SASCON 2016: The Candidate Live Blog

Day one at SAScon, a lot of ground covered! Read on to learn about Chat bot's, Search marketing, paid search, PPC, Paid Media, Social Media, Display, Analytics, Tag marketing, influencer marketing, CRO, native advertising, virtual reality media and much much more. Read our live blogging from sessions here! 

SAScon is a two day Social Media, Search and Analytics conference, this year held in the MMU Business School on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th June 2016. Now in its 6th year it has become a must in any Digital Marketer's diary. We are here to keep you updated on what is happening and you can do this by following this our live blog, that we will be updated constantly throughout the day.  

Live Blog

08:30 Stand set up and ready to go....




Richard Gregory welcomes us to the 7th SAScon event!

What's new this year: play around with technology!


Talk to the SASbot - use the Messenger app and ask questions about the event! It's the first UK event bot. Like the SAScon facebook page first and then get started!




Lawrence Jones from UK Fast is welcoming us all

Manchester businesses have become number one for technicity and it is events like this where we can bring ideas together.

"Let us be the Manchester search company"

People demanded: Rather than clicking through each page, can you give us search results?

Speed is in our DNA of the company and we are here today because to meet fantastic people to create business ideas. Manchester is famous for creativity! It is the creativity up here that gives us the opportunities. I always thought: as long a i outsmart and outthink people we can achieve absolutely anything. Go out there and have fun with search, share everything you have learned!

Lets make Manchester the number one for technicity today!


Jim Banks from GROOVE is taking to the stage! This is his first speech in the North!


"There's no fool like an old fool". Making mistakes is where we learn how things work. So we're gonna talk about paid search, but how businesses works.

"What 17 years and spending £120 million taught me about PPC/Paid Media/Social Media/Display"



Follow Jim banks on Twitter @jimbanks and please follow him on LinkedIn as well


PPC history!


This is how websites used to look like! Blue and yellow were the perfect contrast colours (back then!)

Organic search was very important back then. But paid is getting big now. Back in the day, according to Jim Banks, PPC was Porn, Pills, Casinos.

In 2005, PPC was so simple displayed on the search engine result page.


This was the coolest search tool we had back then!


I built my summer house on one keyword! The keyword costed me 10 cents: Teletrack

Teletrack is like a credit racing bureau. I call this a Unicorn keyword! Which means that it is a keyword no one else have found.


Best Practises for today's PPC landscape


This is how paid search looks is now!

His advice....

Don't be obvious! Don't name your campaigns - "Top 10 keywords" unless you are throwing your competition curve ball. Think about how you can be better than everyone else! Find out through their data analytics. Use the human factor - Man will win over machine, every time. Use labels to "group" your cool stuff, keep the campaign/adgroup structure.

2. ZAG vs ZIG

Don't do something just because search engine tells you! Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) can work...Always use dedicated PPC landing pages - Devoid of fluff and don't just import Google to Bing and think you are done. It is a starting point! All platforms are different.


Always be testing hypothesis and be friendly with the search engines! Get on Betas. Be prepared to make mistakes and set aside ROI = 0% budget for tests.


  • Extentions (sitelinks, App, call, callout, image, location, review). Ratings have a massive impact on businesses image.  

  • Remarketing

  • Analytics

  • Tag Management

  • Quality Score = User Experience.

  • Move with your audience


  • The 7 P's
    People, Product, Place, Promotion, Process, Price, Patience


  • Cross device tracking

  • Virtual reality

  • Social growth

  • Bing growth

  • Google market share  

Q & A's
Richard asks  Jim's view on SEO:

This is what people still are looking for. Today there is a more consistent use of desktops etc. People use Google for organic search. Companies need to do both, where AdSpace is probably the most important for me.


We are ready with Stacey MacNaught from Tecmark and her talk about Creativity and Data!!  


The 5 stages of content failure

Step 1:

You have this amazing idea. Literally amazing.

Step 2: You convince your client that this will be the best thing to invest in.

Step 3: you invest hours into graphic , dev, etc.

Step 4: You launch your beautiful piece and things go down!

Step 5: You work out how you are going to salvage something and make things good again!


Using data to create content that answer questions. Everything starts with data and is the origin to predict customer behaviour.


WINNING with data. We're looking for National Press links, not social media likes..

Link building with data, you may have a lot of great content, but if there are no links, it will not be shown on the SERP. Data without stories, is just a load of old numbers.


What is good data?

  • Commission surveys, Your web analytics data, proprietary data, freedom of information data,

  • Credible

  • Timely

  • Impartial

  • Transparent source

 good data

If you really can't source your own data….There are options for that

  • gives you access to alot of consumer data

  • Google Public Data

  • Gov.UK Statistics


  • Timely

  • Relevant

  • Unexpected

  • New

  • Close to home

  • Human interest (People doing great stuff that makes us feel empathy, is how you get people's attention)

The linkable asset: How you can get the best coverage! It can be very simple. But needs links!


  • Buy consultants time from someone working in journalism right now. Bring someone in who has no interest in liking you. Then they are honest. But feel free to disagree in what they are saying.

  • Sanity check your story before you invest too heavily in promotion or assets. Use Reddit or Usability Hub!

  • Have a backup plan

  • Don't launch without a linkable asset


SOCIAL CHAIN- Steve Bartlett



We are ready with Steve Bartlett from Social Chain - the 23 year old guy who runs a 8 million pound business! They are in Berlin, London and New York, but Manchester will always be their home and headquarters.


Their Performing Monkey Trick: creating trendy hashtags on half an hour.

Millennials are heavily influenced by their peers. They created a football player  Rex Secco, taking from the event name: Soccerex. Twitter went crazy about this made up footballer, who was 16 year old and bought for £34 million. It created a media storm and was featured on 9000 websites around the world.


How did we get here?  How do we get their attention? = Steve created WallPark. They started anything University related. All the most popular social media pages are run by young people in their bedrooms. The next thing was influencers, who are influencing on social media? Social Chain owns most of these pages.


Why influencer marketing now?

There are few things that drive a sale more effectively than a positive WOM recommendation. As well as authority, one of Robert Cialdini's famous principles of persuasion is consensus / social proofing.  Everyone is talking about it and it's an arbitrage. Consumers are tired of paid advertising.

The Ripple effect- people build affinity with influencers and use these products , services etc


How do we do influencer marketing:

Pre-search: checking data. Think about consumers and what they care about. If someone like Puma and XFactor, then they can find out what influence them as consumers

T-Score: if you have pay #100 and get 3.52 engagements with one account and maybe pay #3000 for SnoopDog's account and only get 0.04 engagements. However some companies may go for more recognised stars.
  • Make people feel something-Don't introduce or tell people what something is. Just make them feel something about the content.

  • Driving consensus- Drive scarcity. People convincing you to something.


Each platform speaks a different language.  Always talk in the brand's own language. Growth on Snapchat is all about Word of Mouth

There is a massive impact if you just ask people to tag a friend in a post.

The psychology behind a good competition:

Perceived value of the reward



Average age of Social chain worker 22? We are too old to work at social chain :(



Do you face copyright issues?

Yes constantly reviews this and it is policed by platforms. We need to be very careful or face penalties. We don't chase our content. We produce content for it to be shared.

Watch out for Steve's advice on how to grow your snapchat- tomorrow!





We are here with James Hart, founder of Head & Hart and Francis Turner CRO at AdYouLike.

James thanks for everyone attending, 'didn't know so many people where scottish (tehe as hadn't bunked to watch the footie) 



We're all native now! This presentation is about branding in the digital age. In the real world, people don't care about advertising. Why is it true? We have more likelihood to be in a plane crash than clicking on a banner ad. You can't be considered if you haven't been noticed.


We expect high quality content on all media channels. Publishing is becoming a cost we're less willing to pay for.


We expect high quality content on all media channels, but publishing is becoming a cost we're less willing to pay for. There is a massive war with block ads, as more and more people in the world has downloaded software for adblocking. When brands stop listening people stop trusting what they say. When we forget we are being sold to we are more likely to buy!

James argue: Native is culture. Brands can be this - blend in to the culture.

James suggest books: How brands can become icons! Douglas B Holt and The hidden Persuaders Vance Packard.  



Think about your brand being native

Great framework: Customer, Culture, Context, Content. Start with the customer, then understand their culture and understand their story.


Culture connect people together and give you a mass audience. Culture keeps brands connected to people, not advertising. So listen before you talk - remember the 4 C's for communication: Customer, Culture, Context, Content


Now catching up with Francis Turner, CRO at Adyoulike, who are a native ad platform through technology. Deliver better ad experiences for brands, publishers and users.

Francis talks about the history of native.

Interesting facts:

6 out of 10 people don't read beyond the headlines

59% find native ads interesting

14% don't find native ads interesting


Change of scene! We're ready with Social Commerce. Talks from Ann Stanley from Annica Digital and Rob Hughes from JD Williams.


Rob starts with explaining social commerce on a paid media perspective

Convert Paid Media:

Get the creative right // Price - promotions - discount led

Device // bespoke content


Engage :

We want to understand the value of our socially engaged audience

Hypothesis// socially engaged customers are worth more

Process// which of our customers are socially engaged? How does this affect buying habits?



Ann Stanley talks search!

About Annica


About Ann and Sam


Shopping in search

Previous research on Bing PLA's vs AdWords shopping has also shown smilar variability by brand and sector.


Sam talks statistics within social commerce, showcasing that paid search is not the way forward for businesses and you need to think about social as a tool for multiple things, like your customer service teams etc.


Robert Scoble, Futurist- Rackspace

robert scoble


We're here with Robert Scoble from Futurist-Rackspace who will talk about beyond mobile!

We're heading into the world with a new interface. Rob is showing how we digitise the world, which will be developed into everyday items like glasses, so we can see 3D and other evolving technology. 

Everything you are about to see, exist today. Rendered visions of the future are not used. He showcase videos using Google Tengo and city-scale mapping in three dimensions. Such as real time 3d room capture on your phone but the problem is distribution - we don't own this as personal items. Maybe next year 2% will, but there is still alot of development.  

future glasses

They are expensive and strange looking, but they are showing a new future world. The glasses can also be used and understand things, as we can see things.

Magic Leap got a $3 billion dollar investment of software, so people can have 4K screen on top of the real world through the glasses. This will replace screens, so we will virtualise the screens using glasses. The software works, but it is so early stages that needs a lot of development and investment.  Amazon is working on one, Facebook is also working on this. They are gonna put high speed wireless around us, so we actually don't need mobiles anymore! You can even control computers with these glasses only by using your eyes.


Holographic glasses: 
You start thinking about new kind of education; you can point at things, twist things.  The military are already using and developing this, but they are always 3 years ahead of consumerism.


Google tilt brush, where you can draw things in the air, but you see it virtually through the glasses. The new disney park in China that opened yesterday was completely created through VR. Companies like Ford use VR instead building clay models etc. to showcase new products. A guy in Seattle use VRM to show apartments.   

A guy in Seattle use VRM to show apartments and they say in the future that they can show virtual cosmetics and we will definitely buy this.

Rob believes that there will be big cultural changes in the future.


A lot of new campaigns will come with VRM. These glasses are gonna control your car and interact with the world.  All machines we are using today will have internet and be controlled by machines.


Self-driving cars. Mercedes one is behind the Google system.

mercedes car

The Google car has 7 censors that grabs data and bring the data in, so it starts learning about your behaviour.   

google car 


This technology is gonna put a lot of people out of work, but there are lot of companies coming up using machine learning which takes data. This technology can even assist agriculture to optimise profit and production.    


A camera in Madison Square Garden which has all the information about everyone at the stadium through his technology. Apps are evolving, where you order, pay and go get the product at a certain time, so you don't have to interact with other humans.


What is the biggest disruption about to come to advertising?
You are being tracked by Facebook- selling beacons to stores as they know you have been in there.

Still very behind i.e after buying a car still get car ads
Well guys thats all from us today! We are off to The Candidate Social at DogBowl see you there!