From press releases and app store badges to corporate collaboration and sponsorships, mobile app awards can dramatically magnify your marketing ROI. We recently covered everything you need to know about how to apply and possibly win an award for your mobile app. The next step is knowing which awards to aim for.
Different Types of Awards Programs
Mobile app award programs come in all shapes and sizes, for different audiences, and with different intentions.
- Awards purely for marketing purposes recognizing many tech companies are poor at marketing.
- Award programs to highlight investment opportunities.
- Award programs to find solutions to problems.
- Some awards are hybrid programs similar to incubator and accelerator programs.
Some pay cash, while others offer partnering and resource opportunities that are arguably worth more.
Announcing the 2019 Mobile UX Awards
The 3rd Annual Mobile UX Awards has begun accepting submissions. Founder and CEO Alan Nowogrodski has led the MUX Awards to be a premiere mobile award event that attracts VP’s from Netflix, Amazon, Google and receives submissions from Microsoft, Warner Bros. and Mitsubishi last year. For more info, see the review below or check out their site!
Deadline for Submissions: December 6, 2019
Reinvently’s List of Mobile App Awards
We’ve assembled what we intend to be a growing list of mobile app awards programs that run fairly consistently. Details may change from year to year, so if you find some that pique your interest, make sure to do your own research to ensure a match. This covers the full range of different award programs available. Some mobile awards are virtual unknowns within the tech community.
Please note that all award program details, including frequency, number of categories and cost to enter, are subject to change without notice.
1) Name of Awards: SIIA CODiE Awards
- Founded: 1986.
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Over 75 categories, yearly.
- Cost to Enter: Members and non-profits: $545+; Non-members: $1095+
- Audience: Education and business tech.
- Value of Winning: See what they have to say.
Other Notes: In their own words, “The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to the leading companies that are setting the pace for the digital age.” If you are working with business and educational apps, the CODiE Awards should be very, very high on your considerations.
2) Name of Awards: The Edison Awards
- Founded: 2008
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Yearly with numerous categories.
- Cost to Enter: Around $1000
- Audience: Business and Business media.
- Value of Winning: Extensive details.
Other Notes: The Edison Awards has, quite likely, the largest judges panel of all with over 3,000 participating senior executives and academics. Heavy hitters like IBM, LG, 3M, but also many smaller businesses and startups have won, so don’t let size scare you, it’s an even playing field.
3) Name of Awards: Stevie Awards
- Founded: 2002
- Number of Awards: Several awards programs with multiple categories for mobile sites and apps.
- Cost to Enter: $570+
- Audience: Business apps.
- Value of Winning: See their list.
Other Notes: Sponsors of the Stevie Awards have included Dow Jones, Pitney Bowes, CareerBuilder, John Hancock Mutual Funds, Cigna, Inc and Forbes, for starters. The Stevie Awards is one of the most coveted business awards you can win. Not only can you get some exceptional PR, but it gives you a chance to get in front of executives who have their “eye for talent” always turned on.
4) Name of Awards: Barcelona Global Mobile Awards
- Founded: 1996 – Barcelona, Spain
- Number and Frequency of Awards: 9 Categories, Yearly.
- Cost to Enter: € 450 per entry by GSMA Members / Associate Members, € 500 per entry by Non-GSMA Members
- Audience: The mobile world.
- Value of Winning: Heavy, international mobile PR and recognition.
Other Notes: This is the Gold Standard of Mobile Awards. The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) represents “the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.” Typically, most anyone applying for this award is also making plans to attend their conference, and you will want to be physically present if you do win. This year the conference drew over 109,000 attendees from 198 countries, including over 7,900 CEOs and 3,600 Media representatives and industry analysts.
5) Name of Awards: TabbyAwards
- Founded: 2015
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Yearly recognizes the Top .0001-.0005% of apps and games – about 30 in 2018.
- Cost to Enter: None
- Audience: Best tablet-optimized apps and games.
- Value of Winning: Major PR
Other Notes: You don’t have to register with the Tabby Awards. If your app is “The best of the best of the best” – they’ll find you. While we’re on it, nearly every Mobile App Store has an awards program of their own – with winners selected based on their own criteria. This includes Apple’s App Store, Google Play, and many of the independent 3rd-party app stores. Before it became Bemobi, the Opera Mobile Store gave awards based on the number of downloads an app had in a given year.
6) Name of Awards: Webby Awards
- Founded: 1996
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Annually with multiple categories.
- Cost to Enter: Up to $870 per category.
- Audience: Everything Web Related.
- Value of Winning: Fame, notoriety and, of course, some heavy duty PR.
Other Notes: Presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, Two awards are offered for each category; one by the 2000+ judges on its panel, the other by the voting public. So, if you have a large social network, you increase your chances of winning considerably. It tries for the same glitz and glamor as the Academy, Emmy, and Grammy Awards – so if you win, it would look really bad if you fail to show decked out in some dandy duds.
- Founded: 2017
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Yearly, 19 categories.
- Cost to Enter: $499 per app / $149 for students and companies with fewer than 10 employees.
- Audience: Industry Professionals with a focus on the Mobile User Experience.
- Value of Winning: PR and good networking opportunities.
Other Notes: Last year, Alan Nowogrodski, founder of the Mobile UX Awards, noted, “The caliber of the awards continues to grow at an incredible pace. This year we partnered with amazing companies like InVision, added incredible judges including VPs from Netflix, Amazon, Google and received submissions from companies like Microsoft, Warner Bros and Mitsubishi.” Though relatively new, the MUX Awards is on track to be one of the most important mobile-specific awards programs available.
8) Name of Awards: Media Excellence Awards
- Founded: 2007
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Yearly with 30 categories.
- Cost to Enter: $400
- Audience: Mobile, digital and multiplatform technology, and entertainment.
- Value of Winning: Nice PR, but they don’t talk up the benefits much.
Other Notes: These awards are not only about mobile apps, but “it also celebrates the hard work, determination, perseverance, creativity, impact and brilliance in the leadership within the companies that helped create the new world in which we live in today.”
9) Name of Awards: The United Nation’s World Summit Awards
- Founded: 2003
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Yearly for 9 wide categories.
- Cost to Enter: Appears to be free.
- Audience: International Government and Civil Society
- Value of Winning: Partnerships and collaboration.
Other Notes: These awards are for projects, to include mobile apps, that contribute toward or advance the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mobile apps could fit in education, health, energy, jobs and likely other categories, too. Though this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, businesses with apps in these categories could benefit from the organizational, partnering and networking capabilities of which the United Nations is uniquely qualified to bring. It may be necessary to work with a designated agency in your country before applying to the WSA.
10) Name of Awards: MIT’s Solve
- Founded: 2015
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Quarterly with 4 categories.
- Cost to Enter: Appears to be free.
- Audience: Problem Solvers of the Global Community.
- Value of Winning: Partnerships, training and collaboration in a hybrid incubation program.
Other Notes: The gold standard of US technical education, MIT’s program is best described as a hybrid business incubator and business idea marketplace. It’s close enough to an Awards Program to make our list, as in some ways it’s better than a conventional award. Their challenges change from year to year, and mobile apps have been winners, like the MyBreath app we developed for BreathResearch, winning at the 2017 MIT Solve at the UN Conference designed to assist individuals with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
11) Name of Awards: SXSW (South by Southwest) Awards
- Founded: 1987
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Yearly with 13 categories.
- Cost to Enter: $175
- Audience: Arts, Media and Tech.
- Value of Winning: Good exposure, especially for apps focusing on Texas and the SW region of the USA.
Other Notes: The SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas draws over 70,000 attendees and 800 exhibitors, so it is a very large event, even if it’s not specific to mobile apps or tech. Austin itself is growing four times faster than Silicon Valley and largely owing to entrepreneurs (3rd largest startup density in the country). Texas itself comes in 5th for most startup tech funding. So, winning an award here could have a much greater payoff than one might suspect.
12) Name of Awards: Rise of the Rest (Revolution)
- Launched: 2014
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Not a conventional awards program.
- Cost to Enter: Free
- Audience: Investors
- Value of Winning: PR, Funding, Investment Opportunity, Hybrid Accelerator
Other Notes: Ever heard of Steve Case? He was the co-founder and CEO of AOL – the online service provider most Americans started off with when they had dial-up modems. Steve started Revolution, LLC, which backs the “Rise of the Rest” seed fund. It has has toured 33 cities since 2014. Jeff Bezos is also a major investor in the “Rise of the Rest” fund. What do they look for in a winning start-up? Size of the opportunity, scalability, and strength of the team are just a few key facets. Our client, Cameron John and the Nickson Team, won the Rise of the Rest competition to pick up $100,000, public relations support and additional benefits.
Silicon Valley has the best startup accelerators in the world – and most investment firms have someone watching them to get in on good opportunities early. Not everyone can go to live in San Francisco for 4 months. Local incubator/accelerators can be limited in terms of their connections and what they have to offer. It may take some extra effort, but it can be worth the effort to remain watchful for opportunities like “Rise of the Rest” as may be offered by other investment firms and corporations.
13) Name of Awards: Best Mobile App Awards
- Launched: 2012
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Seasonal and Yearly
- Audience: General apps and games
- Cost to Enter: $75+
- Value of Winning: PR and Interviews
Other Details: The Best Mobile App Awards appears like a “bare bones” type of show. You can have your friends vote for your app. The low cost of entry and odd award mechanics might be just enough to whet your appetite for more if you win. Competition appears low, so investigate – there’s a chance you could win simply for a lack of competing apps.
14) Name of Awards: Challenge.gov
- Launched: 2010
- Number and Frequency of Awards: Not technically an award…
- Cost to Enter: Free
- Audience: Crowdsourcing for Civic Entrepreneurs
- Value of Winning: Cash, connections and corporate sponsors.
Other Notes: So, this is not technically an award, but it does give you a chance to win the world’s largest customer and investor in R&D. It could be that you are working on an app that solves the same or similar problem as one of the 430 departments and agencies of the US government is trying to solve. Things like Expanding SIM Card Use for Public Safety with a top payout of $100,000… Nearly all of the largest businesses in the United States got that way by inventing things for the US government. It’s run over 1,000 challenges in its existence.
And wait… before we continue, I’m going to go on a rant. Almost everyone I talk to, Marketing Managers, CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and Smart People with Great Ideas that Don’t Do Anything With Them, all think that doing anything with the United States Government is really difficult, complex, and only works if you’re really big. It might have been that way, and trust me, I’ve had plenty of involvement with the US Government to know that today it is much more user friendly than ever before. If you think that “Q” in the James Bond movies is cool – you really need to check out the Federal Labs Consortium.
15) Name of Awards: The Shark Tank
- Launched: 2009
- Number of Awards: Weekly, Typically 4 Contestants
- Cost to Enter: Free
- Audience: TV and Investors
- Value of Winning: Investment Capital
Other Notes: I hesitate to include this as an awards program, but it provides another kind of opportunity to consider. Only about .2% of applicants (88 out of 40,000) ever make it to the TV screen. So, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere (here are some tips). If one of the investors hosting the show likes what you have to offer, they’ll negotiate a deal with you, or give you an offer that you can accept or reject. Doorbot appeared on the show and was rejected, but then other investors got in touch with the founders, and boom – Amazon buys it for a billion bucks five years later.
A Reminder – Reasons to Participate in Mobile App Awards
One study by the British Quality Foundation found that smaller companies winning awards experienced a 63% increase in operating income and a 39% increase in sales compared to companies that didn’t win. They also found that large companies saw a 48% and 37% increase respectively. That’s huge, these companies are picking up major clients and possibly investors because they’ve won a mobile app award.
- Introductions to investors.
- Market and industry connections.
- Feedback about your app from veteran industry professionals.
- Flat monetary rewards.
- Market exposure via press releases, articles and reviews.
Research what the awards have to offer, compare and prioritize them against their requirements and what you need. Press releases alone can run you $250 on the low-end to $1500 on the high-end. Most press-releases suck, they aren’t news-worthy. Winning an important award is news-worthy, so just about every mobile app award program could pay for itself many times over.
Please! If we didn’t include a mobile app awards program that you think deserves to be on our list, please let us know – we’ll be happy to add it.