I recently had the pleasure of attending the Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference, which is a leading search & social marketing event, on Aug 18 in San Francisco. It was great to hear from the industry’s best! Personally, I checked out conference talks about Local Search, Mobile Marketing, Competitive Research, Twitter nation & Automation, and B2B Lead Generation Management/CRM Integration. I also had the opportunity to go down the expo floor and checked out vendors pushing the latest and the greatest they had to offer. I can’t possibly cover everything from SES, but I wanted to boil it down and bring you my personal highlights.
Autonomous Twitter personas maybe the future
Jeff Pulver, Tracy Falke and Paul Madden provided a wonderfully heated panel on Twitternation & Automation. Jeff highlighted that Twitter has empowered individuals to connect in ways that have incredible reach, impact, both globally and individually. His background and stories were inspiring. On automation, it was clear to many within the audience that automation and management systems were necessary to cost-effectively leverage channels like Twitter. Tracy did a fantastic job on explaining this well and brought attention to tools like SocialOomph to help in those efforts. B2B marketers, in particular, should take note of twitter and social media automation tools to conserve their precious time spent in social media efforts.
Finally, Paul showcased how a whole ecosystem of almost fully autonomous Twitter personas can be established and leveraged to create ongoing massive influence on Twitter. It was both eye opening and interesting to learn the impact that such automation could have with social media if just a dozen companies implemented automated ecosystems of thousands of Twitter personas. The impact can go beyond the Twittersphere but also how it can be manipulated to impact real-time results on search engines is something Twitter and Google will likely have to address in their algorithms and policies.
The Mobile Frontier is here
Sandeep Aggarwal, Cindy Krum and Michael Martin presented a panel on mobile marketing. Sandeep’s presentation made clear that mobile isn’t just an emerging market but a fundamental channel for online interaction. B2B business websites receive significant mobile exposure. Individuals in B2B are among the largest adopters of smartphones. Smartphones are frequently the primary method of accessing online content for individuals in B2B industries.
Mobile browsers don’t just impact the way visitors interact with media and content, it also impacts search engine optimization. Cindy commented that mobile SERPs (search engine result pages) are already showing differences from non-mobile SERPs. Inevitably search engines will be moving towards tailoring algorithms for mobile devices for mobile optimized sites. It’s important to start setting up SEO strategies to be prepared for that now.
It’s not all about the ‘i’ devices either; Michael was great to point out that Android is a growing player and is faster in growing market than the iPhone. This is particularly important for businesses who are considering jumping onto the ‘Apps’ craze and selecting which device platform to develop for. Regarding ‘Apps’, it was acknowledged that iOS is the big gorilla right now.
‘Pay per’ Advertising Expo
Online advertising management and automation systems seemed to be the big thing on the expo floor. Every other booth was for automated online advertising management which offered a one-stop shop for managing PPM campaigns on AdWords, MSN, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. Pricing for many of these systems are based on charging a percentage above each CPC run through their system, Google’s DoubleClick (whom Google acquired in 2007) is a solution that offers this pricing model. A similar breed of products was a competitive analysis system that allows users to dig into competitors online marketing efforts to see what/how they are doing in different channels. Mark Munroe, a panelist on the Competitive Research panel, recommended AdGooroo SEM Insight and Spy Fu as good candidates for doing a competitive analysis for paid advertising (e.g. Adwords).
The other big thing on the expo floor was the ad networks. I want to mention them because many of them were offering a cost per acquisition (CPA) model of pricing. Although these networks aren’t going to replace your AdWords, the CPA model makes them a fairly low-risk channel to add into a marketing mix, particularly if you are in e-commerce.
BJ Fogg’s keynote was about how technology allows us to create or change behavior. BJ was fantastic in illustrating the mechanics of how it needs to operate, and where it fails. It’s worth checking out to help frame your mentality towards online marketing as it’s fundamentally association with BJ’s topic.
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About Jim Wong
Jim is a digital veteran with over 10 years of experience driving digital strategy and leading multi-discipline teams for national & local brands in over 20 industries. His expertise is in leveraging digital marketing to market businesses smarter and better through a data focused, performance ROI driven approach.