For the past few years, we have attended the Denver Digital Summit. This 2-day digital marketing event is held in the heart of downtown Denver blocks away from the office, so really, there is nothing to lose and so much to gain.

We sent a few of our in-house experts to check out where this wonderful world of digital marketing is going, where we’re crushing it and where we can step-up our game. Here’s what we learned.

Let’s start by talking about influencers with a few learnings from Becca Taylor of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Apart from social interactions, it may be hard at first to tie influencer campaigns to traditional KPIs. The key is to know what’s important to your organization (or client) and get creative.

You see, once upon a time, influencer marketing was associated with strictly fashion, travel, beauty, and lifestyle brands. But times, they are a changing. And, while it is still challenging for B2B marketers to justify influencer spending to the powers that be, B2B brands can benefit greatly from strategic engagement with influencers to generate brand awareness and content creation.

“If you wanna tell a story – put a human in it.” – Robert Rose, Content Marketing Institute

Let’s move on to everyone’s favorite social powerhouse (and elephant in the room) Facebook. Susan Wenograd, a Media Consultant, breaks down Facebook ads like this. Typically, Paid Social campaigns are created by objective. Meaning, if you wanted to sell units, you would indicate a “conversion” objective. Instead, marketers should be making sure that only one of their tactics (the Retargeting portion) is using this as an objective. The rest of the campaigns should use “awareness” or “click” objectives, so we don’t accidentally pay the “conversion” CPM across all Ad Sets, but rather only the one whose job it is to re-engage customers.

Let’s look at some Social figures:

  • There are three key things you need to get up to speed on right now: Instagram, Video, and Voice enabled technology
  • You need to be creatively present, and strategically organized to build a relationship on Instagram
  • Keep in mind that Facebook prefers content that does not link off-site, video and posts that have high engagement and will reward the post by showing it more frequently
  • Square is the best shape for videos because it takes the most real estate in mobile
  • Add captions to any videos with a narrative

In a featured case study, we learned that prospecting campaigns were more efficient at driving traffic, thus giving the retargeting campaigns a bigger pool of users to optimize against.

We, as marketers, don’t always need to be seeking the shiny new thing, sometimes we need to look at our existing technologies and make sure we’re using them to their fullest capacities. When you do look for an investment in new, modern technologies, it needs to be driven by a gap analysis that highlights where our current technologies fall short.

And, speaking of modern technologies, as Samantha Iodice explained, most companies are behind in considering customer experience – just starting to scratch the surface of DMPs or segmentation. The next frontier is going to be more about 1:1 Personalization, not simply segmentation. With this in mind, agencies need to put together media plans that address user behavior from awareness > engagement > conversion > loyalty & advocacy, rather than strictly focusing on current tactics and shifting budget to or from.

Now, let’s talk about the value of SEO, as presented by the legendary Rand Fishkin of SparkToro. His primary focus was around where he thinks SEO is headed and how the value of SEO has changed over recent years. Ok, we often hear that Amazon is growing (and it is, obviously) but not at a faster rate than Google for ecomm searches. So, there is not yet a dominant shift of the organic search environment from Google to Amazon (traditional search engines to marketplaces) as has been feared.

Let’s look at some SEO stats:

  • For every 1 click on an ad, there are 20 clicks on an organic listing
  • Looking in Google Trends, seeing more searches overall (with no shift) for ‘organic search’ over other digital marketing tactics such as social or email or pay per click, etc.
  • A rise in non-click results (meaning quick answers)
    • Of mobile searches, 61% are currently ‘no-click’ searches (up from 41% in 2016)
    • 61% of mobile searches are currently no-click, organic is 36%, while paid search is 3%
  • Modern on-page SEO is 25% keywords and 75% intent
    • Used to be more heavily focused on keywords, but Google has more tailored searches to intent of the query than just KWs it matches

“It has never been harder to be a brand: public issues are more diverse, the weather is more catastrophic, and social activism is on the rise. Be attuned to the tensions that your brand can address, evaluate your right to be addressing that tension, and make it a value of your company in both thought and action.” – Stacey Minero, Twitter

To try to sum up the Denver Digital Summit in a closing paragraph would be doing it a disservice. So here a few more quick takeaways;

  • Always be testing – because even if your planned test doesn’t seem to give the expected actionable data, other things may come to light
  • Tactics ≠ Strategy – strategy needs to address what is trying to be achieved via tactics
  • Understand your users’ intent – Google continues to match queries to intent over keywords

Happy marketing! And if you ever have marketing questions, feel free to drop us a line.