PPC Hero Conf Takeaways – Everything Old is New Again

I know there have been a lot of posts about the big takeaways from last week’s PPC Hero Conf. Let me start by saying it was really a great event. I am only now truly recovering from the whirlwind of it all and finding a few moments to jot down my thoughts about the experience.

There were plenty of interesting sessions and keynotes on a fairly wide variety of topics. I often was really torn between which panel program to attend and wished I could be in two places at once. And for the most part, the presenters were top-notch and really knew their stuff. I don’t want to rehash many of the specifics of the presentations, as I don’t see that adding a ton of value at this point. Instead, I’d like to share the overall theme that has come together for me a week later.

So What Is That Theme?

While many things are changing, some at a pretty rapid pace, what struck me most as I soaked up information about topics from social media advertising, to the Google Display Network to landing pages to sessions specifically about the mobile experience, I kept coming back to the most simple of concepts. No matter what shiny new toys we have to use or what new devices or networks we have to advertise on, it is all still about what it has always been about – putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time. Even Google’s recent announcements underscore this theme, “it’s not about devices (which I completely disagree with – but that is for another post!), it’s about people and reaching them at the right time.”

Let’s break each piece down a bit, shall we?

The Right Message

Isn’t so much of what we do in PPC all about creating and projecting the right message? Whether it is your keywords, ad copy or especially your landing page, the focus is (or should) always be about figuring out what actually resonates with people who might buy your product or service. It is still, fundamentally, about addressing a need, desire or pain point and providing an enticing solution. As we test ad copy and landing page design and content, what we are really testing is the “rightness” of our message.

The Right Person

No product, service or brand truly serves ALL people. Most products or services don’t even interest or serve most people for that matter. Again, part of what we as search marketers are constantly trying to do is to come up with profiles or personas of our ideal customers. This is particularly true for social network advertising, not only because greater demographic data is actually available, but because of the mindset of a potential customer when he/she is using the social site. Sometimes clients conflate potential customers with desirable customers. It is, I believe, part of our job to guide them toward better targeting decisions to put their resources where they are most likely to connect with the right people who might actually buy what they are selling!

The Right Time

Certainly mobile has taken this piece of the puzzle and blown it up. With mobile’s percentage of search traffic projected to be 50% of all searches by 2015 (a figure that was quoted often at Hero Conf) the issue of timing is growing in importance. Prior to the explosion of mobile, most of our decisions about timing had to do with when our ads might display, 24/7 or on a more limited schedule, in a particular season, etc. Now, customizing ad experiences, particularly for mobile users, is a larger factor in this equation. If I have a mobile device on or near my person 24 hours a day, the “right time” might just have suddenly expanded for me. In addition, the right time has also contracted in other instances. If I am searching for something local and using location services on my phone, if you’re not showing up in my results right then, you have no shot at getting my business. Don’t even get me started on not enabling click to call in PPC or on your sites!

So, there you have it. I’m working on some new ideas and am looking at certain aspects of our accounts through some different lenses after the Hero Conf, for sure. But I feel oddly comforted knowing that the truly fundamental bedrock of what it means to market has not seismically shifted!

As always, I welcome you to please share your thoughts, insights and experiences in the comments.



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