Tips from SASCon 2015

Having been the lucky recipient of a free pass to SASCon 2015 (Search Analytics Social), I spent Thursday 11th and Friday 12th May at MMU in Manchester. Here are the key points from the sessions I attended.


The event kicked off with Aleyda Solis, her keynote speech was on the topic of How Small Businesses can win in competitive SEO Sectors. Her main tip was that small players are more lean and flexible than the big players, and can diversify quickly. So adopt new features first. Automated SEO doesn’t work, develop a framework and create efficiency.

Next up was Matt Lacey talking about Conversion Rate Optimisation. He had carried out some tests on pricing and discovered that a discounted annual price displayed as a monthly fee created the most signups. Dave Gowans of also discussed gathering feedback using tools like Qualaroo, price guarantees and benefit bars. Trent Yunus finished off the panel by discussing that good CRO involves not just data, but actual people, and that even something as simple as 5 user tests can be revealing.

Russell McAthy discussed Analytics and the challenge of multi-device attribution. In his opinion only Google, Facebook and Amazon do this well by having a login (unique identifier).

The second keynote speaker was Larry Kim discussing The State of PPC Marketing in 2015 and Beyond. He discussed remarketing for search and how it doubles CTR and increases quality score. Given that 5% of people’s time online is on search, and 95% on content, the display network is an often overlooked space and converts better than search for travel. The more times re-marketing ads appear the less the viewer is likely to click, but if they do click they are twice as likely to convert. Larry also discussed the rise of identity-based marketing, and email targeting coming soon to Adwords, and the role of mobile ads. Finally, he talked about the ‘unicorns’ of PPC, the 1% of advertisers who get 6x the average CTR, and new opportunities including Gmail Sponsored Ads, Youtube Ads and Content Re-marketing.

Next up was Paddy Moogan discussing The Future for Marketers – Creativity, Technology & Strategy. He highlighted the following trends:

1) Artificial intelligence is growing – filtering what we see and predicting language

2) Mobile isn’t really about mobile – it’s about context and what we do in our spare time

3) Content discovery is mobile first so design content for mobile first (see Vicke Cheung’s presentation from Brighton SEO:

Marketers need to adopt a paid AND organic content promotion strategy.



Paddy also predicted that designers would be more desirable than developers in a few years.

Google Sophie’s talk was on Mobile and Apps. To reiterate the mobile angle, she mentioned that 40% of Youtube views are on a mobile in the travel sector, which is now bigger than Twitter. Google are testing Play Store ads so now might be the time to develop an app, although 20% are only used once and 95% are abandoned within one month.

Larry Kim then presented about Mobile Hacks:

1)   Calls are worth 3x more than clicks to websites

2)   Call centre training – record phone calls and make sure there’s no voicemail (equivalent of a 404)

3)   Facebook and Twitter Ads – FB ads are essentially mobile ads and Twitter you pay per lead as it captures email

4)   Mobile Shopping Ads – provide a richer user experience

5)   Local Searchers are 18% more likely to purchase – and mobile clicks cost 30% less than desktop

Last of the day was Paul Frampton’s presentation on Moving From Serving Ads, To Serving People. Meaningful brands make people’s lives easier, people want to live better and more simple lives. Marketing needs to be more of a service. Amazon is the world’s most meaningful brand. Gartner predicts a business model change to improve customer experience.



The keynote speech to kick off Day 2 was delivered by Martin Macdonald:

“Rankings can’t exist without technical SEO, but are no good without marketing”

Many of the people involved in producing content don’t have the analysis/technical/stats skills. SEO is now involved in ALL channels. The T-shaped skill set needed to do SEO takes up the lion’s share of the marketing department.

“By creating a sprawling giant, Google have raised a generation of powerful marketers”

In the future SEO’s will become e-marketers.

Stacey McNaught then delivered Quality Content on Scale. She encouraged us to tell stories with data. Do audience and competitor research using credible data tools and sources, share and hopefully get press coverage.

The Search Marketing beyond Google panel told us that 2 hours is the average time spent on social media per day. Despite being ‘beyond Google’ the information about Google was perhaps the most relevant i.e. the new features coming soon such as aggregated reviews in the Shopping channel, special offers and shopping ads in Youtube, as well as the buy buttons coming soon to paid and organic search. Bing still has 10% of the market for ads, Amazon offer sponsored products, FAB have shop now buttons and dynamic retargeting. Also worth considering are Twitter, Instagram (coming soon) and Pinterest (coming soon).

Yossi Erdman from AO was the last keynote speaker, discussing Get a Better Idea of How to Use Social Media in a Fun Way and How to Measure it. He gave some examples of some of the fun promotions AO have done to gain their 1.6 million fans on Facebook including ‘how many ducks in a photo’ competition and how their call centre responds within 5 minutes to a social media post. They also incentivise their drivers to provide a good service by sending out feedback book by post for their families to read!

The penultimate session was delivered by Angelique Miller from Expedia and talked about the potential for the travel industry for a multi-screen strategy, and how 60% of purchases by UK travellers were made on a tablet and highest use is in the evening.

The final session on content marketing was presented by Jon Burkhardt and his ‘orange balls’ which we are allowed to throw at him! His top tip was newsjacking (he wrote a book on it) and that content needs to be BALLSY – balanced, actionable, likeable, long term, surprising or you-centric.

Share this post

Subscribe to my newsletter