Programmatic Lunch

People's Choice Spotlight: Ad or Martech Platform of the Year

Tim Maytom

Our Effective Mobile Marketing Awards celebrate the best and brightest that the industry has to offer, and as a part of that, we think it's important that the industry itself has a voice in who receives our coveted awards.

With that in mind, our People's Choice categories let the mobile marketing industry vote for a winner from our shortlist of deserving nominees. Voting has already begun, but this week, we'll be shining a spotlight on each of the different People's Choice categories to give you more information before you make your decision.

Once you're ready to vote, head to our survey to pick your winners before midnight UK time on Friday 29 September. The People's Choice winners will be announced alongside the rest of our Awards at our lavish ceremony on Thursday 16 November. You can book your place at this annual highlight here.

Ad or Martech Platform of the Year

AdColony – When Opera Mediaworks sold off its browser business in 2016, the Opera name went with it, and the remaining ad tech parts of the firm elected to trade under the name AdColony. Following the rebrand at the tail end of last year, the company has been acting with renewed energy and focus, entering into a strategic partnership with NinthDecimal for location intelligence, launching its new Aurora HD Video format for interactive and immersive mobile ads, and teaming with brands including UFC, Disney and Hyundai for innovative campaigns.

Celtra – Celtra saw a significant vote of confidence in its operations in the middle of the year when industry giant WPP and FMCG powerhouse Unilever both took minority stakes in the firm during a $15m (£11.3m) financing round. The digital ad platform’s AdCreator solution powers marketing for 3,500 brands and has been used to create 250,000 ads so far, with 2017 partners including Pepsi, Microsoft and Toyota. The company also worked alongside Google as part of the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, developing ads that provided consumers with a faster, smoother browsing experience.

Pollen VC – Pollen VC aims to help mobile developers finance their operations during their earliest days, providing early access to app store and advertising revenues to enable firms to scale quickly and efficiently without having to rely on equity funding. The company’s Financial Forecaster tool helps businesses predict their cash flow for the year ahead, and the firm also offers user acquisition support, cohort analysis and other marketing tools to help emerging businesses find their feet. This year, the company has refined its financial prediction tools to provide developers with even more insights and ensure its backing the right firms.

Rubicon Project – Programmatic marketplace Rubicon Project didn’t start the year in the best position, having cut a fifth of its workforce in November 2016 and with president Greg Raifman and six other executives departing in February. However, the company has achieved an impressive turn-around this year, appointing a new CEO in the form of Michael Barrett, acquiring nToggle to boost efficiency and transparency, and partnering with AppNexus for open-source header bidding solutions. With programmatic firmly embedded in the heart of mobile, this veteran firm is hoping its experience and knowledge will guide it to success.

S4M – French firm S4M is celebrating several significant achievements this year that have seen it strengthen its position in the industry. In February, the company acquired mobile-first DSP Netadge to enhance its programmatic offerings, and earlier this month it partnered with location specialists Factual to track ad engagement against real-world footfall. In between then, the company has also led the fight back against ad fraud, enabled campaigns for global brands like Subway, debuted cutting-edge mobile ad formats and expanded its presence in Europe, the US and Asia.

Snap – You can't really talk about this year without mentioning Snap. From its $33bn IPO at the beginning of the year to its move into exclusive video content with media partners like NBC, Time Warner and CNN, the firm has led the way in innovation and captured the attention of the millennial and youth audiences so valued by marketers and brands. The company is also beginning to mature its approach, partnering with numerous other adtech firms to ensure advertisers can accurately measure their reach and engagement, and moving towards a transparency that was lacking in its early days. With mobile-first campaigns for the likes of the BBC, the New York Times, Kellogg's and Royal Carribbean, Snap is unlikely to fade from the headlines any time soon.

Don't forget to cast your vote in all our People's Choice categories here before midnight UK time on Friday 29 September, and good luck to all our nominees.