Sussing out SAScon: Top 10 findings



As far as conferences go, SAScon 2014 is up there with the best. A hearty mix of controversial statements, new social and SEO perspectives, profanity, hard hitting content matters and free pens – SAScon had it all.

With so much to absorb, SAScon offered its listeners great practical tips and advice for the long haul and for the very much right now, here are my top ten.

1. Attribution: There is no right or wrong

I was immediately drawn to Attribution: Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan by Darren Herbert and Russell McAthy. Mostly because of the hundreds of articles and memes I have read and seen on Last click dying a death, and rising again like a cat with 9 lives. I wanted an answer…was Last click dead? Was it ever going to die? Was it, in fact, a cat? I did not find these answers here (although Herbert did state that around 99% of companies will typically use Last Click).

Instead, I found something more useful. It became clear to me throughout the course of this talk that there is really no right or wrong method when it comes to attribution. Herbert talked about “the Fisher price” method of attribution – GA, doubleclick & UA, which he said are great starting points. GA premium and DC storm offer (as you would expect) more premium features such as e.g. the ability to track impressions and integrate with CRMS to discount cancelled sales and the like. There was more talk on the importance of cross device – which was a whole new kettle of fish. What I got from this is that there is no right or wrong road. Know your options, tailor them to your needs and dig deep. Attribution is a journey.

2. Google are very bad people

This probably won’t come as a big surprise to anyone in the SEO world but, the growing concerns about the ethical practices of Google are becoming more and more apparent with every conference I attend. Google, as the world’s biggest search engine, have a responsibility to the world to be fair and ethical and they seem to hold this belief stringently – unless of course, you are actually Google. If you are Google, you get to make up exceptions. Seen obviously in the below example (by our very own Barry Adams taken from his talk on It’s not all about Google), we see a very clear branded search closely followed by a listing on Google credit card comparisons.

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It seems Google get to make up all the rules, bully people into submission of such rules then rewrite these rules at any given point for the benefits of themselves. It’s clear that fair play is not applicable in the land of Google.

3. Very few people want to be a Glasshole

Following on from my previous point, Google were a big point of discussion in You are what your wear – is there a future in wearable media? People wanted to know about Google Glass, privacy laws and the ethical use of such wearable technology. The general feel? Even if Google Glass weren’t hideously ugly (someone called them a “segway for the face” in this talk) would we be wearing them? Probably not. Making wearable technology more discrete raises further privacy issues and this makes everyone uneasy.

4. Bloggers need not be beggars

Danny Ashton from NeoMam presented highly relevant psychological and scientific explanations in relation to content in his talk Learn how to produce persona content in less than 45 minutes, as found in part one of this blog. But what’s more interesting from a Digital Marketing perspective, is this new found relationship between blogger and journalists. Ashton explained that journalists were now coming to him for his work. Could we be moving onto a mutually respectable relationship with journalists? Instead of the door to door begging, Ashton talks about more of a “build it and they will come” attitude, which has worked exceptionally well for him and his team.

5. We (as the human race) have options that don’t have to revolve around Google

SAScon saw lots of talk about duckduckgo.com, yandex.com and my own personal favourite Bing.com. If you don’t think you could use these, I urge you to give it a go and also check out Bingiton.com and let us know your thoughts. Google doesn’t have to be your search life, make a change.

6. Content and context

It’s not enough to have great content, it never really was but now more than ever the talk about context is rife. You can’t place great content anywhere, you won’t build engagement…it’s that simple. Do the research, get the scoop and react – don’t take too long but don’t rush into either.

 7. Rupert Murdoch is dead

Not literally (at time of posting) but as Jeff Coghlan from Matmi rightly said “The era of Rupert Murdoch and the media moguls is over”. In Coghlan’s keynote entitled The human interface, we were reminded of just how far technology has come, making its way into the hearts, homes and heads of everyone. Coghlan illustrated this with various humorous and true to life examples and reminded the audience that the future of technology is bright (stating that his gran can’t use a computer, but she can use an iPhone). But he went on to talk on a more serious note about the dangers of abusing technology. He openly expressed concerns about how data is both used and stored from tracking devices like RFID tags and he spoke passionately about privacy in terms of surveillance. It was another humorous, engaging and relevant keynote from SAScon that ended on a serious note regarding privacy.

8. Twitter is great is you’ve accidently sold people horsemeat

I was eagerly anticipating the keynote speech from Andy Thompson from Iceland entitled SAScon goes to Iceland, because I knew he’d have to answer some difficult questions. However, unlike traditional people in his position, he didn’t dance around any of it. He was quite open about Iceland’s issues –the horsemeat scandal and the ongoing controversy with halal meat, and he discussed the various reasons he knew being active and present on twitter and social media would help overcome this controversy. He knew by listening and responding to concerns, Iceland would recover and whilst this is nothing new, we never get sick of hearing this.

9. You’re worthless if you’re not responsive

Harsh but true. Mobile growth is on the up and up, and isn’t slowing down so don’t ignore the facts and don’t underestimate it. Brett Tabke gave some pretty shocking statistics with regards to mobile; in 2014 93.5% of people have their phone in arms reach at all times, people reach for their phones on average 150 times per day and in US teenagers are sending 50 messages per hr. Tabke also spoke about big companies like Yahoo! in the below example who are anticipating the rise of mobile and the fall of the desktop.

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10. Careful now

With lots of talk on Resetthenet and alternative search engines, we could potentially be on the road to a better internet…or not. SAScon brought together some of the most passionate and informed people in the tech world, they all spoke about and explained this sense of urgency. The time is very much now, so get informed and act.

 Were you at SAScon? Let us know your thoughts @thetomorrowlab.


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