Highlights from SAScon Day 1

Shamima Begum | July 27th 2017

SAScon is back and bolder than ever. This year’s event saw an awesome calibre of speakers take centre stage to talk all things SAS! If you missed this year’s conference, fear not, I have some of the key highlights from day one of the SAScon.

Constant Curiosity Talk

How’s this to wake everyone up … a great American “good morning” from Jon Burkhart, who evidently loves to break all rules (including SAScon health & safety by playing dodgeball on stage) – don’t worry we’re all alive and well … oh, and of course being curious.

Burkhart urged us to always challenge things and not to be afraid to be different: ‘The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way.’”

Google’s Fred Update (Charlie Whitworth)

So what have we learned from Google’s algorithm updates over the past few years? Well, it’s all about quality content, less of the spam and just be real! Charlie Whitworth talked about the recent unofficial update by Google called the Fred Update.

So, what happened in the recent update that took place in March 2017? The usual poor content and low quality link sites suffered, as well as ad-heavy websites and bad affiliate link sites.

Of course, when some sites drop down the rankings, others inevitably rise. Fred’s beneficiaries included:

  • sites that gained natural links and contained compelling copy
  • constant engagement
  • sites optimised for both mobile and tablet

… in other words, things we already knew, but more so. The Fred update was also strict on paywalls as Google tries to enhance the user experience.

We’ve found that the days of traditional updates may be long gone, hence the (unconfirmed) Fred Update. However, one thing that’s certain is that Google tweaks its algorithm every week. We can find all the answers in the Google Webmaster Guidelines. And using the E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) indicators to measure page quality remains massively important.

From Loyalty to Royalty (Samantha Noble)

Samantha Noble highlighted how we sometimes get carried away with attaining new customers and forget that we need to nurture our existing customers, a mistake a lot of companies are making, meaning they’re losing customers. It’s actually seven times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to resell to the existing ones. Here’s how we can pay more attention to creating a great customer advocacy scheme to ensure we’re not losing valuable customers to competitors.

Customer match targeting drives brand awareness and is a great tool for targeting new audiences who are similar to your most valued customers. Currently used by the big names such as Facebook, Twitter, AdWords, Pinterest and LinkedIn, it allows you to create tailored ad messages, dedicate ads to your audiences, filter any audiences from seeing your ads and helps you understand their demographics and interests. And for better success you should always segment your audiences for more defined ads.

Lookalike audiences are hosted by a number of platforms and were recently introduced to LinkedIn where they’re known as matched audiences. It takes existing customer data and targets new-to-brand audiences with similar/lookalike leads. This helps companies study their audiences for similar behaviour patterns, increase bids, and again tailor ad messages with defined targets. It saves budgets on advertising to people who won’t buy. Sam used a great example of Graze (who send boxes of healthy snack food to your door); there are customers who get the sample box but never purchase from them and there are people who will actually subscribe to them for a long time. Lookalike audiences will help attain information about audience patterns so you can get those subscribers and ditch the freebie lovers.

Loyalty strategies aren’t being shouted about as much as they should be. We should be dedicating landing pages to existing customers to show them tailored messages and offers and not repeating on deals for new customers. Offering compelling promotions could mean that 80% of shoppers would switch brands. So we should use search ads for brand and loyalty scheme terms to drive more traffic. Using AdWords in simple ways to remarket and upsell to customers, and creating a sense of urgency using a countdown timer will attract a driven traffic.

As many as 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And 92% of consumers will read online reviews for businesses. Encouraging customers to leave a review couldn’t be more important right now, which is why advocacy strategies should form part of your retention plans. And don’t just leave your reviews to speak for themselves; ensure that you are showing off about it! Display them for users to see and include them in your company testimonials because that could be the difference between a customer picking your brand or picking a competitor’s. Refer-a-friend schemes, as exemplified by Uber and Deliveroo, are essentially personal recommendations, even when the referrer has a vested interest in passing on the recommendation!

The 5th Screen, The 6th Surface (Renee Mellow)

You’re probably wondering what are the 5th screen and the 6th surface?

Well, we’re in the age of auto dashboards, voice assistants and AR. And waiting on the horizon will be the moment these terrains become biddable media platforms and an emergence of new brand spaces for advertisers. I’ve said this time and time again; I’m pretty reluctant about having to wait for a 30 second ad in the future before I can switch my engine on, but we’re going to have to adapt to that because it is indeed lurking in the future!

We can already see brands adopting the 5th screen, with Jaguar Land Rover rolling out the world’s first in-car payment system which works at Shell. Also other car brands optimising their dashboards with iOS and Android dashboards.

Baddie Winkle’s Badass Campaign for Missguided

A Missguided campaign turned viral overnight when they recruited a great-grandmother as their new face. Baddie Winkle sure sparked a fire when the campaign launched, and caught a lot of eyes, turning the Missguided event into a sensation. The campaign soared, reaching over 103 million users, brought in a 37% growth in awareness, and increased revenue by 806%! Missguided definitely demonstrated advertising via multiple channels by doing personalised social videos, meet & greets, online ads, etc. This brings us neatly back to Jon Burkhart: following the guidelines is fine, but to be even greater, why not try something different to make heads turn!