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AOP Digital Publishing Awards 2021 – winners announced

The Association of Online Publishers (AOP) celebrated the digital publishing industry’s top talent in a combined virtual and in-person awards ceremony held yesterday.

AOP Digital Publishing Awards 2021 – winners announced
Richard Reeves: “Our awards acknowledge those who are truly dynamic trailblazers.”

AOP’s flagship event, organised in partnership with PubMatic, and hosted by comedian Maisie Adam, was a hybrid event with 57 finalists present at The Ham Yard Hotel in London and other attendees watching a live-streamed broadcast. The awards recognise the successes of individuals, publishers, advertisers, agencies, and suppliers who set the highest standard for digital publishing excellence.

“We are thrilled to bring so many success stories to light despite what has been an exceptionally challenging year,” commented Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP. “The media landscape continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, but it is vital we take the time to recognise how hard the publishing industry continues to work. Our awards acknowledge those who are truly dynamic trailblazers, have inspired positive change, and raised the benchmark for creativity across the digital media space.”

The awards saw Caroline Wilson from the Herald win The Local Hero Award, sponsored by Google News Initiative, Alastair McLellan from Health Service Journal win Editor of The Year, while Project Body Love won Best Publisher-led Social Good Initiative.

The winners of the AOP Digital Publishing Awards 2021, along with judges’ comments:

Individual Excellence Awards

EDITOR OF THE YEAR

Alastair McLellan, Health Service Journal, Wilmington Healthcare

Alastair had broken down boundaries to drive change, putting 13 years of experience to great use and demonstrating exemplary knowledge, all backed with impressive testimonials.

Highly commended: Lily Barclay, bbcgoodfood.com, Immediate Media

In Lily’s first editorship she has shown great spirit and understanding of community, together with great thought leadership.

JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR

Jennifer Savin, Cosmopolitan UK, Hearst UK

Jennifer adapted really quickly to digital journalism, using data and tools to understand the audience, combined with personal experience to produce really engaging, campaigning content resulting in a change in the law.

Highly Commended: Matt Mace, edie, Faversham House

Matt managed impressively with a reduction in his team, and is an entrepreneurial journalist, experimenting with different formats to increase output and results.

RISING STAR

Sponsored by Lewis Silkin

Emily Robinson, The Independent

Emily has made a huge contribution to the business media in a short space of time, her creative thinking and proactive, results driven nature have delivered tangible results.

SALES PERSON OF THE YEAR

Molly Matthews, News UK

Molly delivered phenomenal results whilst still focussed on developing and nurturing her colleagues, and her entry was backed by outstanding testimonials.

THE LOCAL HERO AWARD

Sponsored by Google News Initiative

Caroline Wilson, The Herald

Caroline demonstrated attention around an important issue, resulting in clear impact that affected change.

Highly commended: Geraldine Scott, The Yorkshire Post

A well put together entry, Geraldine works across a variety of formats, and represents local community at a local level.

Team Excellence Awards

ADVERTISING OPERATIONS TEAM OF THE YEAR

Octave Operations Team powered by Bauer Media & News UK, Octave Audio

The judges were really impressed with this teams’ response to a challenging task in challenging times; building a new ad tech stack and data structure for a brand-new business is no easy thing.

The judges also wanted to praise the positive investment in the ad ops team, demonstrating recognition of the value of the team that run ad operations.

AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT TEAM OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by UKOM

The Sun, News UK

The Sun’s strategy to grow direct traffic was implemented well and not blown off course by the pandemic; this team also showed great collaboration and effective use of data and insights.

EDITORIAL TEAM OF THE YEAR: B2B

Health Service Journal, Wilmington Healthcare

This team took bold business decisions and showed empathy to their audience by dropping the paywall, and their entry was backed by impressive testimonials.

Highly Commended: Insurance Post, Infopro Digital Services

They had a clear editorial strategy that they delivered on and supported their audience with a new knowledge centre.

EDITORIAL TEAM OF THE YEAR: CONSUMER

Cosmopolitan UK, Hearst UK

This team showed great audience insights, talking to the audience in a clear distinctive voice. They were both proactive and reactive, constantly trying and testing new things and also demonstrated great writing for a huge volume of content.

Highly Commended: Digital Spy, Hearst UK

They showed clear thinking and changes in strategy and responded directly to audience insights.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT TEAM OF THE YEAR

The Telegraph Media Group Commercial Innovation Team

This team is trailblazing! They are picking the right partners and delivering not just for themselves but the benefit of the industry, creating a better media experience for the readers and advertisers.

SALES TEAM OF THE YEAR

Dezeen

When faced with significant adversity they pivoted the business and successfully created a new business model with the Virtual Design Festival that is now here to stay.

Publishing Excellence Awards

BEST CREATIVE SOLUTIONS LED / CONTENT MARKETING CAMPAIGN

Sponsored by Unruly

Dezeen & Samsung Out of the Box Competition, Dezeen

An impressively creative and innovative entry, exceeding the expectations of the client.

Highly Commended: Feeding Britain For MediaCom & Tesco, Mail Metro Media

This entry demonstrated the ability to pivot for the pandemic, they engaged the audience and captured the mood of the nation.

BEST DIGITAL PUBLISHING INNOVATION

Sponsored by Xandr

Dezeen

This company were honest about the challenges they faced, pivoted at speed, created a property that will have real value, and executed their strategy really well.

Highly Commended: Ozone Marketplace, The Ozone Project

This team demonstrated amazing results, building a product with real long term potential to solve an industry challenge.

BEST DIVERSIFICATION OF COMMERCIAL STRATEGY

Sponsored by Deloitte

The Independent

This entry demonstrated a clear strategy with clear results, across a breadth of successful opportunities.

BEST MEDIA TECHNOLOGY PARTNER

Sourcepoint

This company used an omnichannel approach to innovation, delivering a product that really addresses publisher’s needs.

BEST PUBLISHER-LED SOCIAL GOOD INITIATIVE OR CAMPAIGN

Project Body Love, Hearst UK

This initiative tackled an important issue and leveraged the community with great positive social impact.

BEST RESEARCH / INSIGHT PROJECT

The Changing Face of Gaming – Reach & Diversity In The Gaming Market, Red Ventures

This entry delivered really compelling audience insights that inspire action.

Highly Commended: ISBA / AOP / PwC Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study, PwC

Demonstrated a clear impact, with significant coverage, and has given people tangible numbers.

BEST USE OF AUDIO

Small Steps, Big Impact for Mindshare UK & Dove, Mail Metro Media

This entry exploited great commercial opportunities, with a clear use of audience insight to generate content that resonates.

BEST USE OF DATA

Sponsored by LiveRamp

The Independent

This entrant is constantly evolving, using data really effectively to evolve the brand in its business model.

BEST USE OF VIDEO

Sponsored by Unruly

VICE World News

This entrant demonstrated a clear strategy and the content created didn’t shy away from difficult subjects.

THE AOP EMPLOYER EXCELLENCE AWARD

Faversham House

This company demonstrates the value of partnerships and puts mental health first. It is delivering a legacy programme for its employees.

Grand Prix Awards

BEST ONLINE BRAND: B2B

Health Service Journal, Wilmington Healthcare

This company were pro-active and made a brave decision to take down their pay wall, whilst still maintaining a strong financial performance.

BEST ONLINE BRAND: CONSUMER

bbcgoodfood.com, Immediate Media

Despite a staggering 32 years in the business, this brand is still keeping things fresh, tackling anxiety and dealing with health issues.

SMALL DIGITAL PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by Google

Dezeen

They completely flipped their business, turning disaster into innovation. They created new products and brands that attracted big audiences and strong reviews, I bet they wish they’d done it sooner!

DIGITAL B2B PUBLISHING COMPANY OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by PubMatic

William Reed Business Media

DIGITAL CONSUMER PUBLISHING COMPANY OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by PubMatic

Immediate Media Co

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