SMX Conference: Highlights from Day 2

Oct 2 • Social Media, Sponsored Post • 2440 Views

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As the Search Marketing Expo 2014 goes into its second day, we at Splash Media are stoked to tell you all about what we’ve been learning so far! With some of the industry’s most influential movers and shakers sharing their insights with attendees, SMX 2014 is no doubt poised to become one of the most important social marketing expos of this year. Check out the sessions we’ve been privy to on day two of SMX 2014:


Ad Agencies & SEM

The way that search engine marketing is implemented in large traditional and digital advertising agencies can give marketers quite a bit of insight on the challenges and opportunities faced when dealing with large brands. In this panel discussion, moderated by Search Engine Land contributing editor Ginny Marvin, SEMs from well-known and respected ad agencies in the industry shared their insights into various aspects of SEM, from the value of paid search to the future of mobile as the glue holding marketing together. Here are other short takeaways from this Powerpoint-free discussion:

  • One of the most interesting aspects of today’s discussion was the revelation that, when it comes to large ad agencies, search is not used as an initial step for branding, but rather as a reactive tool and a way to drive ROI. It also helps to redirect a client’s view of their SEM audiences when they’re having a hard time understanding where their target audiences really are.
  • There’s an art to using data as a tool to tell a brand’s story, but that level of expertise will set your agency apart from the rest. There’s a huge value in understanding the power leveraged by properly conveyed data, and SEMs are in a great position to share those opportunities with clients in order to more effectively implement strategies on their behalf.
  • Along with data storytelling, paid media and paid social are here to stay, and they are growing by leaps and bounds. On the agency side, it’s important for SEMs to understand the value of making paid media an attractive endeavor for interns and college students. Opportunities exist for agencies to cut costs on training and recruitment when students learn about paid search. From a client-agency perspective, it’s important for agencies to ensure that their paid media budgets are flexible enough to achieve benchmark objectives.


What SEMs Should Be Doing With Mobile

For SEMs everywhere, there’s no question that mobile is here to stay. The implications of its presence in terms of marketing and SEO implementation are a little more complex:

What strategies can SEMs implement SEO to in order to ensure a seamless transition from conventional to mobile? How important is mobile to a company’s search marketing strategy? How can SEMs leverage the right results while increasing CTR with mobile audiences? Greg Sterling, founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, moderated this discussion, which touched on answers to these questions and more.

  • Enlightening statistics shed some light of the prominence of mobile in today’s marketing world. Some numbers: Did you know that 60% of time spent on search comes from mobile users? How about the fact that 52% of mobile is comprised of apps? Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that, in a multi-screen world, mobile is still king; for instance, 84% of multiscreen experiences involve a smartphone. And in 63% of cases where users have moved from one device to another, they reach their destination by searches rather than typing the URL into the browser. In short, mobile is a very important tool to reach audiences.
  • Other numbers pertaining to ad copy and mobile call strategy were shared, and they were eye-opening. Mobile devices will account for 50% of all paid search clicks, with the average CTR for mobile weighing in at 3.7%. Furthermore, 81% of all mobile conversions happen within 5 hours from initial search.
  • Ways for SEMs to use these numbers in their favor come down to using cohesive and responsive mobile design that utilizes dynamic content and mobile-based CTA strategies which include using less than 60 characters in mobile ad copy, with site links being no more than 12 characters long. Creating mobile-specific content that takes into consideration mobile audience trends (audiences remembering deals and offers before brands, for instance) are essential to the success of mobile SEM strategies.


Learn with Google: Ads, Keywords and Quality Score

Without question one of the most informative sessions of the day, this Learn with Google session focused on understanding Google’s algorithms and using them to leverage the right results for your SEM strategy. Specific attention was paid to the areas of ad creation, keyword choice and using quality scores as a diagnostic tool rather that a measure of performance.

  • When it comes to Google algorithms, the key is to create ads with a few things in mind — things like mobile optimization, high-volume click adgroups and maintaining one unique selling point per ad. Creating mobile-preferred ads in ad groups was suggested, and mobile calls to action were encouraged, as were mentions of mobile in the display URL and using ad extensions.
  • Building keywords lists are always a little tricky when it comes to SEM, but the key to remember is that a keyword list is based on how customers could reach you. For maximum efficacy, keyword phrases should be no more than four words long. In addition, keyword goals should be based on their role in the overall strategy. Negative keywords were addressed as well, as the speakers pointed out that, when adding negative keywords as a phrase or exact match, Google will not exclude variations of these words, an important point given recent AdWords changes related to PPC accounts.
  • In terms of quality scores, it’s essential to remember that they should only be used as a diagnostic tool. According to the speakers, ROI measurements such as cost per lead, sales, etc. should be used for performance feedback. And account-level quality scores? They don’t exist, so the rumors can finally be put to rest. The quality score takes into account query, device, time of day, user location and relevance to the user’s intentions. It does not consider the structure of your account, how you run your ads in other networks (including Google Partners) or how ads are placed on the page.


There is still more to come at SMX 2014. Keep up with our coverage and get informed on the latest trends by checking in with us at



This post is sponsored by Splash Media


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