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IAB SA Bookmark Awards keeps pace with the ever-changing digital industry

With only 10 days to go until the deadline for submissions to the IAB Bookmark Awards, digital marketers have one last chance to get their entries in and face off against the best in the industry. The awards continue to rise in prestige and have become the Academy Awards of the local industry – with one very particular difference. While so many other awards feature the same categories and subcategories every year, the Bookmarks have undergone an exciting revamp to reflect the dynamic nature of the digital space.

The Bookmarks has, in a mere eight years of existence, established itself as the country’s premier digital marketing awards and amongst the most coveted on the marketing landscape as a whole. This is in line with international trends, where digital marketing is increasing in importance at an exponential rate.

Because digital platforms open up infinite opportunities, the opportunity exists to create content that is fresh, vibrant, and free from a formulaic approach. The awards structure was therefore adapted to reflect a world were marketing is moving from conveying a message to creating an experience. Instead of a single expert on marketing, the digital industry requires the input of several experts in several sub-fields such as SEO, social media, content creation, and campaign design. A successful campaign is dependent on all these elements and the Bookmarks highlights the achievements of the best in each discipline.

“With the restructure, we wanted to achieve two goals,” says Fred Roed, Head of IAB SA’s Agency Council. “Firstly, we wanted a structure that promotes ease of use for our entrants. Secondly, we wanted an awards structure that provides those in need of a digital marketing solution with an instant snapshot of the best people in a particular field.

“The restructure is the result of taking the lessons learnt from this year’s event and engaging in extensive shareholder negotiations. The outcome is an increase in subcategories from 52 to 64, but a decrease in categories from 11 to eight. Given that this year attracted a record number of entries, which we expect to beat next year, it was important that the huge number of entrants could find their niche category with ease.

“The purpose of the awards is to recognise the stars of the industry, which is why we have added subcategories such as Best Digital Student and Best Digital Youngster, to unearth and acknowledge the industry’s next big things. As the rapid changes in technology impact directly on digital marketing, the Emerging Digital Technologies and Channels category was added to showcase the activities of the industry’s trailblazers.”

A look at the subcategories that drew the most entries to the 2015 Bookmarks provides a good indication of which prizes will attract the hottest competition for the 2016 awards. Social Media Campaigns garnered the most entries in this year’s Bookmarks with an impressive 75, and given the popularity of these campaigns, strong competition is once again expected.

Along with the increasing presence of social media advertising is the need for campaigns to support each other over multiple platforms. Therefore, the Integrated Multi-Platform campaign subcategory is another that is expected to be fiercely contested, as it was this year.

Other subcategories that will attract a host of top-class entries, if 2015 is anything to go by, are Search Marketing (now split into Organic Search Marketing and Paid Search Marketing), Microsites, and Branded Content.

The absolute final deadline for entries is Monday, 30 November 2015. Those who have not yet done so can submit their entries online.  The 2016 awards ceremony will take place on March 3 2016 from 7pm at the Turbine Hall in Newtown, Johannesburg.

A full list of the categories and subcategories can be found here.