Jerry Mpufane, 2019 IAB Bookmark Awards jury president, says, "We are thrilled with the list of finalists. Each one sets a precedent for excellent work in their category and represents the exciting, diverse range of talent in the South African digital industry."

The awards aim to honour students, individuals, agencies, publishers and brands that have produced creative and innovative work that delivers on their set business objectives.

The final round of judging takes place on site in Johannesburg and Cape Town on Friday, 8 March and Saturday, 9 March and the winners will be announced at the 11th annual Bookmark Awards on Thursday, 28 March in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

Molefi Thulo, jury chair of the marketers panel, says, "I was struck by the depth of insights that went into creating some of the work. Also by how digital platforms are being used to create meaningful connections between brands and their consumers." 

The marketing panel received a record number of entries this year, with the final list trending in the following categories: Branded Content, Craft Excellence in Online Video Production, Social Media Campaigns and Social Media Innovation.

According to the IAB, Mobile features across the board, and specialists entries for Channel Innovation, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Paid Search Marketing is strong but Social and Video are the more dominant categories in the awards finalist list.

New publisher categories for the awards include but are not limited to Data Stories, Online News Videos and Social Media News Coverage Feature; however, in the finals, Craft News & Feature Writing and News Innovation dominate. The IAB says it is excited to see who wins the new Special Honours category: IAB Bookmark Awards Best Online Journalist.

Izak Minnaar, jury chair of the publishers panel, says, "Digital publishing is moving through a period in which the very integrity of the medium is being challenged. This year’s publishing entries reflect this landscape and provide innovative strategies to thriving in today’s digital world."

"It is exciting to see the wide mix of brands, agencies, publishers, consultancies and specialists in our finalist list this year and this excludes the Special Honours entries that are judged in round two," Minnaar adds.

"We attribute this to both the hard work across the industry to create and share their business case studies, as well as the diversity of our judging panels in 2019. The final round of judging will be hard work, but with strong results to set the bar for digital excellence that drives business results in South Africa and beyond," says Paula Hulley, IAB CEO.

Audrey Naidoo, head of digital marketing for Absa and a member of the builders panel, adds, "Digital businesses in South Africa are becoming adept at using technical excellence to create user experiences that drive results."

The awards will be held at The Forum in Bryanston on the evening of Thursday, 28 March in partnership with Vicinity-Media. Tickets for the awards ceremony can be purchased here.

You can also view the full list of finalists here.  

For more information, visit You can also follow the IAB South Africa on Facebook or on Twitter.