Last week, my colleague Lisa Martino and I attended Search Engine Watch’s first Connect Conference. Honing in on paid search tracks, I found myself inundated with fascinating, high-level topics as well as the technical nitty gritty that helps search engine marketing professionals like me translate concepts to action (as well as totally geeking-out!). Below are the three reoccurring themes that stood out to me most over the two days.
top 3 paid search themes from #ConnectConference
1. indirect conversions are the new direct conversions
Larry Kim of Wordstream gave a tremendously energized and engaging presentation on the state of paid media, arguing that the future of PPC marketing has never been brighter, or more radically different, thanks to game-changing innovations in social media advertising, search and display remarketing and new ad formats—all released within the last 12 months. He proselytized on how social in particular is an excellent conversion catalyst and the next big thing for its ability to create new demand, create context and turn visitors into leads.
Kim also shared his secret to making sure all of your paid social efforts drive high engagement and deliver ROI. He calls this “Larry’s Organic & Paid Social Network Sharing/Posting Pyramid Scheme,” which essentially consists of:Testing out lots of content (organically) via Twitter
- Testing out lots of content (organically) via Twitter
- Posting those top performers to Facebook and LinkedIn
- Only paying to promote the overall top performers on Facebook and Twitter
He assures us this pyramid scheme is legal and profitable.
2. remarketing remarketing
Everywhere I went, remarketing was following me (see what I did there?). Also known as retargeting, remarketing has historically been defined as the placement of targeted ads in front of a defined audience that had previously visited your website. Each speaker offered many different use cases, outside of standard remarketing practices, and a lot of that conversation centered around social. Personally, I have been careful in how much remarketing I push for fear that too many people are “on to it.” However, the conference sessions made clear that people aren’t as turned off by reoccurring ads as we think—especially if they are good ads and relevant to the target. The data is straightforward: the more a consumer sees an ad, the more likely they are to convert.
The hottest topic within this hot topic: retargeting look-alike lists. This is the tactic of matching up cookies from your site with cookies that simply look like yours—consumers with similar demographics and browsing propensities. Tying Google’s Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), for example, to AdWords Customer Match enables us to leverage customer email databases when users are logged into Google, YouTube or Gmail and adjust things like ad copy and/ or bids to those customers. A well-segmented database is key here in determining the best tactics to monetize on the matched customer. An example tactic may be to increase bids and/ or show tailored ad copy to users who have purchased or have been identified as high-value to your business, as we know the propensity for current customers to repurchase is far greater than that of brand new customers.
As related to display, and according to Kim, custom audiences are the most powerful aspect of paid social. Facebook and Twitter both allow you to upload a list of emails and phone numbers to find more people with traits like them. Getting in front of people similar to your existing customers and subscribers with relevant messaging increases the likelihood they’ll be interested in what you have to offer.
3. SEO & PPC—better together
Stephanie Wallace, Director of SEO at Nebo, espoused the merits of marrying SEO and PPC. In theory, when used together as a team, they provide increased visibility in search results, including more “shelf space” and increased perceived authority. However, in practice, SEM professionals tend to focus on one or the other and, like ships passing in the night, the respective disciplines are treated as independent strategies. According to Wallace, the key to effectively using PPC lies in understanding how to test SEO tactics and apply the results. For example, if we use PPC ads to test our title tags and meta descriptions, we can expedite the process and get to a well-optimized site more effectively. Wallace gave many detailed tips and tactics that I’m sharing with my fellow smart pandas as we speak.
Congrats to Search Engine Watch for an impactful first #ConnectConference!
If you want to learn more SEO takeaways from the conference, check out Lisa’s post, “keeping up with SEO: smart panda tidbits from Search Engine Watch’s #ConnectConference.”