"Marketing success comes in many shapes and forms, and it isn’t always the ones we think it will be."


Five things we learned at SearchLeeds - part one

Earlier this month, Partners’ digital duo Rob and Annis spent the day in Leeds at Branded3’s annual SearchLeeds conference. The Search Engine optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) event was a brilliant and educational day, and we came away with a tonne of new knowledge to apply to the work we do for our clients – read on to find out more about what we brought back with us…

Most mind-blowing stat of the day

The presentation by Stephen Power from Google was one of the sessions I was most eagerly anticipating at SearchLeeds. Stephen outlined the concept of the ‘micro-moment’ world we live in where success for a brand online revolves around meeting smartphone users’ expectations – it’s not just a matter of being visible, but crucial to be useful and quick too.
Demonstrating the power of location relevancy content, I found it startling to learn that more than half (51%) of smartphone users have bought from a brand other than their intended one because the information they provided was useful – for example store locator functionality is key. And the necessity for immediacy when it comes to the micro-moment world was also made perfectly clear – 40% of customers abandon a site that takes over three seconds to load.
Of all the presentations that I attended at SearchLeeds, it was MediaCom digital expert Lydia Hinchliff’s session, ‘Fuelling Content in the Dark’, that really stopped me in my tracks. Lydia’s mic-drop statistic was that only 16% of the content distributed on social media is shared publicly. The other 84%, meanwhile, is shared through so-called ‘dark social’: those social channels set up more private conversations, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Lydia’s hypothesis – that people present different versions of themselves on different social networks through sharing different content – is straightforward enough, but marketers can greatly increase their chances of social media success by appreciating how it can affect their campaign results. For example, an article that appears dull and dry may receive a huge amount of meaningful engagement if it’s really, genuinely useful to just a small audience, even if it isn’t an all-singing, all-dancing, high-budget nationwide campaign. Marketing success comes in many shapes and forms, and it isn’t always the ones we think it will be.

Most useful takeaway from the day

Sat at my desktop computer each day contemplating content creation ideas for clients, I’ll admit I often have the desktop audience front of mind.  Yet digital marketing agency co-founder Paddy Moogan from Aira provided a timely and poignant reminder during his presentation that the way we all read content is changing to mobile first.
So, it’s all about curating and communicating the right content in the right format - predominately for smartphones and tablets as opposed to desktop users which makes perfect sense when you consider that mobile web usage overtook desktops for the first time in October last year. Now we’ve past that tipping point of content consumption, there appears to be no turning back so producing Quick-to-Read content whilst considering animations and video which also capture the attention of mobile users in particular is becoming increasingly important to take into account.
Stickyeyes is recognised by many as an industry leader in content marketing and strategy. For a while now I’ve followed Content Director Danny Blackburn’s insights with interest, and his ‘content blueprint for SEO success’ was full of valuable takeaways for my own work.

Danny posits that brand content should make use of brand insights, audience insights and performance insights, sitting at the ‘sweet spot’ of all three to deliver content which aims to support the brand, address existing website deficits, and resonate with its target demographic. He acknowledged that achieving the ideal mix of all three can be a tricky balance, but recommended a solution: a strategy based on a foundation of search-friendly content, boosted by assets to promote user engagement and occasional ‘hero’ content campaigns to facilitate wider reach.

What’s the next big thing in digital?

More and more of our clients are citing links and not just media coverage when setting out their expectations and KPIs with online visibility front of mind. So, Paul Madden’s presentation covering Google’s ranking signals and the value of links placed with different types of sites was very insightful.
The Kerboo agency co-founder outlined the importance of links providing trust and relevance to help boost visibility as opposed to merely a numbers game which has been ever more crucial since Google’s Penguin 4.0 rollout last Autumn operating at page level which removes the ability for problematic links to pass their value.
Paul conveyed that, to add value to our clients, yes certainly we need links that will send traffic their way but we also need links that will pass equity and are trusted by Google. To this end, Paul cited the particular value of trusted sites with pages containing fewer outbound links and a consistent site structure which are often more valuable than mainstream new sites producing lots of fresh content where coverage often gets buried very quickly.
Keen to find out what Annis thinks will be the next big thing in digital? Want to know which SearchLeeds presentations gave the Partners team a giggle? Stay tuned for ‘Five things we learned from the SearchLeeds conference: Part Two’…
The Partners Group


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