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SES London 2014 Thursday Round Up: “2014 Adapt to Your Audience and Forget About Channels”

SES London Day 3 2014

It’s always a bit of a whirl wind, going to a conference. It’s all about trying to take in all the information from the speakers you watch, trying to remember the name of the person you just met, trying to drink your sixth cup of coffee without being sick! But you do, you can and, depnding on what coffee you’re drinking, you might. Well it was for me at SES London 2014.

Joining the Dots: Maximising Marketing Returns in a Socially Connected World

Nick Burcher, @nickburcher Head of Social Media, EMEA, MediaCom

SES London have excellent speakers who are at the top of their game. It all kicked off with a Keynote by Nick Butcher head of Social Media EMEA at Mediacom. He gave a rather sweeping overview of Social Media in 2014 and how we should forget about channels and think about audience. Some of the key points that I took note of were:

  • You have three basic areas of traffic, owned (on page), earned (links) and paid. All three need work and all three help you get up the ladder of visibility.
  • There are over 11,000 API’s you can plug into for data, so you’re never starting from a point of no knowledge.
  • There is content out there that you can build on, reuse and rehash to make new engaging content.

Nick  explained that nourishing relationships and understanding the nature of sharing is key to getting your content shared.

Content needs to be planned, it needs a top calendar and a detailed calendar and there’ll be events like the storms or the tube strike that you can take advantage of. There were some good examples of how brands have latched on to current events to gain exposure. Four minutes was the time quoted between an event happening and the first paid advertising appearing. Expect much more of this in 2014.

Ad Optimisation in Multi-Channel Digital Advertising

Jon Myers, @jondmyers SES Advisory Board; VP & Managing Director EMEA, Marin Software

Jon Myers gave an overview of the paid search world by looking at the impact of enhanced campaigns and how Google’s dominance means there are easier wins on other search engines? “Wait a second,” you may cry. “There are other search engines you know!” I hear you. Apparently you can get better CTR and CPC on Bing and Yahoo, so if you think you have maxed out your AdWords account then move onto the other search engines and see what’s available.

Other notable information that Jon was able to impart include:

  • UK smart phone penetration will hit 75% in 2014. So if you’re serving up ads, make sure they are mobile compliant and you have mobile landing pages. It sounds logical but the amount of companies who drop the ball is incredible on this point alone.
  • Find the true value of a customer. Strip out all the costs of acquiring a customer, all the costs of agencies and any other involved costs. You’ll have better data to make better informed choices of where to spend your budgets.
  • PLA adverts work. The CTR is excellent but the CPC went up by 53% when enhanced campaigns were introduced compared to 10% on text adverts.
  • Facebook has a billion users and they are working hard to get their share price up by showing they can turn the company in to a selling platform, oh joy!
  • The Ad’s you see in the main body of Facebook have a much higher CTR than the AD’s on the right hand side bar – like 44x the CTR of the side bar!
  • You need to make sure the creative is fresh on Facebook (it dies after a number of days) so every three or four days you need to refresh the creative.

Jon finished by giving an overview of where and how you can optimise your ad spend to be a smarter spender. The audience is the key, think about your audience and segment it by age, gender, and income as well as geographically. By serving the right ads at the right time to the right people you’ll protect your exposure to overspending your budgets. Embrace automation, pull in the weather feed and let the bids rise on your keywords when it’s raining (apparently more people search when it’s raining). Your audience are your keywords, it makes sense when you think about it right?

Sam Fenton-Elstone, Head of Media, iCrossing UK

Sam at Icrossing UK was up next with his own view of the world, which was refreshing to hear and see in action. Basically echoing what Jon had said that the audience is now in control of what they consume he said you need to think about them and the way they interact with types of media. Scrap your heads of department and organise your audience around a marketing team:

  • Audience Analysis
  • Audience Engagement
  • Brand Amplification
  • Audience Acquisition

Sam also spoke a lot about simplification – the idea that you need to keep sight of what you’re trying to achieve and not get bogged down in the detail. There was even a helpful slide of a helicopter and the phrase ‘helicopter view’ was used. It did actually make sense. Oh, and there was an acronym:





Everyone loves an acronym. Well, I do anyway. I think it helps to remind you that if your idea, content or advert is looking shoddy then you can run it through the R.E.A.L acronym and see if it stands up.

Sam also touched on the idea that we all should be tailoring our message to the audience, making sure that it’s relevant to new customers. For instance, by focusing on new customers, Sam was able to illustrate that you can achieve much better budget spends instead of always focusing on the high performance keywords that are expensive by definition.

After a quick gallon of coffee I was off to the next exciting installment which was all about email marketing. Let’s be honest, it’s the ugly duckling of digital marketing, but a powerful and cheap way to engage with your customers.

Email Marketing

Philip Storey@philipstorey Global Head of Strategic Services, Lyris

Philip Storey gave an informative and insightful overview of email marketing and how, when used effectively, it’s one of the best and most important marketing tools used today. Philip described it as the “consumer connector of everything”. Making sure you have a good email list with up to date information will allow you to tailor your emails to become highly accurate when homing missiles of marketing love (ah come on its Valentine’s Day!).

There were some basic stage outlines of email marketing:

  • Welcome programme
  • Basket abandonment
  • Product browse update
  • Category browse update
  • Registered, not purchased

Philip was also looking to embrace automation; the data is there to make informed choices of when to email people with the right content that is relevant to their tastes. One thing that came out of this was to make sure you email people with things that are in stock and the right size or gender! Most people open emails on a mobile device, just over the 50% mark, so we are all going to have to cater to their needs and make sure everything on our websites are mobile friendly.

Email has moved on and video emails are here, you have to make sure you limit the size, to no more than 30 seconds and not more than two, or the email will become an issue. MP4 is the format to choose, This information is coming from an expert people, so lets’ listen up! Philip also higlighted that sound should be optional on the videos, I’ve been on many a train when someone has opened something that automatically plays some totally inappropriate tune. Oh how I’ve tutted – such fun!

Another advance in emails was the location specific data. You can open your Asda email and it will have a map of where your nearest store is based on the current location of your device. Clever stuff. Other innovations were uses of countdown clocks for sales and offers. Simple things like current stock levels of a particular item can be pulled through to the email upon opening. The way these seemingly small enhancements can be used to help customers come through to a purchase can’t be underestimated as we are becoming more and more wedded to our devices.

Philip had some great examples of simple birthday emails that companies had sent to subscribers. One such email was from Manchester City highlightingd moments in the clubs history and the Birthday that the subscriber shared with Man City players. It had a subtle 2 for 1 offer on a tour of the ground. Targeted, relevant and timely content. That’s the way to do it in 2014.

I’ve not really given Philip the overview he deserves but needless to say, email is something that you should consider in your marketing mix and make sure you utilise the data that you already have to become a smarter marketer.

Kelvin Newman@kelvinnewman Managing Director, Brighton SEO

Kelvin also gave good insights into the power of email marketing, how he had built up his company with a hashtag and an email list. It shows that two of the simplest tools can be powerful in their scope and reach. Kelvin used a simple diagram to show that there is a sweet spot between you and your customer of when the two worlds of “what I want” and “what my customers want”.

Kelvin went on to explain his rules of email campaigns:

  • A real Person is better that a company email. People buy from people so personalise your message.
  • Surprise is good, use jokes and your personality to get your message across.
  • If it doesn’t work in plain text then it doesn’t work.
  • If your competitor could send the same email, then you have failed
  • Talk about benefits not features.

Kelvin built a massive following and is an engaging marketer, I get his emails, I should know. In summary if you run your campaign through his rules before you hit send you’ll be doing us all a favour.

Landing Page Optimisation: Test, Analyse, Execute

I love conversion rate optimisation. There, I said it. I love the way you can’t argue with the facts. It’s in black and white and this is why we are changing this page! I digress….

The last session of the day was an excellent double header by Stephen Pavlovich, CEO, Conversion Factory and Russell Sutton, Managing Director, Webexpectations and ConversionWorks. They tried to give views on the ways and means of assessing landing page optimisation but there were similarities in the way that both went through the assessment criteria for it. Here is a quick over view of some of their excellent insights.

It seems really obvious but both speakers highlighted that without a proper bench mark how can you rank success? Russell spoke fist and made a great analogy that his job is  dominated by wading through treacle. I hear you Russell. I hear you.

Russell had a concise list of points to consider before you wade in:

  • Fix the basics, 404’s, making sure mobile traffic has mobile pages to land on.
  • Define Success, when will you consider a page has succeeded in beating the incumbent? Define the metrics you’re going to measure.
  • Data Driven frame work, meaning you’re looking at certain pages and certain predefined metrics.

Want to find which pages to work on first? Look for pages with high bounce rates and low conversion rates, takes about two minutes to find them in Google Analytics. Once you have your pages, define what you’re looking to achieve and what you’re going to change. You can look at online surveys to help you define the particular aspects that are holding you up as well as user surveys, if you have a large number of users.

‘Avoid Complexity’ Make sure you keep the test clear and identify the problem areas, is there too much choice on the page? Too little copy? It was fascinating to see an example of a charity leaving an input field empty, with no indication of what data was needed to make a donation? Bank details? Email address? Phone number? By simply making it clear to users what they wanted entered they improved the donations via the page by a huge percentage.

Russell went on to explain how we should all be looking at dividing our testing by different channels as traffic from PPC will react differently to organic and affiliate traffic. It’s an interesting insight into the way searchers are in different frames of minds as they search and depending where they have come from will effect what they want from a landing page. We as marketers need to be clear about the metrics we choose as indicators of success, (or get in the experts like Russell and Stephen). Bounce rate can also look at visit duration and page depth, as conversion rate can also follow on to look at average order value and repeat visit metrics.

Russell’s parting shot was to be constantly testing, we should be aiming to run two tests a month to keep our websites competitive and optimised correctly. Push through that treacle!

Stephen was up next, with another insightful look at different aspects when embarking on conversion rate optimisation. Stephen started by explain why you need to segment your data into the different silos, like returning visitors, mobile visitors and so on. It’s imperative that you also identify the problem before you start testing for solutions, without knowing the why, you’ll never get to the solution. Qualaroo and some handy scripts on Google Drive can give you the insights that you’ll need to set up properly targeted tests.

Once you have your questions set up you can email everyone who has brought from you in the past and ask them for feedback. There are also dedicated websites with people ready to test your website. Stephen mentioned which looks very cool. (NB: I have also used Mechanical Turk in the past to ask a series of users to test websites. It’s hard to set up but when done right you can get some great data.)

Once you have the insights into why your rubbish website is annoying so many people you can looking into ways of fixing the issues. Stephen went through his nine principles of optimisation. I’m not going to go through them all in detail, as I think he’s the man to talk to about his principles thank you very much! However, I’ll give my overview of what I took away and found inspiring.

The main things that I think we all should know but sometimes overlook are things like:

  • Trust. Why should users trust you? Can you prove you’re trustworthy? Well, show your users trust signals
  • Low friction. I love this one. It make things as simple as possible for people to achieve. Think about form-filling and how many fields do you really need to get the information you need?
  • Action. Call to action needs to be clear as day and easy to achieve. Keep it simple people.

Stephen and Russell gave brilliant and insightful details into conversion rate optimisation and I could write about this all day, it’s something that we can all learn from and enact. Good work gents.


Well there it is, a little snapshot of SES on Thursday. The conference is being re-branded next year as Click Z, so keep your eyes and ears open. It’s definitely worth a visit.






















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One thought on “SES London 2014 Thursday Round Up: “2014 Adapt to Your Audience and Forget About Channels”

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