SES Chicago Rundown (2013)

Kevin Lee, Daina Middleton, Adam Singer speaking at SES Chicago

Kevin Lee, Daina Middleton, Adam Singer speaking at SES Chicago

Here I share some of my learnings and key take-aways from the SES Chicago conference (#SESchi). I tried to capture the most interesting tidbits for the sessions I attended. SEO, authorship, SEM / Paid search, B2B social media were some of my key interests for this conference. I also created a Twitter List of some key people to follow on Twitter for the conference.


Marketing and The Age of Participation [keynote]

Diana Middleton, Global Chief Executive Officer, Performics

  • Consumer is participant
    • Brands should inspire participation
    • Dialogues for brands feel scary
    • Marketing through participation– mobile, real time actions are important
    • The participation way– discover (human desire for knowledge) – empower – connect with others = increased participation
    • Ads for content– this is a fair trade
    • “Nurturist” Marketer– your work starts when the campaign launches
      • Is your company nurturist friendly? What percent is test and learn? Do managers champion innovation?
      • If you see something that works, scale it
      • 30% of budget is testing and learning for progressive companies right now
      • Embrace failures in the pursuit of results
      • Innovate, don’t perfect– big mentality shift from past marketing tactics
      • We (marketers) are no longer the great persuaders
      • Persuasion marketing in its purest form is dead
      • Substitute word participant for consumer (to change the thinking)

Next Generation Paid Search: Reaching the Consumer in an Omni-Channel World

Mark Canabou, Vice President, Global Search Business, Yahoo!

  • Seen huge increase in mobile traffic
  • Search is cool again – lots of innovation based on where the users are going
  • Future of search is mobile – will be as big as PC display
  • Shopping activity is fragmenting and are more complicated
  • Super Bowl was only 20% content – ads, halftime show, and other  content made up the rest
  • Yahoo saw mobile and PC traffic spike during the superbowl
  • You must have integrated marketing
  • Review sites matter when users research purchasing decisions
  • Search still most important to complete a shopping transaction
  • Rise of native ads is important – integrated Facebook ads
  • Integrated ads perform better – 38% vs 28% for regular display ads (like on
  • In-feed ads noticed as much as content
  • Will be difficult to measure ROI
  • Actions
    • Good ad copy matters – be fun, bold, up-to-date, entertaining, interactive
    • Ad extensions greatly increase engagement “super huge gains”
    • Site link extensions, call extensions, location extensions
    • Combine extensions to gain performance
    • Marriage of old and new tactics

Bill Mungoven, Director of Product Strategy, Advertising Solutions, Adobe

  • What drives search?
  • New trends
    • Infinite scroll ads (
    • Convergence of paid owned, earned
    • The new super channel
    • Unified data repository – get all your data from online and offline
    • Make Analytics work for you
    • Capture device with URL parameters
    • Report on mobile vs. non mobile
    • Shopping ads– Product Listing Ads (PLAs)
      • PLAs Spike during holidays
      • PLAs perform well
      • Participate in PLAs
      • Bid at most granular level for best performance
      • Include good promotional text / ad copy
      • Email still works great as a channel
      • Last click attribution will go away – we will get smarter

SEO in the Boardroom: Leveraging Relevant Metrics

Alan K’necht, Partner, Digital Always Media, Inc.

  • Know your audience
  • Consider their needs- understand their motivations, bonuses etc.
  • Don’t throw out technical acronyms – “reduce cost per acquisition” increases their bonus
  • Keep talks simple
  • Use a treasure map – major milestones on the map, where we are, what is the goal – ROI?
  • Talk to financial department to get real ROI numbers for company investments to make comparisons. Also, the HR department can get cost per employee.
  • Be concise. Set realistic expectations. Why should they care?
  • C-suite might be skeptical. You might need data to back up your claims / presentation.

Ryan Jones, SEO Manager, SapientNitro

  • Some metrics are best left to yourself
  • C-suite does not care about technical metrics
  • Simplify reporting
  • Boss: Am I spending my money effectively?
  • Find out what your boss’s bonus metric is
  • Your job is to get to your boss promoted. Secretly they are thinking, “will this come back to bite me in the ass?”
  • Reporting: what’s the number? Analytics: what should I do?
  • Use storytelling when talking to c-suite
  • Read the room- expand on what’s catching their attention

Conversion Optimization Tricks That’ll Leave You Singing, “Danke Schoen!”

Angie Schottmuller, Director of Interactive Strategic Planning & Optimization, Three Deep Marketing

  • For every $92 spent on acquiring only $1 spent on conversions
  • How compelling are your meta descriptions?
  • Optimize your organic snippets like a paid ad.
  • Rich snippets boost CTR 20-30%
  • Use ratings and reviews | breadcrumbs rich snippets
  • Explainer videos (show how something works) boost conversion 20%
  • Caption images
  • Gather testimonials and proof
  • Google rich snippets can pull out of context information, perhaps to your benefit
  • One page, one purpose for user queries
  • Optimize font sizes for age – point size should be equal to half your target’s age
  • Plan a clear path for goal completion
  • Prove you are the best solution for a problem

Search Marketing Power Tools Set: SEO & PPC

Bob Tripathi, Founder, Instant E-Training

SEO Tools:

Matt Van Wagner, President, Find Me Faster

SEM Tools:

  • AdWords and Bing (Ads Intelligence) have great tools that improve over time
  • AdGooroo – competitive tool
  • Acquisio – bid and budget management algorithms
  • Ad Guardian – saves money when site goes down
  • AdAlysis – notifies you of statistical significance changes in AdWords

Creating Campaigns That Count: The Impact of Converged Media [keynote]

Kevin Lee, CEO, Didit | Daina Middleton, Global Chief Executive Officer, Performics | Adam Singer, Analytics Advocate, Google

  • K- consumers influence, not clients
  • D- illusion of control
  • A- technology is not an excuse for bad creative
  • A- brand is becoming performance
  • D- today’s marketing environment is like gardening – must nurture
  • A- example – convert first, then market – get your processes right then generate demand
  • A- diversify sources of traffic – be safe
  • A- it’s easy to measure when you know your users – Google Universal Analytics – move from client side tracking to server side
  • A- stitch sessions together from mobile and desktop
  • A- I think social is better for B2B than B2C because of the nurturing process
  • D- you can’t go into marketing now without math skills
  • A- you need data analysis skills to be in marketing
  • A- ads are useful – the future of ads? They are invisible to the user.

Big Data Uncovered: How to Gather, Analyze, and React to New Customer Behavior

Thad Kahlow, CEO, BusinessOnline | Kevin Lee, CEO, Didit


  • Enterprise value paradigm
  • Greatest company asset – customer relationship
  • Comparison between GM and Facebook – fortunes rise and fall in short times
  • Every marketing dollar must be shown to offer value – this is the future
  • Because barriers to entry are low, customer relationships are paramount
  • Data framework
    • Close sales and marketing loop
    • Attribute success
    • Drive business outcomes
    • If you understand the buyers journey you can see 15-20% lift in sales – Forrester
    • Attribution model type – single touch / rules-based
    • Single touch assigns too much weight
    • Rules based is arbitrary
    • Setup click to chat only for high lead score / interested prospects. On average, $7 a chat
    • Company-level attribution
    • Use Demandbase to get company info via IP address
    • Predictive modeling – use to predict inventories, etc.


  • Many faces of big data
  • Big data helps to move the odds in your favor
  • Increase conversions / larger purchase / etc.
  • Google search network with display select
  • Google hummingbird is an example of Google using big data
  • Use big data to create inbound links
  • My current mantra is audience
  • Bid more based on market – higher basket amount, I can bid more. Knowing your audience gives you the edge
  • Google using personalized search – should you change your site based on this? Device, location, etc.
  • Google using structured data for paid ads: sometimes more relevant than organic results
  • Facebook graph – people volunteer data you can leverage

Rethink B2B Marketing / How to Turn B2B Social into a Lead Gen Machine

Michelle Killebrew, Program Director, Strategy & Solutions, Social Business, IBM | John Lee, Manager, Brand & Social Marketing, Webtrends


  • Personas help
  • Focus your content – meet their needs
  • Show not tell – video webinars, interactivity, sharing
  • Use pre-populated tweets to share – make it easy for your users
  • Hash tags for campaign names


  • Only 5% of brands are happy with their social
  • 6,000 tweets / second. Your content can get buried
  • Too much self-promotion – users will tune you out
  • It’s not about you
  • Plan all your steps after the first click
  • Twitter can work for lead gen
  • Twitter Lead Gen Cards
    • Tweets with photos get 3-4x clicks
    • Tweets with CTAs get 13% more clicks
    • Auto lead capture – no leaving Twitter
    • Slight problem – users don’t use corporate email address with twitter
    • Raw leads increased 996%
    • CPL decreased 500%
    • 3x ROI vs. Facebook and LinkedIn with same content
    • Put tips in the content – not “here is a new white paper”
    • Encourage immediacy
    • Be clear about how users will get their information / asset
    • 200% higher open rates on twitter lead gen cards emails to leads
    • 4x improvement in CTRs

Social Media and the C-Suite: Building a Compelling Business Case

Michelle Stinson-Ross, Director of Social Marketing, Digital Always Media | Jasmine Sandler, CEO, Agent-cy


  • Get your CEO involved in the brand voice
  • What can we do to make their life easier
  • Audience of one -CEO
  • Is your CEO concerned about maintaining the company’s reputation?
  • Demonstrate how social media can cut costs with customer service


  • Why lack of c-suite buy-in?
    • No clear ROI
    • Identify the social media team
    • Social can build brand lift
    • Measure sales from social
    • When you have leads, you can sell social media to your CEO
    • Analyze what your competitors are doing
    • $100-200k /year – social media is a real investment
    • 60% of online corporate buying decisions are influenced by the CEO brand. CEO must be involved – branding themselves helps the company

Reaching More Customers, Higher in the Search Funnel

Jordan Koene, Head of SEO & Content Development, eBay

  • Users consider 3-5 brands during the purchase process
  • How do you find users in the research phase?
  • Customers love reviews. Amazon has reviews- eBay needed to compete with them and their high rank
  • What did eBay do?
    • Create long-form content
    • eBay Guides – new creation to build content
      • Asking users to write 250 words. Big investment ask from people.
      • eBay incentivizes users to write guides
      • Internal links do make a difference for traffic
      • Reducing bounce rate will cause a rise in search ranking pages
      • Use SearchMetrics tool to gauge performance
      • Iterate on your experience – constantly change
      • Think mobile, get links

Joining the Dots: Maximizing Marketing Returns in a Socially Connected World [KeyNote]

Nick Burcher, Head of Social Media, EMEA, MediaCom

  • The world is getting less bored
  • Google searches triggered from TV watching
  • Two types of audiences- passive and active
  • Original communication model needs updating sender -> receiver
  • Feedback loop is expanding
  • APIs enabling personalization
  • Use social listening to listen to consumers
  • Patterns in the social data can help planning – “shopping” spikes on Sunday
  • Listening goals:  what – where – which – who – when- worth
  • Paid owned and earned coming together – paid boosts owned and earned
  • Super Bowl TV ad can supercharge owned and earned
  • Use paid when the time is right – but have the pump primed
  • Use hashtags and link call to action
  • Content acts as social fuel
  • Why would they care and why would they share it?
    • Bring value to others
    • Define ourselves to others
    • Grow and nourish relationships
    • Self-fulfillment
    • Get the word out about causes or brands
    • See NY Times “psychology of sharing”
    • Tell the story in different ways – use the strengths of the channel
    • Create the content calendar
      • Top-line – lists all significant POE marketing activities
      • Rolling content calendar site underneath- more detailed and more responsive
      • Create a social brand voice – be human / approachable
      • Tap into cultural moments – coke capitalizing on royal baby
      • Product placement in content – Avicii music video / Sony / Ralph Lauren
      • The challenge is getting noticed
      • Little chains pass content now – not one huge network anymore
      • Native advertising – non-interruptive – relevant – visually integrated
        • Enables quick response
        • Social and data is now in everything – always on
        • See the big picture
        • The more connected your business, the better

Author Rank: Getting the Credit You Deserve

Eric Enge, CEO, Stone Temple Consulting | Shari Thurow, Founder & SEO Director, Omni Marketing Interactive


  • You can use email address as validation for author linking with Google+ in addition to standard methods
  • Use structured data testing tool
  • Only use authorship markup for articles
  • Can increase CTR 38% – take with grain of salt
  • Google in-depth articles section will move around in the SERP
  • In-depth articles seems to be driven by PublisherRank
  • Build your authority with humans on the web
  • The company you keep matters – authority of the publisher matters to you and your article
  • Authoritative people sharing your content gives it juice


  • No authorship unless you’re not connecting to Google+ – some authors don’t care to be on Google+
  • Keywords are most important and snippet – not perceived link attractiveness
  • Keep a clear and consistent labeling system
  • Easy access
  • Validation – authoritative people connected to the content
  • Title, URL, and headings should support each other
  • Spell out your abbreviations
  • Accessibility: shortest URL, no funky characters
  • Don’t restrict access to content
  • Link to related content – like academic articles
  • You add more links to an article when you have more content
  • Huffington post archives a good model for archiving content – pagination, snippets
  • Link development still best vs. social signals
  • Authorship can negatively affect rankings – it’s markup and at this time does not factor into the Google search algorithm
  • Be the expert – people can sniff out fakers

Mobile Targeting: Using the Right Aggregate Data to Reach Your Target Audience

Lauren Moores, VP of Analytics, Dstillery | Ambrish Verma, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft


  • Mobile is like display for search
  • 59% of smartphone users made at least 1 purchase
  • Location can create context
  • Creative – audience segmentation
  • Segmentation
    • People who travel to airports
    • Time of day, etc.
    • Use location for intent
    • Local search
    • Change content and messaging based on location
    • Find a segmentation and scale it – use cross-channel
    • Visualization – create heat maps to better understand the data


  • Mobile is driving discovery and decisions
  • 84% of mobile users use phone in store to make decisions
  • Categories drive mobile searches – some more, some less
  • Mobile users looking to save time money and hassle– but the users offer more
  • Device targeting – segment devices – they are different
  • Click-to-call drives higher engagement
  • Site link extensions provide ease of task completion
    • Shorten conversion funnel

Using Social PPC Content Distribution to Dominate

Marty Weintraub, Founder & Evangelist, aimClear

  • Targeting is not the problem anymore
  • Psychographic targeting / human life cycles for deeper funnel entry
  • Want: insulation from harsh SEO updates
  • Content is many things – Facebook post / Twitter post / Etc. – you can link build for these because they have public URLs for the content
  • Content and distribution are two different things
  • Conversion, SEO, friendship – what we want from content
  • Paid organic amplification
    • Amplify what works organically
  • Facebook ads can be very effective when highly targeted with good content
  • Psychographic – interests, cultural, tech, heart & soul
  • Drive traffic to Google+ page to get SEO benefit from friends of your target

Comments From Facebook Users