12 things we learned from #SAScon 2016

SAScon_Beta_LogoRDPR’s digital team was privileged to attend SAScon 2016 last week, on 17-18 June.

For those of you who didn’t manage to make it, we’ve put together some key points that we gleaned from some of the fantastic search and social speakers in their fascinating presentations.

Jam-packed with industry experts and insights, SAScon is billed as one of the UK’s finest search, analytics and social conferences, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

So without further ado (and in no particular order), here’s twelve lessons we took away from the tech-filled two-day event:

  1.  SAScon programme1People don’t buy WHAT you do but WHY you do it

Keynote speaker, Lisa Myers, chief executive and founder of Verve Search, inspired us to think about ‘why’ rather than ‘how’ when making creative campaigns. Ideas needs to be simple enough to stick and meaningful enough to make a difference.

So instead of how, think why – do the things you care about and have passion!

  1. Nostalgia + History + Technology = Sweet Spot

Another lesson from Lisa Myers on creative campaigns is to create something that will strike an emotion. The best campaigns (the ‘sweet spot’) usually tug on the nostalgia element and take advantage of the technology we have.

One example is this successful campaign by Expedia that used an interactive Google Street View Map, interlaced with old photographs.

  1. Mobiles are rebuilding the web

In Friday’s “Enterprise SEO” session, Nick Wilsdon, Lead SEO for Vodafone group, taught us that mobiles have caused the biggest internet shake-up in history, with more than half google searches happening on mobile.

Because of this, companies need to bear in mind the mobile optimisation of their websites. And since companies are looking to reduce conversion friction and make buyers journey as quick as possible, most browsers now give you the option to open in the app, as Google knows the app experience is better and provides quicker service.

  1. We have to go deeper

Another piece of wisdom from Wilsdon’s talk was about ‘Deep Linking’ – the use of a hyperlink that links to a specific, generally searchable or indexed, piece of web content on a website rather than the website’s home page.

Deep Linking helps reduce the conversion friction by shortening the users’ path to the piece of content, product or promo they are interested in.

  1. winning formulaSharing is Caring

In her session on “Data and Creativity”, Stacey MacNaught from Tecmark emphasised the need to have a human interest angle on a story in order for it to become shareable content.

She discussed the challenges of getting people to share content to generate quality links, and the plight of generating quality press coverage but no back links – meaning a win for the PR team but not the SEO team!

  1. Choose the right channel

Echoed quite a lot over the two days was the need to find out what channel was right for you/your business and your customers.

For example, certain platforms are better than others for selling. You need to think about why the users are visiting the respective platforms.

Interestingly, Pinterest and Polyvore users are often more keen to buy than Twitter and Facebook users. It’s important to choose the right platform for your target customer through social profiling. Think about what channels they are on and how engaged they are.

  1. Buying SEO is okay if the links are ‘nofollow’

In order to comply with Google’s regulations, paid advertorials which feature links must attribute a nofollow tag.  “Nofollow” provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines “Don’t follow links on this page” or “Don’t follow this specific link.”

Basically, Google doesn’t want people buying links to influence Google search engines and those who do may be penalised.

  1. Measure links on score, not by how many

In the “Is Generic SEO Dead?” session, the panels raised concerns that some people are measuring the number of links, rather than an individual score/ domain authority of a link. For example, one link on the BBC site shouldn’t be measured the same as one link on a travel blog.

  1. quest for creativityMake it simple, but significant

There was a lot of references to the TV show ‘Mad Men’ flying about over the two days; there’s a lot we can learn from the man himself, Don Draper. Laura Thomas, head of Online Display at MediaCom told us to “make it simple, but significant” when it comes to online campaigns.

  1. Be authentic

In Kristal Ireland’s (head of Social Media at twentysix) talk on millennials and the media, she taught us that 70% of millennials consider a brand’s ethics when making a purchase. And since young people have a knack of spotting insincerity, it’s important to talk to your customers like a real person and consider an ethical approach.

  1. Facebook video is a game changer

Facebook is currently focusing on video, 360 and live videos which are going to be a real game changer. Facebook is also looking to test out a new video hub – much like a mini Youtube, so watch this space!

However, more and more people are watching video without the sound. With this in mind, you should do a split test – with and without subtitles, and see which gets the best response.

  1. Manchester is number one for tech

Earlier this year Manchester was voted the best European location to do business and although we may be biased, we have no doubt it can make an impact in the European tech scene too.

And while this is not exactly a lesson if we already knew it, Lawrence Jones of UKFast further convinced us of this in his motivational talk about the unique creativity of Manchester’s workforce (which enables us to compete with the ‘American giants’) and his vision to make Manchester the number one tech city in the UK.

And you?

SAScon provided us with plenty of food for thought on the latest advancements in the world of search, analytics and social. We’ve only covered some of the lessons we learned over the two days, so if you’ve got any more insights from the event or would like to tell us what your favourite session was, then let us know on Twitter – we’d love to hear from you.

And if you didn’t get a chance to attend SAScon this year, check out our round-up of both days on our blog.

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