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2020 Look Back Header Collage

AdColony’s 2020 Year in Review

Posted Dec 15, 2020

2020 has been, generously, a year of differing expectations. What would have been a year with one of the biggest Olympics ever in Tokyo, massive movies set to raise the bar of both entertainment and art just to start, turned into a year that could be called “the year of delivery.” For AdColony though, it’s been a banner year of growth, innovation, and success. 

The Top Level

While you’ll have to wait until early 2021 for our parent Otello to report on overall financials for the year, we can say that this year has continued our transformation from a company with proprietary formats to one with one of the widest programmatic demand marketplaces in mobile, combining our brilliant creative strategies and executions with open and transparent campaign and monetization tools and offerings. 

AdColony resisted the headwinds of the global pandemic and our core strength of mobile gaming has pushed us to outstanding results across the year. Additionally, we made some key leadership promotions this September:

  • Jude O’Connor was promoted to Chief Revenue Officer
  • Camila Franklin was promoted to Chief Operations Officer
  • Tabitha Britt was promoted to Chief Human Resources Officer

We also doubled down on our investment in data science and machine learning to help drive results for advertisers and publishers alike, opening our brand new AI hub in Warsaw, Poland in April, led by Pawel Pawlak as the Director of User Acquisition (UA) Intelligence and Pawel Godula as the Director of Data Science. 

Of course, we also led the way on adopting Apple’s guidelines and recommendations for protecting user privacy in iOS 14, including multiple webinars with over 200 attendees each! While we’re still waiting for Apple to flip the switch on enforcement of the frameworks, developers and advertisers have full support for both AppTrackingTransparency and SKAdNetwork from AdColony should they choose to use them. 


This year AdColony also knocked it out of the park on research like never before and was our most productive year for research ever. We conducted deep research across 13 distinct topics this year, many of them with several global iterations. While most were consumer-focused, we also surveyed industry professionals to create two comprehensive studies on mobile publishing and monetization and app install marketing

We also released the single largest and most comprehensive study of North American mobile gamers ever, from any source. Partnering with DISQO for data reliability and independence, the Modern Mobile Gamer report was analyzed and sliced a number of ways to give everyone a little more insight into who is playing mobile games — basically everyone! 

We also tracked and reported on the changes in consumer behavior around COVID-19 closely throughout the year. Seeing mobile game downloads and engagement increase week by week was both insightful for us, and helpful for media planners and buyers across the world in choosing where to put their money for maximum impact in “the new normal.” 

Not The Year We Thought

It’s tough to look back across the year and not frame things through the lens of COVID-19.  The global pandemic changed the manner consumers interact with their phones, their technology, and each other. But the shift to worldwide lockdowns and extended work from home policies (including ours) were extended again and again. 

Spending on consumer goods grew 7.2% from January to September in the US, and globally the picture was very similar. While we simultaneously saw a 6.1% decline in consumer spending on services (e.g., hotels, restaurants, movie theaters), everyone the world over was buying more stuff and fewer experiences. Obviously.

Online behavior and mobile app use saw a similar shift.

Digital travel bookers went down by 16.2 million users, and the sharing economy by twice that – but Health & Fitness app users saw a comparable (15.1M) move in the other direction. Time spent in messaging apps, digital video and subscription OTT also increased, while search, display and TV advertising ad spend went down. 

As mobile gaming grew this year, we partnered with Anzu for a truly unique gaming offering across APAC and ANZ, with more to come next year. We also announced new innovations in ad formats advertisers can take advantage of, giving more creative options for campaigns across AdColony’s SDK and programmatic inventory. 


Speaking of creative, AdColony continued to push the envelope on awards at both the company and campaign level with 70 wins throughout the year, around the world! Our talented Creative team continued to deliver for our clients — and those are just the awards we won! Some of our best creative is so good we’re not even allowed to say we’re the ones that make it and every single advertiser that works with us can have a bespoke ad made for their campaign by AdColony Creative.

Just a few of our award highlights for 2020 include:

  • Best Digital Ad Network by MarTech Breakthrough Awards
  • Enabling Technology Company of the Year by MMA Smarties APAC & Indonesia
  • Women leaders from AdColony were individually recognized for their achievements in the industry, including Camila Franklin, Sheeva Banton, Priyanka Bajaj, and Tabitha Britt
  • 62 award wins for campaigns from the NA, APAC, and EMEA regions from industry organizations like The Drum, MMA, and ExchangeWire
Onto 2021

There’s more in the pipe for next year! In-depth research on Millennials, the Olympics, health and healthcare, and all sorts of consumer habits is coming soon. Innovations in contextual and behavioral targeting and optimization and more are all coming to help advertisers and publishers get more value from the new mobile in-app ecosystem. We’ve got a slew of amazing campaigns ready for next year’s awards, too. And of course, we look forward to seeing everyone’s smiling faces at events next year, and continuing to drive results for our partners. 

We’ll see you in January.

Join the Conversation

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