As a career choice digital marketing is an exciting and challenging place to be because you never stop learning. To maintain your skillset you must relish in the process of continuous learning and tackling new challenges. In the world of digital marketing time moves very quickly indeed, what you knew yesterday could be somewhat irrelevant tomorrow.

Before the end of each calendar year we look forward to what the next year will bring and more specifically what are the best conferences and seminars to attend internationally that will quench our thirst for new knowledge. Conferences and seminars give us the head space to explore what we don’t already know but also reaffirm to ourselves what we are confident we do know, and how far along the road we have travelled.

This year my first choice of conference to attend was one that has been on my radar for many year, SES London in February 2015 (running for 10 years since 2005). The venue was  near Vauxhall Bridge at Park Plaza Hotel, a plush modern downtown hotel and popular conference venue.

SES London 2015

The tagline for the conference was “#SESLON – Optimising Your Digital Marketing Campaigns With Search, Social and Analytics”. 

“Focusing on all aspects of search and digital marketing, including content marketing, local and mobile optimisation, analytics, data-driven marketing, display, attribution, social advertising and more, SES is designed to help search specialists, digital marketers, brand advertisers, agencies and business leaders drive their businesses forward.”

SES London was a three day event, one full day of training workshops and two days of seminars. However with my busy schedule I could only afford time to attend one day unfortunately so I had to choose wisely and opted for the line-up offered on Tuesday 10th Febraury. I was able to attend four seminars before having to make a dash back across London to make my flight back to Dublin.


Session 1 – Keynote

The opening keynote speaker was Shawn Burns @shawnpburns, Global Head of Web and Digital Marketing, Schneider Electric

tweet SES London

The topic for Shawns session was How the Internet of Things can Improve Ecommerce and how big data will impact on your business, requiring a change in your digital marketing strategy.

The session was very enlightening, although quite broad in scope around the central topic. I learned some fascinating insights from Shawn and the work he is developing at Schneider Electric in relation to the “Internet of Things” and how his company are creating smart homes, smart buildings / offices and also smart cities / grids.


The ultimate aim of their ongoing research into smart devices and the “Internet of Things” is to offer energy savings, reduction of water losses, reduction of travel time and traffic delays which will in turn bring their customer social and economic benefits.

Since all our devices are connected to the “Internet of Things” there are huge amounts of data being measured constantly. The challenge for digital marketers is to consider this new consumer data and interpret what opportunities can be found by making sense of it all.

A few more insights from Shawn I thought were noteworthy in terms of website / mobile design and speed ranking factors.

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
  • If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year. which were not directly related to the topic

Session 2

Next I attended a session by Chris Howard from Shop DirectAre Audiences the new Keywords? Remarketing in 2015 and Beyond”.

Chris is Head of SEO at Shop Direct, responsible for driving profitable traffic across all of the retail group’s websites, including Very, Littlewoods, Isme and K&Co. Chris has more than a decade’s experience in client-side digital marketing for major ecommerce brands, including eBay and

Five years ago, only 20% of sales were from online channels (mail order was still big for these brands). Online sales now account for 86% of all revenue.

Direct Management. Interestingly, for many years the Shop Direct group outsourced their Google Adwords (for all 6 brands), but in the past 18 months they brought their campaign management in-house and have seen very significant revenue growth as a result of this one move.

Chris is a big fan of testing and running experiments with their Adwords campaigns and gave some advice on the methodology they use for optimising their campaigns.

  1. Modify Bids (adjust for mobile / tablets for optimal conversions)
  2. Test / Tailor Creative Ad Copy (experiment with your Ad copy for best results)
  3. Adjust Landing Pages (test and experiment with different landing page copy / layouts)

In relation to Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), Chris and his team had high hopes that Remarketing was a great fit for their online retail business and would bring about significant increases in revenue as has been the marketing hype of RLSA. However having run many RSLA campaigns Chris believes Remarketing has yet to live up to the hype.

google remarketing

The end result for Shop Direct using Google Adwords to drive revenue?  In one year they generated £22 million in revenue with Google Adwords, however only £700,000 could be attributed to using Google Remarketing (RSLA) or only 3% overall, a result that I found quite shocking. I’m shocked because I always felt that RLSA was a good fit for certain niches, especially online retail and in particular fashion / clothing / homewares. I would be interested to know from any readers of this blog who are using RLSA what their results have been like? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Session 3

Mobile SEO – How to Approach Your Mobile Strategy to Get It Right

Speakers: Shelley Appiah, SEO Manager, HomeServe Alliance and Adam Whittles, SEO Director, Maxus

Of all the sessions I was happy to learn that I was most confident in my current knowledge on this topic of Mobile marketing in relation to Local search. However Shelly gave a useful and informed presentation on the topic and delivered a few gems along the way.

Shelley Appiah, SEO Manager, HomeServe Alliance and Adam Whittles, SEO Director, Maxus
Shelley Appiah, SEO Manager, HomeServe Alliance and Adam Whittles, SEO Director, Maxus

In terms of Local SEO and Google My Business, Shelly spoke of how to improve your listing on Google My Busiuness by updating any old citations about your business that may exist on the web, for example when you move office and change address its important to find and update any citations to your new address.

Another important ranking factor for Local SEO is to get more reviews for your business from websites such as Yelp and of course on your Google My Business listing. I would recommend emailing your happy customers a link directly to your listing and ask them sincerely for a review, only ask the customers who really know your business, remember if you don’t ask you don’t get!

In relation to Mobile websites Shelly also gave some tips on how to audit your mobile website:

  1. Use the Google Mobile Friendly Test page, see how your site performs.
  2. Google Webmaster Tools – check for any URL errors on mobile. Check for faulty redirects if you have a separate mobile site. You can also spot / test a faulty mobile redirect in the search results. A faulty redirect would be forcing every URL that appears in the search results to
  3. Screaming Frog – use this tool to emulate the Google Mobile Bot and crawl your site to find any errors from a mobile perspective.
Google Mobile Test
Google Mobile Test


Session 4

Creating Value From Attribution Modelling

Speaker: Crispin Sheridan, VP, Digital Scale and Operations, Integrated Digital, SAP

Crispin is originally from Somerset in the UK but is based in New York and has worked at SAP for the past 16 years.

I found Crispin’s seminar to be very informative on the subject of multi-channel attribution in the sales process. He made a complex subject very easy to understand which was evident by his many years experience in testing and taking action where others shy away from such complex and sometimes tedious (and thankless?) analysis. At the end of the day, understanding the customer journey in the sales process and testing what works can reap huge rewards for your online business, especially in relation to ecommerce.

So what are some examples of Multi-Channel Attribution Models?

attribution models

1. Last Interaction/Last Click Attribution model.

2. Last Non-Direct Click Attribution Model.

3. Last AdWords Click Attribution Model.

4. First Interaction/First Click Attribution Model.

5. Linear Attribution Model.

6. Time Decay Attribution Model.

7. Position Based Attribution Model.

8. Customized/Personalized Attribution Model.

Some key takeaways from Chris:

  • Governance – Take action on testing attributions models, it must be done! For example Chris and his team discovered keywords that were popular in their PPC campaigns should also be used within the copy of the homepage content; when they took action here it resulted in higher conversion on their website.
  • Images of people are better than graphics / diagrams, images of computers / machines.
    They ran split tests on their web pages, adding in images with people resulted in a higher conversion every time.
  • Images of people looking into the camera directly are better than people looking away.
    I really liked this one! Again, from extensive testing they discovered a simple fact which lead to higher conversions.
  • WhichTestWon: 500 Split Test Results in our A/B Library
    The World’s Biggest Library of A/B & Multivariate Testing Case Studies. The purpose of this website is both informative and fun, you can browse a selection of landing page A/B samples and try to select a winner – guess which landing page won!


Session 5

Categorising the Web. How Topical Trust Flow Affects Everyone and Everything

Speaker: Dixon Jones, Marketing Director, Majesticmajesticseo2

As an SEO consultant there are some critical tools in your arsenal for investigating your competitors websites and exploring their backlink profiles. Majestic is one and Ahrefs and  Open Site Explorer from Moz are the others. These tools do a very similar job essentially, however each tool looks at the web slightly differently.

Dixon did a great job of explaining how Majestic works using their model of Trust Flow (TF) & Citation Flow (CF) to help determine how powerful and trustworthy any domain name is in relation to all other domain names in its database.

One critical takeaway for me was in relation to Link Building & relevance – Dixon advised that every back-link acquisition should be approved by PR/ Management, you only want to have backlinks from websites that are very relevant to your own niche.


Final thoughts..


I love London and the conference was to a very high standard, I wish I had been able to stay for the full two / three days, overall the trip was worth it but I have to say that the calibre of similar events in Dublin is equally high, one day in London is still quite an effort.

I look forward to the year ahead in 2015 and keeping one step ahead of the continuous learning curve for the benefit of all our clients at
Author: Graham Glynn