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28th Annual Webby Awards November 6, 2023

The Webby Awards 2023 Industry Index

An annual project by The Webby Awards, the 2023 Industry Index puts the best of the Internet into context.

The Webby Awards is the proving ground for the best creators, developers, makers and creatives on the Internet. Only the best have been honored on the Webby stage—the thinkers unafraid to take a medium that has transformed our world and mold it into something new. We began the Webby Industry Index to toast the top companies across the industries we celebrate, including Agencies, Networks, Global Brands, Tech Companies, Media Companies, Production Companies, Podcast Companies and Game Companies

In its fifth year, the 2023 Webby Awards Industry Index ranks and analyzes the top-performing companies across key industries from the 27th Annual Webby Awards to put the “Best of the Internet” into context. 

Methodology

Our list of key industries to analyze for each index was derived from entries in The Webby Awards. Our team looked at which industries over-index in our competition. We then found the five companies with the highest-performing work across each respective industry. Each company is ranked by the number of Webby Awards, People’s Voice Awards, nominations and honors their work received in last year’s competition. Webby Award and People’s Voice Award wins weigh heavier in our calculations.

Contents

Agencies
Global Networks
Global Brands
Media Companies
Production Companies
Podcast Companies
Game Companies
Tech Companies

 

The 2023 Webby Agency Index

In a period of flux, the advertising industry belongs to those who embed the future into their mood boards. As clients navigate socioeconomic changes, new regulations for platforms and evolving consumer expectations, top agencies are keeping up with the momentum of 2023 by adapting—and rebelling. 

The top five agencies of 2023 represent the most agile creatives that swivel, think out of the box or re-envision the box into something entirely different. BASIC/DEPT® led the competition with 19 Wins, 4 Nominations and 9 Honorees, making it the 2023 Webby Agency of the Year. R/GA made the index for the fourth consecutive year, snagging 7 wins. 

For the People: More agencies are crafting work through AR, Social, Video and more to increase accessibility to luxury and previously exclusive experiences. Projects are highly focused on both democratization and encouraging community among online audiences worldwide. 

  • R/GA’s Just A/Run and DEPT®‘s HYPEWEAR  are examples of work opening up access for audiences worldwide, from taking up running as a hobby to buying digitized fashion with zero crypto experience. 

Art Direction: In 2023, memorability is the name of the game. This season’s top agencies led the competition with well-crafted experiences that have intentionally designed art direction. Technically and creatively, visuals are developed well to reflect not only brand identity but ethos as well—with a focus on artistry. 

  • BASIC/DEPT®’s Crafted, McCann New York’s Touch Card and TBWA\Media Arts Lab’s Privacy on iPhone – Data Auction employ a playful, minimal, and chic visual feel, with multimedia elements. From small, sticker-like illustrations and photography that fits intuitively with the brand identity to artfully shot film and playful narratives.

The 2023 Webby Network Index

In a rapidly shifting industry, agencies have to be adept at adapting. Exceeding industry standards that are continuously shifting means being quick on your feet. To commemorate this rising standard for excellence on the Internet, we’ve ranked the top five agency networks and their teams that are staying ahead of the curve. 

The Top 5 Webby-honored Networks represent the most agile advertising and integrated marketing teams across the digital industry. DEPT® rose to the top as the 2023 Webby Network of the Year, for the second year in a row. Its network of creative teams snagged a record-breaking 32 Wins, 6 Nominations and 20 Honors—the most out of all other Networks in Webby history.

Deeper into Gamification: More Networks are expanding gaming into advertising and branded work. Experiences are gamified, animated and illustrated. HELLOMONDAY/DEPT®’s Fingerspelling is an interactive platform that teaches ASL by using a 3-D model of a hand that shows correct hand positioning to help learners from all backgrounds understand ASL easier. 

  • McDonald’s Getaway Island by TBWA\X is an immersive world that exists entirely within an app. And McCann’s Demand’s It Lies Within is a cinematic and interactive journey through ACER’s gaming brand. 

Short-Form Video and Moving Images: With the increased virality of video content across social, Networks are adapting their work to more audiovisual formats. 

  • Wieden+Kennedy’s The Myth is an artistically shot, narration-based project that artfully shines a light on the “model minority” myth. TBWA’s campaign Classify Consent is video-centric, utilizing clips from iconic movies to promote audiences develop a better, more accurate understanding of consent.  

 

The 2023 Webby Global Brands Index

In 2023, a brand has to create work that pushes beyond their product. Today, a brand’s digital identity is the first introduction to its mission—customers want to know the principles that shape companies they support. Customers also have new expectations for originality and authenticity. And to truly captivate audiences online, brands have to personalize their presence accurately to how their community thinks. Less about capturing leads, and more about creating meaningful work that builds on your brand story and provides value. 

The Top 5 Global Brands represent the best teams across products, retail, consumer goods and beyond. Netflix led the competition, with 4 Wins, 1 People’s Voice Award, 5 Nominees and 5 Honorees. Branded work on social media dominated the winning body of work, half of all winning projects being recognized for excellence in Social. 

Immersive Media: Mixed reality is the new reality, with brands creating work embedded in augmented and virtual media. The open-ended nature of VR and AR has paved a new and exciting space for brands to develop experiential work for customers. Immersive augmented retail experiences strengthen the connection between your brand, product, and audience. 

  • Verizon’s Shakespeare ReVersed (Green Eyed Monster) retold the classic “Othello” in an AR musical, allowing users to get familiar with their 5G tech while learning about gender-based income inequality. Burberry’s collaboration with Minecraft gave way to an interactive shopping experience at their flagship stores for fans of the celebrated videogame. 

Deeper Dives: Brands are drawing audiences in by breaking the fourth wall. From Netflix’s Roller Coaster Interview and Queue Social to Etsy’s Make With Me, companies are creating work to invite digital audiences into their orbit. 

The 2023 Webby Media Company Index

Streaming and short-form videos have skyrocketed to the top of audience viewing formats, and has shifted media—both how we consume and create it. When stories can be told in 3-minute vertical videos, and consumers expect media that is both on-demand and released frequently, media companies are thinking strategically about what it takes to engage viewers and listeners in their work. 

Across the Top 5 Media Companies in the 2023 Industry Index, MTV Entertainment Studios moved to the top spot from ranking third last year, with 11 Wins, 7 Nominees and 4 Honorees, making it the 2023 Webby Media Company of the Year. National Geographic and CNN made the index for the fourth year, and HBO for the third consecutive year. This year’s top Media Companies entertained millions worldwide with multimedia and multiplatform content: from podcasts, videos, social media, metaverse and websites. 

Informative and Illuminating: With socioeconomic shifts persisting through 2023, teams are focused on crafting work that sets the context for what’s happening in the world. Information is key, and power for audiences. With so much to make sense of, viewers are flocking to creators who break large concepts and issues down to their fundamentals. 

  • Vox’s Unexplainable became a staple source of truth for millions of listeners—from expanding on current events to expanding on things we might not have ever questioned before. Season 2 of CNN’s Tug of War articulated the complexities of what’s happening in Ukraine, presenting listeners with facts and analysis to help form their own understanding. 

Inspiration & Joy: Media teams also created projects that inspire audiences with delightful narratives to bring joy and laughter amidst difficult societal transitions. 

 

The 2023 Webby Production Company Index

The rise in short-form video has created a new standard for the production industry. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality have gained ground in the production world, with more studios developing projects that incorporate immersive content. The explosion of live streaming has transformed the cadence viewers expect from creators. With such major shifts in the video production industry, the Top 5 Production Companies showcase a talent not only in staying ahead of the curve, but in driving it forward, too.  

Media.Monks snagged the title 2023 Webby Production Company of the Year, with 4 Wins, 10 Nominees and 5 Honorees. m ss ng p eces made the index for the third year and Media.Monks for the fourth, with the work expanding out of video and into apps, websites and immersive tech. Agile Films and Tool tied, each closing out the competition with 1 Win, 1 Nominee and 1 Honoree. 

Immersive Worlds: Media.Monks led innovation in the production industry, crafting three immersive experiences with whole digital worlds within them, two of which are in the metaverse—the third all within a browser. 

  • Their project Adidas Ozworld takes to an immersive world to help young people find ways to express themselves using virtual avatars, and Gasoline Mary reframed a phrase that was used to carry harm to carry an empowering meaning. 
  • Tool’s work expands into mixed reality, as well. The colorful and bold in-store AR experience they built for Vans gave holiday shoppers a vibrant interactive winter catalog they can discover through their cameras.

Artistry: Art direction is a recurring theme, with Happy Place’s Brown Sugar Salmon and Agile Films’ FLOWERS both being developed with keen attention on craft: unique framing, vivid sound, interesting shot composition and more. 

  • m ss ng p eces’s Small In Show hilariously spotlighted the leading wellness brand for small animals and birds—Kaytee—in a skit filmed like a sitcom, featuring colorful typography and comedic narrative timed pefectly with each shot.

 

The 2023 Webby Podcast Company Index

The audio industry boom is not slowing. In the past few years, there’s been a massive surge in listenership, reaching over 460 million worldwide in 2023. As audio can be applied across various fields, the best podcasts that engage audiences most effectively hold unique narratives that listeners can’t find elsewhere. The future of the industry belongs to studios and creators who are developing work that has a distinct voice and message.

Across all Podcast work entered in the 27th Annual Webby Awards, Audible was the top-performing podcast company, walking away with 4 Wins, 3 Nominees and 8 Honorees—making it the 2023 Webby Podcast Company of the Year. For the second year, iHeartMedia made the index with 4 Wins, 11 Nominees and 1 Honoree.

Independent Studios: With large media and production companies peeling back their investments in audio, it’s given way for smaller, independent and more specialized podcast studios to bubble to the surface. Four of the top five companies are dedicated audio studios. 

  • In previous years, media companies and other brands with in-house podcast teams dominated the list. This rise in dedicated podcast studios signals the continued explosion and growth of the audio industry.  

Narrative Storytelling: Listeners are tuning into more narrative-driven and fiction podcasts that tell a distinct story—fiction and nonfiction. 

 

The 2023 Webby Game Company Index

Whether PC or console (or even mobile), gaming is quickly rising to the top of the media sector, estimated to be worth over $210 billion in the next three years. Twitch stars, the rise of cozy and casual games, plus film renditions of iconic projects like HBO’s “The Last of Us,” all have elevated gaming to the public sphere. Studios are keeping pace by imagining brand-new worlds through original projects or reiterating classics for a modern audience. 

The Top 5 Webby-honored Game Companies eclipsed the industry with original projects that broke new ground. Stray stands out in the competition, with Annapurna Interactive stealing the show with 2 Webby Wins, 3 People’s Voice Awards and 4 Nominations. 

Art Direction: Stray received critical acclaim from the industry and at the 27th Annual Webby Awards for showcasing excellence in game design, with intricate and elaborate designs in the landscape, characters and gameplay.

Emphasis on Creative: Sony Interactive Entertainment’s God of War Ragnarök and Activision’s honored project Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ll fall into this cohort of finely crafted projects that pay close attention to the visual identity of the gameplay.

  • fortyseven communications’ puzzle game Escape Academy and the fantastical adventure game A Plague Tale: Requiem by Focus Entertainment exemplify this excellent development of creative design and graphics in gaming to enhance the player’s journey.

The 2023 Webby Tech Company Index

In 2023, technology is more than just tech—it’s a medium for audiences to gain value in their lives. Authenticity has become the norm and tech companies are falling in line by creating work that builds off their brand ethos. In a digital-first world, a thoughtfully constructed brand connects customers with companies beyond their products. 

The Top 5 Tech Companies in the 2023 Webby Industry Index embody this demand for meaning, crafting thoughtful projects that engage audiences with intention. Apple rose to the top, closing out the competition with 10 Wins, 12 Nominations and 3 Honored projects. Work from all five companies ranged the full spectrum of digital tech: podcasts to the metaverse, video, social, publishing and more.

Creating Ease: Apps that come in handy and resources designed to help people live better dominate the list. Apple’s suite of tools, from Apple Fitness+ to Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, are resources that optimize daily living. 

  • Google’s Interview Warmup helps prepare for an interview without any of the confusion or uncertainties about your performance. Smartify teaches museum and gallery goers worldwide everything they need to know about the work they’re viewing. 

Stars at the Wheel: Zendaya, Selma Blair, the late Leslie Jordan and Björk are some of the leading celebrities Brands positioned at the front of their work—not only adding a celeb factor but expanding on the values fans appreciate them for through the narrative of the work. 

  • Squarespaces’ episodic web experience for Bjork’s latest album, “Fossora” walked fans through the ethos behind the album in an interface with a mood-board feel. It connects viewers with its product by immersing them deeper in Bjork’s artistry.
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