Recap of the Interactivity Digital Conference
I spent a few days this week attending the Interactivity Digital Conference in South Beach. It was an interesting conference focused on a range of digital issues including SEO, content, social, analytics and more.
The conference was held at The James Hotel which is right on the beach. A very nice venue for a conference. It was great to wakeup each morning and go for a run along the beach at sunrise. It sure beats running through my neighborhood in Atlanta.
The conference kicked off with Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz. Rand is an engaging speaker and always interesting to listen to. It was a good way to start the conference. You can view his presentation here. Here are some of the points I found most interesting:
- Be an early adopter but not an early abandoner: Rand talked about how Silicon Valley execs are all talking about the death of search engines. You don’t need to worry about Google anymore. The reality is that the desktop searches are actually increasing significantly. So, rumors of Google’s demise might be overstated. In other words, ignore Google at your own peril.
- The importance of the “Dynamic Funnel”: Rand showed the funnel he uses at SEOMoz. It was impressive. It showed that the more times a person comes back to the site prior to purchase, the more likely they are to stay longer after the purchase. Pretty interesting.
- Hire the right people: Rand showed a matrix that he uses mapping “culture fit” with “competency fit”. Great way to think about current and prospective employees.
The rest of the conference featured a variety of speakers with a large focus on SEO, site architecture and analytics. It was some seriously geeky shit. But, really interesting. A few highlights:
Bill Hunt from Back Azimuth Consulting talked about the importance of diving into the data. He showed some real life examples where companies were wasting huge amounts of money because they weren’t paying attention to the numbers. He also shared a story where a client was going to shut down a blog section of their site. He did some analysis and showed them that the blog was generating $6 million a month for the company. As you can imagine, they kept that blog up and running.
Annie Chushing shared some of the key tools that she uses to do analysis. She was kind enough to share her list through Google docs. You can get it here. She also talked about how bounce rate is an important metric to look at, but may not tell the whole story. For example, bounce rates on blogs are very high because people will read the blog post and then leave. So, you had a quality interaction with a visitor, but you get penalized. You can check out more of Annie’s insights at Annielytics.com. Clever website name.
Adam Singer from Google talked about the customer purchase journey and importance of looking at attribution metrics throughout that process. Adam showed some research that stated people consult 10.4 different sources throughout the purchase process. So, it’s key that you don’t just give the last source before purchase all the credit. That’s an interesting perspective coming from Google. Better attribution will probably devalue the impact of search engines. So, I give Adam a lot of credit for being open about that.
There was also some good conversation about coming changes coming to Google that will impact search results. One key area is around the sentiment related to links. Google will determine whether the sentiment of a link is positive or negative. If it’s positive it will help. If it’s negative, it could hurt. As one speaker said, “Every brand says they were written about in the Wall Street Journal. Well, Bernie Madoff was written about in the Wall Street Journal too. It’s not always a positive thing.”
Andy Beal talked about how to dominate on Google. His main point was that just knowing how to work the Google algorithm isn’t enough. The key is to have a strong, trusted and consistent brand. Interesting how digital marketing is starting to sound more like traditional marketing.
What digital conference would be complete without a discussion of content marketing? Here are some of my key takeaways about the topic:
- Know your audience and build content they will want.
- Reuse popular content in different channels and formats so you don’t constantly have to create new stuff.
- Pay attention to the structure of content. Make it visual and digestible. In other words, stay away from large blocks of text. More bullets, charts and visuals.
So, that’s my recap. You can check the Interactivity Digital website for the presentations. It was a fun conference. Now, it’s time to get back to work.