SAScon (Search, Analytics and Social Conference) took place for the sixth time this year at Manchester Metropolitan Business School. The venue was packed with digital marketers who enjoyed a broad variety of talks and presentations, with three parallel panels to choose from at any time.
Confluence of SEO and PPC
The common sentiment was that boundaries between different digital marketing disciplines will further erode and grow together. Recent changes in the way search engines reflect their understanding of what users want or may want at any given point in time change shape the way SEO and PPC interact. Advanced targeting illustrates this point really well: Larry Kim (@larrykim), Founder of Wordstream, shared his story about how he targeted 1,500 PPC influencers on Twitter to promote a post he published on a Friday afternoon. It got picked up by different media outlets over the weekend and generated 100,000+ visits to the blog.
Coupled with Knowledge Graph, Google is already in a position to answer a lot of questions directly on the SERP. Google Now may be the most prominent example of how Google makes it less and less important for users to actually visit other websites, providing on demand information in addition to specifically asked questions. As more and more traffic is moving to mobile, where screen real estate is notoriously limited, every additional line you can get is very valuable. The only way to go for marketers is to embrace and heavily use every new feature Google provides in order to increase this real estate. Some features might benefit businesses (Click-to-call options).
Overall, businesses should be worried that users are increasingly spending more time on Google and don’t need to visit their own websites anymore. Google’s announcement of a buy button for ads is another step in this direction. Google is challenging Amazon to become the marketplace of the future, limiting merchants to mere fulfilment providers as Ann Stanley (@AnnStanley) pointed out. This is bad news for merchants as Google will likely not share all customer details with merchants, imitating Amazon’s grip on customer data. Paired with Google Wallet, mobile will likely convert better in the future – but potentially at the price of businesses not owning the customer data in the long run.
It’s tricky to really predict what’s going to happen in the future. It seems clear though that marketing agencies will need to become more integrated and connect the different services users use. Going mobile will shift the attention towards social media platforms. It’s not to say that Desktop is dying, though. Media consumption switches from print based media to mobile, taking away from traditional media real estate. We will see marketing budgets following this lead in the future.
Overall SAScon was a huge success and we’ll certainly put it on the list for next year’s conferences to attend. Thanks to all the speakers and the organizers!