When it comes to assessing who’s delivering the best performances in advertising and marketing technology, who better to ask than the clients who rely on these companies? That was the premise of our Readers’ Choice: Best of Tech Awards, which we launched last year and which you, our readers, enthusiastically embraced. This year, the action at the ballot box was just as vibrant: 50,000 votes were cast in the first round and 40,000 in the second. And the results? A few winners from last year held onto their crowns—including Hootsuite, Movable Ink and Sprinklr—but there are also more than a few “new” faces here, like Clara Labs, Criteo and, of course, Zoom. There’s also a notable tie: Google and Nielsen both notched the same number of votes in the Measurement and Analytics: Digital Video category. Will one of them reign supreme next year, or will a challenger take the title? Time will tell. For now, let’s take a moment to celebrate our 2020 honorees.
Category productivity: videoconference platform
Product/service software that facilitates video calling
Forward-thinking early positioning helped Zoom ride the Covid-19 wave into the vaunted club of companies whose brand names double as the widely used verb for the service they offer. The videoconferencing company’s stock price has nearly quadrupled since the beginning of the year, and it’s now worth well more than all of the country’s major airlines combined. The company owes at least part of its place in the quarantine economy to decisions made early in lockdown to make the platform cheaper and more accessible, gaining it a commanding share of the countless organizations suddenly in need of reliable streaming communication tools.
Company Clara Labs
Category productivity: AI virtual assistant
Product/service an AI-based software application that helps humans complete simple tasks like scheduling and note taking
Since its sale to recruiting platform TopFunnel last August, Clara Labs has been tailoring its innovative approach to automated meeting scheduling to the needs of harried hiring professionals and job seekers. The company’s virtual assistant uses machine learning to scan emails and pull out relevant dates and times, allowing users to quickly and easily lock down interviews and other meetings. The company has always prided itself in bringing a human touch to the artificial intelligence training process, an approach that has yielded an assistant that reads and writes conversationally and knows how to go the extra mile in calendar management.
Category productivity: project management software
Product/service software that helps teams manage schedules, timelines, projects and workloads
A sudden abundance of far-flung employees in need of remote coordination helped Atlassian grow its stock price by around half during the Covid-19 quarantine this year. The cloud-based project-management platform, which counts blue-chip companies such as General Electric, Verizon and Walmart among its clients, launched a free version of its core software and services and a remote work hub to better serve the influx of new enterprise customers. The efforts paid off: As of the end of April, the Australian firm had already grown its quarterly revenue by 33% year over year.
Category social/influencer, social intelligence
Product/service a platform for monitoring conversations and trends on social media channels
The customer-experience management platform partnered with TikTok in April, incentivizing brands to advertise on the video-creation app as its popularity spiked amid the pandemic. Using Sprinklr, brands can create and manage in-feed video ads on TikTok and monitor productivity with real-time reporting. The platform also allows brands to increase return on ad spend with features such as AI-powered optimization and Sprinklr Smart Rules, which automatically adjusts ad content to remain relevant based on social conversations and unforeseen events. Sprinklr, which turned 10 in 2019, had its last round of funding in 2016 and is valued at $1.8 billion.