Recently, HealthEd sent an intrepid team to SES New York 2012, one of the leading conferences for search, social media, and digital marketing. Here’s what they heard:
Avinash Kaushik’s talk was excellent. Google’s digital marketing evangelist spent a lot of time talking about how to measure attribution (assigning credit for which marketing tactics cause conversion) and how flawed our measurements have been. He said we spend a lot of time giving credit to the last click, when in fact most consumers may have a long conversion journey with multiple touchpoints.
Avinash was the best. He proved that you can turn an 18,000-row Microsoft Excel document into something visually appealing, useful, and even (his word) “sexy.” He said that marketing vendors need to move beyond “data puking” and offer metrics in a more visually appealing way.
The other interesting tidbit I heard was from Richard Kosinski, SVP, Sales at Quantcast. He spoke about the resurgence of banner ads and said online display spending looks set to catch up to paid search by 2015!
He also talked about the job skills that are needed by marketers in today’s data-driven landscape. Richard said, “If you’re going to a math competition—which this is—then you’d better bring mathematicians.” A key takeaway is that there’s a lot of data to make sense of, and we need mathematically-minded people to help make it accessible to the rest of us.
One big takeaway for me is that there is no magic bullet for success in search. Most of the advice around scoring better on search engines was simply, “Be better.” Avoid mistakes like making your site difficult for a search engine to read. Get other sites to link to yours by reaching out with an e-mail or phone call, and just explaining your offering and requesting a link. It’s part of what some presenters were calling “social muscle.” People trust people, not machines, and so more and more we want to know the person behind the product. It certainly explains the evolution to a more social Internet.
With so many new social media tools out there, we have to pick channels wisely and interact meaningfully, rather than spreading ourselves too thin. We should not feel that we have to be on every social media outlet. Instead, our needs should dictate the channels we use. A social media strategy is critical, which starts with business goals and requires constant evaluation as you learn.
Community Manager, SurroundHealth