It’s been over a week since the Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference 2013 and my first visit to Iceland. Both the conference and my stay as a whole were amazing. I can say that the place and people have gone straight to my list of favourites. A return visit is already on the cards!
The conference is one of the best I’ve attended – a good balance of talks and networking. Attendees and speakers were varied in background and of a global mix which gives some great insights.
Main RIMC Themes
I’m not going to write about the individual talks as there are plenty of good posts on that already (see links at the bottom of this post). What I will do however is outline a few of the main themes I took from the conference. These were reoccurring across several of the talks and are issues which I believe are particularly current in the industry.
‘Mobile’ is nothing new. ‘Mobile strategy’, ‘responsive’ and other such buzzwords have been in every conference agenda for the past few years. But still, businesses successfully implementing such things at a practical level are in the minority.
Stats support that a responsive approach isn’t just viable from a business perspective, it’s critical.
Rich Quick from Arnold Clark presented some excellent ‘real world’ examples of how they have implemented a responsive approach, demonstrating just how effective it can be (and not necessarily complicated).
So basically – stop talking ‘mobile’ start doing. It’s already been proved, now do it.
Data/automation vs intelligence/experience
A keynote from Dennis Mortensen of Visual Revenue discussed the topic of algorithmic vs human decisions. His conclusion – use data and algorithms to support human decisions rather than be controlled by them.
The concept sounds pretty obvious when you summarise it like that, however finding the balance between the two sides is no easy task, albeit an interesting one.
I find the same principles apply when considering how much of a task can be automated against the need for human input. It’s a difficult balance to achieve, but essential for scalable digital marketing.
Unfortunately I didn’t make the first day’s sessions so missed a talk from Bing’s Duane Forrester on ‘Overlap between Search and Social’. I did however gather some interesting snippets from those who were there:
- Only 1 in 4 queries deliver successful result
- 42% of sessions require further refinement
- Half of all search sessions last for longer than 30 minutes
- 44% of sessions lasting day or more
- Almost 50% of queries are returning to previous tasks
Understanding the search journey is essential when looking at both how to target searchers and how to measure success. Top level stats such as these aren’t going to surprise seasoned digital marketers, but they can be invaluable in illustrating the diversity of search behaviour to clients and stakeholders.
It’s a battle that search marketers have fought for some time now; to get clients to focus on what really matters rather than legacy or vanity metrics. The ultimate measurement of success will always be monetary, we’re all trying to make money in some way or another. Before this comes KPI’s, one of which is inevitably keyword rankings, this is where much misunderstanding comes into play. It’s difficult to shift focus from ‘core’ or vanity rankings, in some cases these do deserve significant attention, however more often than not they provide only a tiny proportion of potential searches.
Good analytics, alongside attribution modelling and other such data driven methodologies can help us try to unravel search journeys, but what’s more important is that we try to understand the behaviour. I’ve always believed that psychology plays a massive part in search marketing.
To summarise – it’s more important than ever for us to focus on what really works (i.e. drives response). Long gone are the days of targeting individual keyword rankings (exceptions aside). But this also needs to be communicated outwards which is no easy task.
Other things I learnt in Iceland…
- Icelandic men produce impressive beards.
- All Icelandic people can sing or play an instrument.
- Icelanders often live up to the Viking stereotype.
- Fermented whale tastes lovely.
- It’s not always cold in Iceland (Bloody roasting at times).
- Always look up, you may see funny things in the sky.
- Iceland is pretty amazing.
*One or more of the above points may not be strictly true.
I’m sure everyone would agree it wouldn’t be fair not to thank Manual Link Building for sponsoring some pretty impressive hangovers.
RIMC Writeups and Resources
RIMC Coverage from Jackie Hole and Alex Moss on State of Search:
RIMC Writeup from Craig Kanalley in the Huffington Post:
RIMC Live blogging from Dan Bell: