Absolutely worth every dime. What I found most surprising is the size of this industry is still very small. I’d say about 30 percent represented an organization that wanted to learn more about digital marketing and 70 percent were representing an agency. I can honestly say I didn’t attend a bad session. I kept my attention in the advanced sessions where the presenters often spoke about real world case studies and findings. I had 3 great takeaways from SMX West and I have broken them down below:
1. SEO is alive and well. I was beginning to change my perception of the term SEO. We are proponents of using the word ‘search,’ essentially combining SEO and SEM. While there is very much a strong relationship between SEO and SEM, these are still separate practices. While many people are doing very well in non-branded and branded SEO, there are two very large opportunities that many businesses are missing out on.
a. The power of SEM as it relates to real life events, like weather, celebrities, sporting events or games. An example would be purchasing keywords like ‘score of Lions and Packers game’ for a company interested in getting in front of male viewers aged 18-24.
b. Leveraging big advertisers huge TV campaign budgets to purchase keywords about the product or industry they are building. This is also important for the actual companies spending on TV already and where the 1+1=3 comes into play. What a huge opportunity and it requires your organization to be on the constant lookout for new opportunities. The power of listening is extremely valuable today.
2. Visual communication is the future of the web. We are continuing to skim more content and faster, giving ourselves less time to decide if we are going to engage or not. By 2018, 84 percent of the communication done on the web will be visual. This means content must be more creative than just a blog or landing page. Infographics, charts, maps and digital stories with video and audio are becoming more crucial in converting a visitor into a customer. The story your brand tells is continuing to grow in importance. I know, you say that has always mattered, and it has, but not as much as it does today. Now, we have more options. Bottom line, web content is getting better and will allow us to learn and absorb information much faster.
3. Your brand can lead your industry by relying entirely on Google, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. I’m repeating, you can and should build a multimillion dollar business and only market yourself online. I knew this before I went to SMX, but it was confirmed multiple times. For example: There was a mattress company that has established themselves as the top searched branded keyword in their industry and it only took them about one year. How did they do it? They told a great story and leveraged it through the power of social media.
SMX is an absolute grind. The sessions go from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for three days with only two, 15 minute breaks and half an hour for lunch each day. When you throw in networking and a couple cocktails, you don’t have much time to get your actual business work done. However, this is the cost of a really good expo. I would suggest bringing a couple people from your office and split up the events to cover more ground. The perfect combination would be someone from management and a beginner. Both will learn a great deal and at the same time learn a lot that can be shared amongst each other. Thanks to everyone who attended, all the speakers, the sponsors and #SMX.
It was a great first day at SMX West. There are probably only around 1,500 people here, which really surprises me. It also excites me because it puts SSDM in a small group of agencies that are not only attending these, but are able to come back and implement. I attended “Thinking Outside the SEM Box” which had a lot of great case studies about unorthodox campaigns. Like KitKat purchasing football team names in Adwords to attempt to give scoring updates to their every challenging 18-24 male market.
A repeating theme of the day was how social and search need to be connected in strategy and execution. Looking at SEO and Social and PPC separately is not the way to go, we know this, but it’s nice to get the affirmation. Maggie Malek (@MagsMac) was really good. Speaking about the relationship between search and social, Maggie said, “We know everything is changing but everyone is acting like nothing is happening. Brand development happens through social and search.” There is so much education that has to continue to happen in the marketplace.
Bruce Clay is basically the Father of SEO, I’d say Perry Marshall is the Father of PPC. Bruce had a lot of swagger actually. He was kind and humble but didn’t want to take anyones shit. A true sign of a man that’s been around awhile, maybe a little cynical but certainly a master of his craft. The biggest takeaway was Bruce was saying how his agency has to reinvent themselves every 6 months to remain relevant. The ‘not set’ organic change was a big hit, but uses an API from Search Council that allows him to see the actual keywords being used to generate SEO traffic.
Bruce Clay Key Takeaways:
- Pop ups should show up with the follow: average time on site divided by 3.
- Disavowfiles.com – Keep adding websites. Accumulated report over all-time.
- Outbound links are valuable. – Think like bibliography.
- “We’ve increased page ranking by removing bad/old content.”
- “If you’d been using the same website for 8 years, give it up.”
- API from Search Council to see your organic search terms.
Dynamic ads and visual content are the future. 85% of communication will be visual by 2018. I’ll have more on this for my Day 2 recap, stay tuned!
Watch the recap here:
Join SS Digital Media as we meet to discuss the senior healthcare industry and how digital is impacting marketing. The event will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 at Google Ann Arbor headquarters. Cost is $25 and will include, refreshments and lunch.
Alongside representatives from Google NYC, Founder of SS Digital Media, Nick Skislak will discuss numerous aspects of digital marketing including:
- The continuous evolution of digital marketing
- How to track online success and failures
- Current and upcoming industry trends
- The best practices for increasing web traffic and conversion rates, and more!
You will even have the chance to tour Google Ann Arbor after the event concludes!
Join SS Digital Media and Google for a Lunch & Learn!
Interested in joining us for our senior healthcare industry event? We’d love to see you at Google! Fill out this form to register. If you have any questions, contact our Project Manager, Tessa Feeley at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 248-629-9594. Space is limited.
Happy new year! SS Digital Media is continuously growing and evolving as an organization to stay at the forefront of digital marketing and advertising. Check out what you can expect to see in the new year with these top digital trends and predictions for 2017.
1. Messages Catered To Specific Devices
The digital world has infiltrated all facets of daily activity. Even televisions are starting to incorporate interactive advertisements. Electronic devices allow for constant connection between advertisers and consumers.
Moving into 2017, this connection is going to continue to grow. In order to successful in this ever growing digital realm, it is important to cater messages to specific devices. For example, mobile web pages and advertisements should provide only the key information needed by a user while content for laptops and desktops can be more in depth.
2. Transition From Macro-Influencers to Micro-Influencers
User generated content on social media has continuously grown as a tool for advertising and marketing. Social media users with large fan bases have become an essential method for brands to get their messages heard. In the upcoming year, this type of marketing is shifting to focus on smaller, micro-influencers as opposed to their larger counterparts.
This is due to a change in trust by consumers. With this type of influencer branding becoming more popular, consumers are beginning to mistrust posts created by large social media accounts. Believing these messages to be insincere, followers are listening less and less to influencer’s opinions. Shifting toward smaller influencers will allow a brand to reach an influencer’s followers with the message still seeming genuine.
3. Survival of the Fittest Advertising
Google Adwords has been using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to connect user search queries with advertiser keywords for some time now. In 2017, these AI algorithms are going to evolve beyond just words to incorporate other creative components for real-time customer feedback. Google Adwords will rank content based on continuous consumer reactions. Considering factors include:
- Layout and copy
RELATED: Don’t Set It and Forget It: Google AdWords Management
These are just a few of the trends and predictions for the upcoming year. As with everything these days, digital marketing and advertising is continuously changing. All of us at SS Digital Media are excited to see how our field evolves and grows this upcoming year.
This session was so amazing. It demanded its own blog. Here’s our recap:
The New Era of Contextual Marketing
Mathew Sweezey, Author, Principal of Marketing Insights, Salesforce @msweezey
New technology killed the former king, and in today’s age we have seen this play out in our sale and marketing roles. The former king of revenue generation for any business is now only 20% of their former glory. In our modern world of limitless information, easy access, and instant feedback 80% of the buying cycle will be in the hands of marketers by 2020. Learning how to deal with the shifts from the 10/90 sales and marketing mix to the new 80/20 marketing and sales mix takes a new set of foundations, fresh approaches to selling, and deeper understanding of the new consumer.
In this session, we learned the new tenets of sales and marketing, the new roles we must fill and better practices for converting your department into the revenue machine of the future.
When thinking about where we are going, we must think about where we came from. There were only 5 media channels in the golden era, now there are over 200+ media channels. Marketing was originally founded on the following concepts:
- Breaking though was about hype, sex and flash
- Be top of mind
- Minimize waste
- Sell the feeling
- Convert, sell and sell
In our modern environment, top of mind doesn’t even exist anymore, humans have offloaded memory to devices. Our media is not longer limited. By 2020, connected devices outnumber humans 7 to 1. When thinking of context, you need to think of it in terms of is it available, personal, authentic and purposeful. Good context does the following:
- Context builds on itself.
- Context is to the moment, and changes by the moment.
- Only the most contextual message will be engaged with.
Things to consider:
- If your message is not available, you have no shot.
- We looked at 1 million visitor sessions across hundreds of sites, the average pageviews per session – 1.7, which means we must provide the user exactly what they’re searching for the moment they are searching for it.
When we speak about context needing to be authentic, it means more than just being genuine, it means helping people have the experience they believe they should be having.
Our now infinite media environment requires us to think and act fast, our model of research is now in batch mode. We find, save and then decide if we’ll read later. Our content must address the question the user is having, not just the answer.
In order to keep up with the new media environment, we must do stage based marketing and be purposeful. Purposeful is helping people fulfill the desire/reason they are there in the first place. Purpose is the moment. Purpose can be found by interviews. Ask 9 people via phone these few questions and you’ll get it. What were you for? Did it meet your expectations? Have you seen better? As a communication professional, you have to communicate with people.
Key moments to consider:
- They land on your site – What was the purpose of the landing?
- The average micro journey lasts 70 seconds across 4 websites.
In conclusion: We live in a totally new media environment, everything we were taught is no longer true. We are competing against infinite media. We are in a limitless world. Context is to the moments, moments matter more than ever.
Some fun facts:
- 51% of the time a CEO’s picks up their mobile device is because they are bored.
- Social media is the modern day smoke break.
Click the link below to see Mathew’s presentation:
New Era of Context – Digital Summit
After a great first day, we hit the ground running on so much great information. Here are the recaps from our morning sessions:
Snapchat for Business
By Carlos Gil, Head of Global Social Media, BMC Software
With more than 60% of smartphone users between the ages of 13-34 on Snapchat and over 8 billion daily video views, it’s safe to say that the platform is here to stay. If you haven’t jumped on board yet, we’ll get you up to speed on how to use Snapchat for your business.
Snapchat has become a big business, it’s a legitimate marketing channel. If you’re still thinking it might not be, just ask Gatorade. Gatorade spent $500,000 on a one day ad during the Super Bowl for animated lenses. They saw more engagements and impressions than the amount of people who watched the Super Bowl.
Demographics Rule – When it comes to choosing which social media channels are right for you, you should be where your customers are. And if your customers are between 18-35, Snapchat could be great for you. On that same topic, if your audiences are old, it might not be for you. Snapchat reaches 41% of millennials!
Why Snapchat matters?
- 200 million users and 10 billion video views daily
- Most active social network behind Facebook
- Brand adoption exceeding Twitter and LinkedIn
Understanding the Basics
- Mobile app for micro-content storytelling
- Photo and video is 1 to 10 seconds long
- Content posted disappears within 24 hours
Snapchat is Twitter meets Youtube
Creating Content as a brand, it must be:
Geofilters & Business: You don’t have to be on Snapchat with Geofilters as a business. This is a great tool for event marketing.
Converting and measurement
- Great for flash sales
- Make sure you implement Bitly URLs for proper tracking
The future of Snapchat:
- It’s definitely growing
- It’s working on better ad platforms
- Looking to go public in the next year
- Looking to sell more than a billion dollars in ad revenue
Using Intent Signals to Understand, Develop and Measure Audiences
By Mike Clarke, Head of Brand Measurement, Google
In this session, attendees will learn about some of the ways we can use search data to accomplish all of this.
Google emphasizes the meaning of moments, and how can you be there during these moments. Here is the breakout of these moments:
- I-Want-To-Know Moments = Two thirds of question-related searched “what, when, where, how, why, who” are happening on mobile.
- I-Want-To-Go Moments – 90% of searches for “what time does ____ open/close” are happening on mobile.
- I-Want-To-Do – Two thirds of “how-to” searches on YouTube are on mobile devices.
- I-Want-To-Buy – Mobile phones saw 115% year over year in shopping ads.
- I-Want-To-Watch-What-I’m-Into – The number of hours people spent watching videos on mobiles is up 100% year over year.
Intentions help unlock insights
- What types of insights can Google help you with?
- Zeitgeist – Culture
- Google Predict – Google searches are getting intimate and a lot of it is happening on a mobile device.
- Google Trends & Google Correlate – Search terms over time and in relation to one another.
- Google Consumer Surveys
Make sure you are testing out the free tools that Google offers to help increase performance and tracking.
Death to Boring B2B Marketing: How Design Thinking Drives Success
By Cliff Seal, Lead UX Engineer, Salesforce
- The issue
- The solution
- The plan of action
B2B Marketing is hard. Why?
- You’re selling to opaque audiences
- You get complacent or end up doing what works, or what everyone is saying what works.
“What is the biggest problem marketers face?”
“How to keep up with trends to drive higher quality leads.”
Keeping up with Twitter is not following the trends. Maybe you’re bored. Trends aren’t challenging. Vendor balancing isn’t interesting. Ridgid tools aren’t supportive.
#B2BProblems – Just own it
- Grow into its own creative potential
- Put data in its place
- Compete in relevancy not volume
Teach the business owner something new about their needs and challenges.
Design thinking lets the best ideas float to the top. Your ideas don’t necessarily mean your own, but helping facilitate good ideas. Think past the obvious and start asking the right questions is the first step.
Here’s how to start:
- Redefining goals – What is it that I am trying to enable my customer?
- Knowing and embracing your constraints – Frame your creativity by defining what the boundaries are.
- Identify the contexts that can accept failure.
- Start talking to actual people to get insights.
Click the link below to see Cliff’s presentation:
Death to Boring B2B Marketing: How Applying Design Thinking Drives Success
As the morning comes to a close we are extremely excited for the last half of the day, and definitely ready for some lunch!