LiveBlogging SAScon

­The Candidate are live blogging all day from SAScon Beta at Manchester Metropolitan University Union. Stay up to date with all the action by following  The Candidate  on Twitter (@TheCandidateUK) and following the  #SASconBETA   hashtag.


Everyone's mingled for a while and is now seated. We are ready for the welcome speech! 

Free Wi-Fi today - u/n MMU Guest p/w University

Simon Wharton- Thanks to our sponsors - 'The Candidate, SEMRUSH, MPA and Juice Academy.'

Come to the session at 1030 to hear the report from The Candidate on 'Management in Digital' and how this may impact the Digital Skills Shortage.

0947 Nick Wilsdon, Global Channel Optimisation - Vodafone Group comes on stage - Welcome!

There are lots of software being discussed by Nick, e.g. Changedetection. Changedetection - put in a page URL and the site will tell you when it changes. Then you'll get an SMS to say when it changes. So keeping on top of the robot text changes. Free and simple tip to make you look like a god! Set it up for content watches. What a simple way of setting up alerts!

For a large company, how do you centralise communication to turn into content and SEO friendly communications? Well they use Slack for this - have a look.

SOASTA and Linkdex are great for automated, centralised reporting.

Heard of a Checklist Manifesto?

For £6 get this book and work out how to get things right! SEO is so complex, so if you create a checklist of the things that need to be done, you'll be at an advantage. E.g. a checklist for a content producer and how that all fits into your SEO strategy.

Network within your organisation and understand that knowledge and data are your currencies.

How does content marketing work?

 Get stuck into your SEO content marketing, but you need to spin off the larger brand campaign which will use their budget. Take advantage of budgets which you wouldn't usually have access to, explain they need to utilise second screens as a consumer will see the advert and then open up the website on a laptop. Sell the Legacy!

Why do you need an enterprise SEO tool?

To rebuild the key word understandings Google has removed, especially for more advanced strategies. These tools will offer training, and great partnerships.

Nick says 'SEO strategies should be wrapped up and packaged!' This could include to fix broken links or improve across device handset pages and deep app linking which needs to be sold into the business friendly strategy.

'A good business case' needs to be supported by data, with measurable and time bound goals, which needs to fit the businesses commercial awareness.

SEO NEEDS TO BECOME SEO FRIENDLY. All of us Google Trends data right? Did you know Google Trends lets you download data by month?

CYFE is a great tool for anyone who wants a tool that can do it all for you which is low cost and you can play with Google Trends data.

'No one can whistle a sympathy; it takes an orchestra'

Nick shows us a business friendly way to roll out an SEO cycle

What will 2016 bring? 2016 will challenge us to become 'Search Architects' by offering better user friendly journeys.


Session coming to an end followed by Q&A in the main hall. 

Q - How do you manage the check list mentioned earlier?

A - There needs to be an initial checklist, then get it added onto from other departments e.g. analytics team input, UX team input - all enhancing the SEO activity. The SEO needs to be on top of the check list management and therefore process management. If the checklist or document becomes 13 pages then it is too long - needs to be one page. E.g. checklist - the best way to optimise a WordPress blog. 

Q - How do you deal with commercial clients who want an insight into your SEO checklist?

 A - Well the checklist is actually part of the overall package that is presented to the client in the first place, as part of the strategy and then keep them updated on the development of the strategy and how the SEO activity is evolving. 

Don't forget this is the year that mobile traffic over took desktop traffic so strategies are changing and evolving e.g. how does this impact apps and downloads in this area. 

Nick is around for a coffee later if anyone wants any more information!

Thanks Nick! 

Over to Room 2 for a session on 'Digital Skills in The Industry' with Sanday Lindsay from Tangerine PR & The Juice Academy and David Edmundson-Bird from MMU. Chaired by Simon Wharton from PushON.

David Edmundson-Bird talks about the steps MMU have made to successfully integrate with the industry and help the skills shortage. Lots of MMU staff have commercial backgrounds to help engage with the industry and help reduce the skills shortage. 

Sandy from Tangerine highlights how digital and offline have merged significantly and share the skills shortage issue. A few years ago they worked with teenagers to create apprentices to feed the industry with talented people. 


Sandy explains how at Tangerine, when someone becomes a manager they do a 6 week training course. They do this by getting a coach in to help develop their skills and improve performance.

Simon questioned whether management training differs across agencies which are scalable. Is it only for medium/large sized agencies and too much for small agencies who are very client orientated? 


Agencies still saying that they don't have the time for an apprentice. How can that help the skills shortage?


Sandy (MD of Tangerine) talks about how she began when she was given her industry break. Now she is doing very well and helping to train hundreds of people who want to be involved in the industry.


David hears from 17 year olds who think that going into digital marketing is risky and rather go for generic programmes like English, where there isn't as much of a skills shortage. The university debt is having a large impact on choice of course and direction. 


Sandy has come into contact with people who are scared of apprenticeships, people seem to feel like if they don't go down the graduate route then they won't be successful. 


The Juice Academy - approx 93% retention from apprenticeships. 

1105 - If you have a successful intern or apprentice - why don't you blog about it and promote it to spread the word about how impactful it can be! The industry should be helping itself. 

1107 - Are we seeing older people (rather than younger graduates) applying for roles now looking to re-skill and help the industry? Job applications for entry level jobs now including older people looking to change job - we all need to consider them too. Look at their soft skills for management potential. 


Are parents discouraging their children from going down a digital marketing route? They'd rather have them educated for other more traditional careers which they think will be better for them in the long run. 


Worried about taking a risk with graduates or apprentices? Remember, even taking on experienced people doesn't always work out.


Are universities full of people who don't want to study? They are forced to be there and could actually be hands on with digital marketing!


Over to the main room now with a talk from Ben Wightman, The Head of Paid Search at Latitude to share his thoughts on Scientific PPC Advertising.

Ben's here to share with us how to do less work and create more profit. We're listening!!

He's giving us a 9 step process linking back to a live case study 'Game of Loans' which is yes, linked to 'Game of Thrones'.

Scientific Advertising - buy the book, everyone should read it! Google it! Hopkins said 'Everyone should read this 7 times before going into Advertising.'

Mr Hopkins who wrote the book said that 'Tests are important to understand the customers'. 

Step 1: Ask a simple question

Make it clear and concise. What are you trying to achieve? It must be achievable and realistic.

Step 2: Gathering and Analysing Research

Gathering research will help to devise any experiment. Relevant stats or case studies from relevant industries or someone with similar findings. You want to have as much information as possible to get a successful experiment. Google trends can give some very insightful insights. Make sure to look across different search engine platforms - Google, Yahoo, Bing and then move on to social platforms - Facebook, Twitter these sights offer great insights back. This can be done from personal social media profiles and can target specific people.

The hack! If a rivals uses a link you can find out all their insights but copying and pasting the link and then adding a +. It will give a range of really insightful insights.

From this research the question you're looking to answer could need changing and breaking down; making more specific.

Step 3: Form a hypothesis 

Step 4: Make some predictions

If you have numerical research you can gather all this together and fill in any gaps with guesses/previous research.

From this, make some predictions and it doesn't matter if you get anything wrong. Floors in assumptions are good.

Step 5: Define the testing conditions

Outline the requirements and conditions to effectively test all predictions.

Step 6: Run the test

Knowing how to control the predicated test, just let everything go and run. Use the conditions you have defined. Don't change any information as results will be invalid.

Step 7: Gather results

Enter results into a table which was already created from predictions 

Step 8: Form Conclusions and conduct analysis

What does the test tell us? Expect to prove predictions, Hopkins said 9/10 predictions will be wrong.

Put predications and results side by side to find what the conclusions are and what differed. You can then use this evidence for future campaigns - especially if budgets are low.

Step 9: Recommend actions

Could we have improved the campaign?

List the conclusions. The beauty of this is that it should become easier for the next project because you've already put that time and effort into the campaign previously

Q - KPI's and setting bench marks - How long would the test last for? How do you know how to stop?

A- Use existing campaigns to work these out, what social channels have what conversion rates and it also depends on the data which is available to you.

The split text confidence calculators are quite useful here as it can give you an estimate requirement for the experiment. If you have a limited data set and need a quicker test you can run statistical methods which will help to get solid data. The tools are out there, data scientists are viable.

Thanks Ben! It was a great insight into scientific PPC campaigns. 

Now it's time for refreshments. Make sure to get involved with our Christmas competition!

Back to the main room for A pure piece of self-indulgence from the Makers of SAScon (apparently) - The Best Newsjacker around, Lyndon Antcliff.


What is Newsjacking?

It's all about having the right mental attitude alongside a true love to be able to succeed. Newsjacking isn't something you would do by itself.


How to get people back to the website. A lot of psychology goes into this; you have to know what people are all about.


The headline must have an emotional intent with the least amount of words possible, and it's all about telling a story with an emotional subconscious intent going on. However, you need to have clever engagement as the headline can't just promise, the content has to deliver. Then the emotional stance will then be crafted to get people to have a reaction.


Creative people will realise that content is not king, but rather all about influence persuasion. If the content is going to succeed, you have to change the person's mental state, they need to have a reaction. Otherwise what's the point?


'Content is merely a mechanism for transferring a thought' this thought is then down to psychology and pushing people to react to what someone is saying. Content is not the point; the point is to change to reaction. 


But why Newsjacker?

If Newsjacking works, it really works well. In turn, this is then transferred into High ROI and has a low cost to do. However, the problem is that it may take years to be able to get to that point of writing perfected and effective Newsjacking content. The upside is, if you fail at Newsjacking - no one notices, because it hasn't gone viral - it is hard to do, even if it sounds simple. 


An Addict or a Dealer?

What type of addict are you?

Edward Jenner? Just 1 person in the room raised their hand.

Ada Lovelace? Only a few people in the room raised their hand.

Tommy Flowers? No one knows this name - nobody in the room raised their hand

Kim Kardashian? Everyone - even though people didn't want to put their hand up

3 people who have done incredible things yet no one really knows of them, where as a good dealer would use Kim Kardashian for their Newsjacking as she's most likely to be clicked on and read about, over Edward Jenner or Ada Lovelace. 


You really have to love the news to become a perfect Newsjacker as you have to expect the unexpected. You have to write content with a twist and fast - a publishing machine. You also have to pick the biggest news story of the day as you're not there to educate people, but to grab attention of the viewer. 

'Oreos Newsjacking' - Perfect idea of Newsjacking


To be an effective Newsjacker you have to provide psychographic content, write as though you in the mind of the viewer, a viewer who will give you a reaction. Dealing them the right drug.


The human mind in 3 minutes.

Conscious Brain - Deals with the listening and speaking parts of the processes and as we only do 40 processes at once, the sub conscious brain steps in.

Sub conscious Brain - Can perform 11 million processes at once compared to the conscious brain at only 40 processes at once. This is the emotional part of the brain - it's very irrational and is where impulses happen.

Primal Brain - this is the part of the brain you need to appeal too. It's the ancient part of the brain and wired to keep you alive by responding to fear and danger.

Thanks to Lydon, for this awesome insight into Newsjacking! Really insightful. 

Looks like lunch is next! Don't forget to tweet your Christmas selfie to win some festive prizes. #SASconAllTheWay

Everyone's fed and watered! It's now time to hear from Twitter!! 

Talking about Why Video! 


First up, why do we go to Twitter? To see things which are happening right now!

Twitter has 320 Million monthly active users yet 500million who see tweets outside of Twitter.


Twitter is awesome because it's LIVE, this lets people and friends interact and connect with other and things which they are interested in.


Twitter is very cleverly linking apps and videos to both individuals and demographic as tweets are viewed more from the twitter platform, and Videos are 6x more likely to be retweet than images.


It's all about interaction.

Periscope has only been around since March but has grown very quickly and is used to interact with anyone the world NOW. 

Brands use periscope to show consumers exactly what they want as they can target who follows them. It's also a way celebrities can interact with brands and consumers.


SAScon's first successful Periscope Mexican Wave!  Check it out here.

With a quick overview of Twitter Moments, everyone at SAScon is very excited for this come to the UK!

Moments is about getting specific content to people, fast and NOW.

Thanks Dennis, that was amazing!


Next up its Chris Callaghan, User Experience Lead, Lakestar McCann to talk about A/B testing. 

A/B testing? A is the control and then B is the variant. Then after that it gets a little more complex than that!  


It's all about what consumers see consciously and sub consciously when viewing and the amount that they can process at any one time. This applies to websites and user's experiences as they are browsing. Business needs to be aware of how different customers react to websites and what influences their purchasing activities. 


If we want to change behaviours so that more people convert, we must first understand the people. @CallaghanDesign #SASconBeta #CRO


The problem with proper A/B testing is now that there are too many tools and not enough talking to customers. eConsultancy saw a correlation between those doing more tests per month and the lower the impact. Limit your tests and make them useful!


So what tools are there?

 hotjar, monetate, formisimo, Google Analytics, maxymiser, Sessioncam, crazyegg, UserTesting and Optimizely.

They all do different things and have lots of different qualities, from forms to transaction pages to video recordings of your customers activities! Amazing, eh?!


 Careful though, these tools tell you HOW people do things, but you know what, they don't use the WHY. Why are they making these decisions? That's the crucial bit, let's unlock it. Tell us Chris - how do we do that?


We'll we're onto the 'reservoir of good will' - all about user's cognitive actions when using the website. Getting to understand your customers will dictate how your website looks and feels. 

Shelly Slater, who works at John Bradshaw, talks now all about SEO & Marketing on a Shoestring for Small Business in room.


Benefits of working in a Small Business is that when you have a thought or comment about a change, you can put that into place and see the change. Shelly works across different sections within Digital Marketing which runs from PR, Content, SEO, Web development and customer care over social media. However Shelly touches on how there isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. This is the challenges which face SME on a daily basis.

Shelly touches on how to manage time lines and deadlines when other tasks become more important - she lives by lists and by being a sponge.

She reads and searches out as much information as she can, taking multinational campaign ideas and scaling it down to use that of her own.


Small brands can have an advantage over big brands and can long tail off the back of these.


Enjoy being a small business, take advantage of this SME can do a lot more with a lot less.

Forget perfection. Simply be good. Be iterate. Be better.

Thanks Shelly that was a really interesting talk about being a Small business as a positive rather than a negative.

Elizabeth Clarke talks for the final hour before the Social!

She's pleasing the crowd by making them stand up and move closer. It's got a homely feel for the final talk of the day.

Elizabeth comes to us from Dream Agility and is ready to talk all about SEO.


First she picks volunteers from the crowd to join her on stage. Darryl and Hannah by asking them to see what's wrong with the titles. All the titles have been wrong by not being fully SEO optimised. Things which have been wrong have been that the image doesn't matter the description, or the brand isn't titled or there's a reference in the title which isn't needed.

This shows the value of SEO and how it is has an impact on the how a consumer sees the brand/product.

DONT TOUCH CUSTOM LABEL, Elizabeth told everyone in the last SAScon to use customer labels but with the digital marketing sector moving so quickly, it is now outdated and all about building campaigns with the right tools and SEO content.

Finishing the talk, Elizabeth gets the audience to do some breathing techniques. Wonderful.


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