound campaigns.
Smaller operations as well as bigger businesses are eligible for nomination, and the awards ceremony itself is usually a pretty fancy affair.
Deadline(s): Nominations for the 2017 Killer Content Awards are now open.
Entry Fee(s): Free to enter
Content Marketing Awards
One of the most visible and prestigious awards shindigs for my content brethren, the Content Marketing Awards event is run by the Content Marketing Institute, the industry’s leading authority on content marketing and inbound best practices.
Anyone can enter, but previous winners have included major brands such as Autodesk, Cisco Systems, and Intel, so if you’re entering for next year’s awards, be sure to bring your A-game.
Deadline(s): Entries for 2016 awards now closed, expect to reopen for 2017 awards next spring.
Entry Fee(s): 2017 award fee information TBA. 2016 info:
- Early-bird entries for 2016 awards charged $195 entry fee
- Regular application fee of $225
- Late application fee of $275
- Application fee of $250 applied to entries in Agency of the Year nominations
Digiday Content Marketing Awards
Digiday’s Content Marketing Awards is one of the most hotly anticipated events on the content calendar. Featuring some of the industry’s most innovative content producers and brands, this show is the perfect place to show off your content chops and get the recognition you’ve worked so hard for.
Again, the awards’ prestige and visibility make for a pretty intense competition, but it’s an amazing brand awareness opportunity for the winners and finalists.
Deadline(s): 2016 awards entries now closed, typically reopens in Q1/early spring.
Entry Fee(s): 2017 entry fees TBA at the time of writing.
The Drum Content Awards
The Drum Content Awards are the event to be at if you’re a content professional in the U.K. As one of Britain’s largest marketing websites, finalists of The Drum’s Content Awards are among the very best in the business, making this event definitely one to keep a close eye on.
Deadline(s): Entry deadlines not yet announced, register here for more information.
Entry Fee(s): Entry fees TBA at the time of writing.
Social Media Awards
There’s some really cool stuff going on in the world of social right now, so keep an eye on the following social media awards ceremonies to see who’s making waves.
The Shorty Awards
We mentioned The Shorty Awards briefly a little earlier, but it’s one of the most exciting social media awards shows we’ve come across.
Although the ceremony’s name implies a focus on editorial brevity on Twitter, The Shorty Awards covers all major social media platforms, including Tumblr and Vine. There’s also an amazing number of categories, from consumer-facing entertainment websites to innovations in social good campaigns.
Deadline(s): 2016 awards now closed, registration for 2017 event expected to open early 2017. Register here for more information/updates.
Entry Fee(s): 2016 awards fees:
- Early registration fee of $399
- Regular registration fee of $499
- Late registration fee of $699
The Social Buzz Awards
Another event put on by our friends at The Drum, The Social Buzz Awards is one of the U.K.’s biggest social media awards events. Expect to see some true innovation from agencies and advertisers across Great Britain at this highly anticipated event.
Deadline(s): Entries/registration now open, event expected to take place in June.
Entry Fee(s): 2016 entries subject to a flat fee of £99 (approx. $142) plus VAT. Drum members entitled to a 10% discount off entry fees.
Corporate Social Media Awards
Let’s be honest – social media management for a B2B or corporate handle can be a lot tougher than it is for a sexy, well-known consumer-facing brand, but that doesn’t mean that some corporate social media folks aren’t using these platforms to full advantage. Incite Group’s Corporate Social Media Awards, as the name implies, celebrates the best of social media from the corporate and B2B worlds, making it a worthwhile event for agencies and larger businesses that are pushing the boundaries with social.
Deadline(s): Entries now closed, expected to reopen early Q2 2017.
Entry Fee(s): 2017 awards entry fee information TBA at the time of writing.