Live Blogging Day 1 of SES Toronto 2012 (Hopefully)


Like always, SES has given me a lot to think about.

The mobile and video panels were in a smaller room than some of the others. But they were packed.

I asked people in our video panel who was new to SES. Most were. I think there could be a whole new generation coming to SES for the first time. Video and mobile are the big new frontiers. I think their mainstream time has come. Companies now feel like they have to figure it all out.

I feel like our little industry is growing up. Literally the leaders in our industry are growing up. We are getting more mature along with the industry.

We are moving beyond individual tactics and beginning to use our tools to accomplish a comprehensive, complex marketing strategy.

This morning Avinash Kaushik said he believed the SES is becoming more of an inbound marketing conference than just a search conference.

I would say that’s right. We are taking an ever changing tool set and using those tools to solve an over arching goal: solving our clients’ problems.

It’s all cool to be a part of.

Content Marketing

I came in late here. I was in the Google session.

Lee Odden brings up the point that SEO needs to be all about the customer. You must understand who the customer is and what they care about. That will help you determine your content strategy.

He points out that a blog lets you show that you are the expert. It is the hub of a hub and spoke content stategy.

Those were the main points that jumped out at me.


I’m now going to check out:

Google Engage
Google+: How Your Business Can Come to Life on the Web

Google has tricked out a room with cool blue lighting an white carpet. It’s sweet.

They start out referencing this article: Why Small Business Have A Huge Advantage Over Brands In Social Media — socialmouths

“Businesses don’t make people happy. People do.”

There is a new feature release on Google+ every single day.

The impact of Google Local Plus: Zagat reviews and reviews from people’s circles… what your friends and family are saying.

They say that Google Plus makes your site more relevant in search. This, I believe, is a strong que of how important Google Plus will be for your overall Google ranking.

57% of people talk more online than they do in “real life.”

Recommendations from friends are happening within search.

Cadbury has a 17% average click through rate increase with search listings that have Google Plus recommendations.

Some search results have Google plus posts directly in the right side of the search results.

They are doing a live hangout during the session. That’s pretty sweet. is a place where you can buy a space in a cooking class and doing the class on Hangouts.

There is now a +1 annotations segment within AdWords reporting so you can see how +1 is effecting your ads.

They discuss Social Reports in Google Analytics so you can tie in social into your goals.

Ripples help you identify your effective posts to show you how your content is being shared. These show you how the a story moes through people. These are on public posts.

In AdWords be sure to enable social extensions that connect to your Google Plus page. It culminates all your +1’s and will increase your overall engagement.

She says that Google has heard over and over again how hard it is to measure Social. They heard the word “fluffy” over and over again. So in March they released a whole series of social reports in Google Analytics.

There are 170 million Google+ users and over 1 million brand pages.

If you are a Personality they think you should probably have a brand page. Down the line there will likely be more features.

Google Plus Local is more of a “Consumer Launch” than a “Business Launch”. Nothing has changed how you manage your business listings.

She says that Hangouts are most useful when you have people not in the room that will be participating in the event. Otherwise there are higher quality streaming services out there.

Because Google+ pages allow you to get followers, hangouts, etc, you should have both a Google Plus Local page along with your Google+ pages if you are a local business.


11:45 am 12:45 pm

I’m moderating the session: Developing a Video Optimization & Marketing Campaign

Here’s a quick shot from the podium:

From The Podium

I took a few notes during the video marketing session. I didn’t take many. But here’s a few quick notes.

The Youtube redzone will cost $300,000/day.

You can make $10k/1m plays in the invitation only Youtube partner program.

YouTube TrueView – It counts as a video play on your channel. You only pay when the video is watched. This goes into your play counts. 30 second to 1 minute videos are performing very well.

19 million Canadians visit Youtube, 68%, of Canadians… a higher penetration than U.S.

Standing room only for our Video panel. Nice job, panel!

10:30 – 11:30 am

Next up, I’m going to check out the “Driving Mobile Traffic: PPC & SEO” session. It’s packed. I’m sitting on the floor (actually, I often prefer the floor)

First up is Jeff Allen, Account Manager, Hanapin Marketing

The key is to focus on the experience. Many companies, large and small, don’t have any mobile awareness. They are serving up a terrible experience for their mobile users.

Feature phones are 63% of 2011 market share in U.S. (not smart phones).

Mobile text ads: 12-18 characters.

But check to see how much of your traffic is feature phone traffic or smart phone traffic.

Testing mobile ads is key. In the case of mobile, less very likely is more. Consider minimizing the experience. Make it plain and simple.

He thinks 2015 will be the year where mobile will outpace desktop.

In mobile think about segmenting by audience. You want to think about your different audiences and get them to the content they want as fast as possible.

Think about engaging via text. “Text with representative right now!”

Now on to Jeremy Evans, Director of Strategic Accounts, Marin Software

He believes that yes, finally, this is the year of mobile. I think I agree.

Mobile paid search is growing faster than desktop,

By December 2012, 25% of Google’s US Paid search clicks will come from smart mobile devices.

Smart mobile devices will account for 23% of the search budget for large US Advertisers by December 2012.

Click through rates:

  • Computers 2.39%
  • Tables: 3.12%
  • Smart phones: 4.12%

4 Best Practices:

  • Separate mobile campaigns, as long as you have the bandwidth to manage this. Use “click to call” in mobile ads.
  •  Target users with device Specific Copy. He recommends making the display URL identifying that you have a mobile site and a device specific site.
  • Prioritize Ad Position. Make sure your ads show. Drive them up above position 2 to make sure your ads are being shown. But then make sure it converts at an acceptable cost.
  • Optimize the User Experience.

And that finishes up the Mobile section.

I’m now up to moderate the video session. I probably will not live blog that. I’ll be back after lunch at 2:00.

9:00 am – 10:00 am

Conference Welcome and Keynote with Avinash Kaushik

Mike Grehan kicks off SES Toronto

Mike Grehan at Search Engine Strategies Toronto 2012

Avinash Kaushik is his usual awesome self:

Avinash Kaushik at SES Toronto 2012

Here are some really great Avinash quotes:

  • Bounce rate: I came. I puked. I left.
  • For every 1 second delay you reduce conversion rates by 7%.
  • The #1 feature of your site is speed. Just load. You will make money.
  • Every day 900,000 Android phones are being actived. EVERY SINGLE DAY!
  • It is such a waste of money to have people come to your site and have a terrible experience on a mobile phone.
  • The first thing I do with a new client is to figure out how to make them more money. I figure out how to fix what happens after you click the check out button.
  • Abandonment Rate: This is a number you should love and obsess over. The average abandonment rate is 85%. You would never tolerate that at a bricks and mortar store.
  • Focus on visitor loyalty. If you focus on this you will make more money. How do you get “June” to come back to your web site again and again. That will make you money.
  • He doesn’t like focusing on visits. He likes to focus on people. Measure how long it take a person to move through your sales process online. Don’t jump into bed with them first. Buy them a drink..
  • If you just focus on your own analytics data you might be missing something. But when you change your lens, when you look at what is really out there it forces you to think very differently.
  • Measure this: Share of search. There were X number of searches in our industry relevant to us and we have this share.
  • #besuperawesome

Move away from a model of analytics where you drive up the truck, open the back and say, “There are 2 diamonds here. Good luck.”
Instead start with a blank slate and say, “I’m interested in these metrics:
3 things you care about:
How am I doing in acquiring

These are the things you need to focus on:

  • 3 custom ppc reports: 
  • When you focus only on conversion you are only focused on a tiny part of your traffic. If you didn’t convert right away we don’t care about you. Shift away from obsessing on only 1 important thing. Start asking if there are other micro-conversions that you should focus on as well.
  • Every review beyond 9 in Amazon statistically improves conversion at Amazon, no matter what the review is.
  • When you use this new model it moves you out of thinking about just what is happening right now and start thinking in the long term.
  • Near term, Mid Term, Long Term Conversion Thinking

  • When you only optimize for silos (paid, organic, affiliate, etc) you are missing the overall sales process.
  • He is talking about creating “Channel Groupings” in Google Analytics. I haven’t tried that yet. But I’m psyched to try it. Here’s some info on this.
  • He says you need to have a balanced portfolio from where traffic comes from. It shouldn’t just all come from Google. Word!
  • He recommends you visualize your data. He says go here D3.js – Data-Driven Documents to download these visual reports.
  • 1. Understand. 2. Optimize 3. Be less wrong.

You are awesome, Avinash!

8:45 am

My trip on the subway was really great. I believe you can tell a lot about a city based on their public transportation. It was really clean and super efficient. It seemed a little quieter than I would have anticipated for 7:30 am on Monday. But a really great experience.

I’ve got my first video online.

I was going to talk about the sessions at this year’s event. But then I ran into Jamie O’Donnell, SEO-PR Co-Founder.

He talks with me about what he thinks the big topics of the event will be. I agree with him. What do you think he says?


6:51 am

I’ve never tried my hand at live blogging an event. I often live tweet an event. But I’ve wondered about putting all my updates in one place.

I don’t think I’m going to attempt to capture every single point. But I’d like to report out the best points that I hear.

There’s no time like the present to give something a spin. So I’ll be covering the Day 1 – Monday, June 11: SES Toronto 2012, June 11-13 | SES Conference & Expo.

First up is Avinash Kaushik. Incidentally, he has a great blog here: Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik – Digital Marketing and Analytics Blog.

But I’m still at my Airbnb apartment about 20 minutes north of the city using the underground system. I have my week long pass. But I’ve still got to figure out where the “south platform” is. So, I’m going to gulp down a tea and have a bowl of Shreddies.

We don’t have Shreddies in the states. It was such a cute name I had to pick up a box.

I’m  trying not to use my data plan here in Canada because Verizon wants $5 PER MEG! of data. So the secret to successful live blogging will be hinging on whether or not the hotel has good Internet coverage.

I’ll also be a little slow covering things at 11:45 because I’m moderating the video marketing panel during that time. I might jot down notes during that. But I’m not totally sure yet.

So, see you on the other side of Shreddies and the underground (I’m not sure what they call it here yet.)

I’ll be posting everything today to this post. The most recent updates will be at the top.


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