#SAScon day two – A roundup of top takeaways

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  • June 13, 2013
Fi Dunphy

Fi Dunphy

Content and Social Strategist


SAScon 2013Branded3 sent me, a Social Media Strategist, and Tom Armenante, an SEO Strategist, to day two of SAScon2013. We both took some interesting points away – especially me, with regards to tracking and attribution of social media activity, so we thought we’d give you a summary of what we learned. Oh, and an extra special shout out to Jeff Coghlan and his company –  mobile, social, gaming and digital production, Matmi – his augmented reality and gamification talk really blew us away – and thoroughly entertained us!

Keynote Interview – Mike Little, co-founder of WordPress

    • The number of WordPress sites is approaching 67 million: Over 377 million people view more than 4.1 billion pages each month. Impressive!
    • Born by chance: WordPress was born when, in 2002, a group of bloggers were using B2 but the man who created it disappeared and became uncontactable. The security issues that arose spurred a member of the community to take the software and develop it, with the first release of WordPress emerging in 2003.
    • Success due to ease of use: Mike believes that WordPress became such a success because of its user-friendliness, the large, supportive, self-moderating international community that’s built up around it, and the fact that the open source GPL means that anyone can create services, plugins, themes etc.
    • Promotes freedom of speech: WordPress.com is effectively banned in countries with an oppressive government regime because it gives citizens easy access to a voice that can be heard globally.
    • Continuing improvements to mobile: While WordPress can be used on all of the major mobile operating systems quite easily, developers are working on improvements in this area.

Increasing Site Engagement

–          Lee Duddell (WhatUsersDo)

–          David Tutin (Expedia)

–          Rich Quick (Arnold Clark)

–          Darren Jamieson (EngageWeb)

Lee first shared his insights on best practice with regards to user-experience and user testing, after which formed a panel discussion with David, Rich, and Darren.

    • Retailers need to provide better mobile checkout experience: 67% of users begin their purchase experience on a smartphone and complete it on a desktop computer, simply because it’s harder to checkout and they often feel that they’re getting a limited view of available information on the mobile version of a website.
    • Returns policy = Conversions: Having a strong, appealing and visible returns proposition is vital.
    • Users hate carousels: Across all sectors, 32% find them annoying, while the majority of the remainder ignore them.
    • How to increase conversions: Follow five site visitors from initial search term to point of exit in order to discover why they aren’t completing goals.

Integrating search and social with the wider marketing mix

This was my favourite social media-orientated talk, as it covered the nitty gritty of social media – and talked of the importance of the integration of marketing efforts (e.g. print, social, search, TV, radio) – something we’re always emphasising with our own clients.

Andrew Warren-Payne (EConsultancy)

–          Jon Myers (Marin)

–          Judith Lewis (Beyond)

  • Econsultancy survey to be published 19 Jun – key points:
  • Majority of people still don’t know what Google Plus does;
  • 40% of companies consider social to be part of their search campaign;
  • Mobile devices are impacting heavily on consumer behaviour, and mobile PPC budgets therefore continue to rise.
  • Mobile is not the principal device people convert on: However, mobile conversions are increasing, which shows that people are willing if it’s made easy and trustworthy
  • Search is central to both online and offline marketing activity: 67% of all media spend results in an interaction with search at some stage.
  • Don’t look only at last-click attribution: You won’t know what helped towards conversions.
  • Don’t rely only on search to tell you what’s working to convert: You need to consider all earned media (e.g. social media activity) as a whole.
  • Planning is critical: Before integrating your marketing efforts, research, plan, execute, evaluate, rinse, repeat.
  • 40% of agencies say they use social as part of their search campaigns: Integration of marketing activity across all channels ithe key to success.
  • Smartphones are hard to measure for conversion rates: This is because people tend to browse on their phone and complete conversion on a desktop.
  • It’s only a matter of time for mobile: Not long before someone makes people convert on their phones in droves (e.g. Amazon) – time to start seriously considering the impact of mobile marketing on your business.

There are 3 layers of data technology:

  1. Analytics/tracking
  2. Attribution
  3. Optimisation of platforms


  • Analyse your social activity: Treat social activity as a data collection/analysis exercise at all times
  • Facebook impacts 15% of conversions: 70% of people who use Facebook access it through a mobile device
  • Track the following three things to discover your advertising value:
  1. Cost per Like
  2. How you’re managing to bring your customers from Facebook across to your site
  3. Attribution/conversion path when users get onto your site
  • Integration = Trustworthiness: Because it engages the brain and pushes the brand in front of customers, enforcing its omnipotence and klout.
Integration engages the whole brain
  • We want a campaign to follow users around the web:  And, ideally, offline too – the Dance Pony Dance campaign by phone network, Three, is a great example of this.
  • Don’t just look at last-click attribution: Everything works together to drive success.
  • Search is biggest influencer: 150 people were surveyed, and search came out in people’s minds as their top influencer.


Information Retrieval – Where next for Search? [Panel discussion]

–          Patrick Altoft (Branded3)

–          Bas Van Den Beld (State of Search)

–          Nick Garner (SearchWorks)


Nick: SEO is becoming more PR based in two ways:

  1. Webmasters and SEOs have to become better at being persuasive and building relationships.
  2. Google is using more PR-focused tactics (especially via Webmaster Tools) to invoke fear in webmasters to conform to their agenda. However, Bas Van Den Beld interjected reminding us that a good digital marketer will stick with a non-Google focused strategy, which will help them win in the long-run.


Patrick: Google has devalued 80% of links over the past 6 months: You should be building links that, in five years’ time, you’d be proud to show Matt Cutts.

Nick: Brand reputation and perception will influence consideration phases over next 5 years: The brands who foster positive perception will win out, and in 5 years’ time, Google will become better at ranking the best sites in accordance.

Bas: Perhaps there may not be a ‘best’ site, but instead a ‘right’ site: Google will become better at delivering the right site.

Effectiveness of bidding on long-tail keywords for paid search is decreasing: Google is pushing advertisers towards the more competitive head-of-tail keywords (which drive more revenue for Google).

Nick: There is no such thing as mobile SEO: Google is currently focusing heavily on improving search on mobile and tablet – at present, we have mobile optimised design, and then SEO. Bas agreed that you don’t need to do ‘mobile SEO’, but that you simply need to be relevant on a mobile or tablet device, just as you would on a desktop computer.

Multi-channel marketing

–          Damian Hanson (OneIota)

–          Darran Herbert (Latitude Group)

 Damian Hanson (OneIota)

Retailers need to have a good proposition for why customers should buy in-store: Even if retailers aren’t prepared to price-match online offers, it’s a good idea to offer in-store wifi, enabling customers to price check online, and then deliver a page highlighting an appealing proposition for why they should still buy from their store (e.g. returns policy, free next-day delivery to save them carrying their new purchase around town, extended warrantee etc. etc.).

Darran Herbert (Latitude Group)

ROI can be proven through attribution modelling:  According to a survey, 54% of marketers carry out attribution and, of that 54%, 89% said it had a positive impact. The main barriers to successful attribution are 1) disparate tools, 2) resource issues, and 3) internal politics that restricts data sharing.

 Attribute, analyse, hone: Understand the path to conversion, evaluate, and strategise – rinse, repeat.

 Understand what you need – there’s no one-size-fits-all tool out there, but the following are popular:

  • Google Analytics,
  • DoubleClick,
  • MediaPlex
  • Adobe SiteCatalyst
  • (TagMan and DC Storm are popular for tag management)

The future of Google Analytics is Universal Analytics: Currently co-existing alongside Google Analytics and still in beta, UA enables offline integration and will be able to track data from virtually any digital device (digital turnstiles, coffee machines, game consoles etc.).

 The future of Google Analytics is Universal Analytics

Keynote Talk: Let’s get Phygital – Jeff Coghlan, CEO of Matmi

Jeff’s talk was an inspiration and our favourite of the day (and of lots of other conferences, too). The message here, quite simply, was that augmented reality and gamification (a word Jeff hates) is about to get very real for marketing – and, naturally, it will really set the cool kids of retail apart from the fuddy-duddies in the next couple of years.

What is “phygital”?: It’s an incorporation of digital into the physical world.

The following is all down to the wide use of the smartphone (second-screen technology):

  • Games and computing are now part of the physical world
  • We are now thinking about touch instead of the mouse
  • The single-purpose computer is dead – we now think in terms of multipurpose devices (e.g. smartphones, Google Glass)

 Google Glass = privacy issues: GG can film anything, anywhere, which is a huge problem for the film industry and its face recognition functionality had to be removed from the product due to privacy issues.

Wireless is becoming ubiquitous: Smartphone use is growing fast and, therefore, mobile penetration is increasing exponentially.

Media is converging: e.g. Smart TV. Sony is good example of a brand embracing interconnectivity and multipurpose technology.

The technology is here to allow us to interact with our environment: Therefore marketers need to start reaching their consumers in the place and on the device of the customer’s choosing.

The High Street must adapt to survive: Digital has the potential to make it a fun and interesting  place to be again.

Some examples of phygital in action today:

  • Tesco (aka Homeplus) in South Korea: People waiting at subway stations are able to scan QRcodesitems from simulated store shelves while waiting for a subway train, and ordering it to be delivered to the home later:
  • Airport upgrades: A gaming competition located in an airport which offered the instant reward of an upgrade.
  • Alton Towers’ Smiler ride: This new ride was launched with this app, which aimed to raise awareness and increase brand exposure, drive footfall, and create social buzz. The Smiler, to entertain people whilst queuing: The Smiler Game helps build the excitement of going onto a ride. By way of extending into offline (physical-world) advertising, Matmi allowed The Sun Newspaper readers to see a 3D version if they scanned the picture in the double-page advert, as well as to incentivise repeat sale and reward those who queue for more than four hours.
  • Burberry: Store allows you to interact with their clothes and the brand to bring a digital experience into its flagship store:

Consumers need to be educated RE privacy: Coghlan stressed that he is vehemently against the use of people’s identities/personal information when it comes to application of augmented reality, and that consumers need to be educated on the issue of privacy (as has been proven by the recent GCHQ scandal).

Penguin 2: Experts Assessment [Panel]

–          Patrick Altoft (Branded3)

–          Paul Madden (LinkRisk)

–          Nick Garner (SearchWorks)

  • Penguin 1.0 was clearly a penalty: It was applied to entire websites if Google found an unnatural pattern of anchor-text links pointing to it.
  • Penguin 2.0 is not a straightforward penalty: There isn’t a great difference between the two updates – however, perhaps Penguin 2.0 will be seen over time as opposed to all at once, as was the case with Penguin 1.0.
  • Average reconsideration request number: it usually takes 3-5 attempts before Google will remove a site’s penalty.
  • Mass link devaluation since 22 November 2012: Google has devalued links by their millions.
  • The biggest challenge Penguin 2.0 poses: If a site’s rankings plummet, it’s not clear whether it’s due to link devaluation and you therefore need to build more, or because there are too many bad links and you need to remove them.
  • The solution: Collect more data and analyse, analyse, analyse.

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