Last quarter, I had the opportunity to attend HeroConf London at etc.venues, St Paul’s. Spending two full days in buzzing London city, I attended London’s only all-PPC conference and indeed one of the world’s largest PPC conferences.
Consisting of 40 speakers, 40 breakout sessions, 4 keynotes and a number of PPC industry related exhibitors, including Optmyzer, Whoop and more. What more could you ask for and how much more could you possibly squeeze in?
It’s a cert, my mind was blown after two days with some of best speakers in the business! From representatives of Google AdWords and Bing Ads, to top agency and software reps, there was no shortage of actionable insights to takeaway and plenty of tasty treats to fuel the next level of PPC learnings!
In this blog, I’m going to outline my top 5 heroes from HeroConf London and their must noteworthy PPC takeaways. In no particular order, let’s get started!
1. The Future of AdWords is Automated, Sophie Newton @ Brainlabs
Sophie’s keynote wasn’t for the faint at heart. Covering some of the most advanced and evolving topic areas, Sophie detailed innovation in AdWords automation, machine learning, artificial intelligence and the evolution of genetic algorithms for bid management. Talk about knocking your socks off and delving deep into the world of the unknown!
My favourite takeaway from Sophie, more simply detailed the future of voice search and how we will use and integrate this into ad platforms in years to come.
By 2020, comScore estimates that 50% of searches will be voice searches and below are just a selection of the activities we’ll be conducting with friends, at work and on the go.
And what could all this mean for the future of ads? Sophie presumes AdWords will create spoken keyword audiences and that voice search will be used for targeting customers, in/excluding via remarketing and for similar audiences.
Not only that, did you know we will have a Google AdWords Assistant in the future? Yes, the potential to ask a Google assistant how your campaigns are performing is imminent! Already in development, this is the future of ad management.
As I couldn’t decide which takeaway from Sophie excited me most, I had to share what’s coming soon to social ads!
Could ad platforms get anymore creepy? Yes….PROBABLY!
Image recognition software for ad targeting is also currently in development. For example, a snapchat of a person with a Starbucks coffee could in the future allow Starbucks to target that person with Starbucks ads because it will recognise the branding from the image.
I don’t need to elaborate on the potential of this for promoting products and service offerings for all the major brands!
2. Brand Marketing in a Direct-Response Marketing World, Larry Kim @ Wordstream
This man needs no introduction and if there was ever a competition for the best designed presentation at HeroConf, Larry Kim would have won it hands-down. An array of multi-coloured unicorns in all their glory with a fairy tale-esque storytelling element engulfed me and transported me from donkey land to unicorn land. You really needed to see it to believe it!
Larry’s presentation, aside from being graphically on-point, delivered a new way of viewing PPC. Larry outlined how search advertising was showing signs of aging, dropped some advertising truth bombs and delivered some jaw dropping ad hacks.
Ad hack number one outlined how RLSA is key and detailed two strategies to implement.
This approach is simply genius. I’m sure like most PPC professionals, you normally implement a search campaign with some search remarketing but why stretch your budget paying more for first-time visitors if you have a large enough search remarketing audience which you can target for less!
If there was ever a way for a company to grow remarketing list sizes on a lower budget, this is it. Invest in low cost social and display ads to drive volumes of search remarketing lists and then hit them with an RLSA campaign. This is such an effective way to use a small budget and really drive maximum returns.
Larry also detailed some ways to go after customers before they search and how to create stronger biases and affinity with video ads.
In the end we reached our designated destination: Unicorn Land.
3. 4 Advanced Search Query Techniques You Must Be Using In Your Shopping Campaigns, Liam Wade @ Impression
Liam is an analytical genius and his presentation outlined ways to bid on search queries and customer intent, rather than just products.
Covering advanced strategies for Google Shopping campaigns, Search Query Filtering and Search Query Mapping, Liam has identified a complex strategy to get the most from product campaigns.
Liam outlined so many possibilities for filtering search queries including brand, model, product type, colour, size and more so that the right campaign shows and explained how mapping works well in the following scenarios:
– When you have two products running for the same search query and only one converts well
– One product converts better for plural searches than the other
– Wrong colour products convert well
With some of these techniques requiring AdWords scripts for management and implementation, this is definitely one for the larger companies with dedicated PPC teams and something I hope to get stuck into more so in the future!
4. The Definitive Framework for Bidding in AdWords, Wijnand Meijer @ iProspect
The headline for this presentation was ‘great bids can’t fix a lousy campaign’ and how true it is. All too often us PPC’ers bid more just to improve ad rank or to increase visibility with a view to driving more conversions when sometimes gains are to be made simply from how we manage our budget and goals in AdWords.
Here’s his prerequisites for bidding which summarises my key learnings.
While Wijnand outlined that a non-brand cost per acquisition (CPA)/ return on ad spend (ROAS), with a flexible budget is good, the best technique is to have a flexible CPA/ROAS to maximise total profit, to include customer lifetime value and to use a data driven or a custom attribution model. His presentation finished with this very handy chart to match your bid strategy to your monthly non-branded conversions.
A handy one for every PPC professional to keep on their desk for reference.
5. AdWords Scripts, Frederick Vallaeys @ Optimyzr
Last, but by no means least, Frederick Vallaeys. Frederick was one of the first 500 employees at Google where he spent 10 years building AdWords and teaching advertisers how to get the most out of Google. Today he is the Cofounder of Optmyzr, an AdWords tool concentrated on data analysis, optimisation, advanced reporting and scripts to make account management more efficient.
I was in awe, this man is incredibly intelligent and a speaker I’d very much like to see again. Alongside a very informative keynote, Frederick covered automated rules, advanced scripts and what you can use them for.
Among Fred’s top suggestions for using scripts were the following:
• Monitoring quality score
• Identifying poor landing page experience
• Identifying top performing elements of ads
• Identifying anomalies in data
• Mobile page speed
• Broken landing pages
• Using Google calendar for promotions
• Creating expanded ads from Meta data
• And more.
Who would have known you could have implemented scripts for half of the above! Some in-depth food for thought!
And that’s it for mind boggling PPC goodness (in other words, my biggest and best takeaways) from some really superb speakers at HeroConf London 2016.
— Ruth Cowan (@RuthCowan5) October 25, 2016
I hope you found this blog useful and if you attended the conference, why not share your biggest takeaway in the comments below.