December 11, 2012 - Comments Off on SAScon Mini: A quick roundup!

SAScon Mini: A quick roundup!

SAScon is an annual digital event, organised by the digital community in Manchester for the digital community in the UK. In the past couple of years it has established itself as one of the must-go –to conferences in the UK, especially for those who love all things digital marketing.

Last Friday, Alex Fisher and I had the opportunity to attend SAScon Mini (a smaller version of the bigger digital festival) in the surprisingly glorious city of Manchester.   The main theme for this year’s SAScon Mini was ‘mobile and local’ and there were so many interesting things presented by the speakers during their sessions.  Here are some of our favourite highlights:

The first session was presented by Guy Levine, CEO of Return On Digital who touched on a very salient point about mobile. Guy stressed that mobile isn’t just miniaturisation of your desktop site and as such, you need to be very clear from the beginning what the objectives of your mobile site are. He also highlighted the growing importance of responsive web design, going as far as to say responsive design should be incorporated automatically if building a site from scratch.

Guy highlighted some important points to consider when creating your mobile strategies:

  • Mobile users are using head terms to search whereas desktops users use long tail terms when they are conducting their search, so your mobile strategy needs to be spot on. Although it is also important to consider, that when researching keywords for mobile – to make sure to include auto complete options as well as head terms.
  • Mobile users are looking for entertainment; shorter bursts of information and need to be given calls to action. Social interaction is strong among mobile users. Social buttons on your mobile site should be made as big as buy buttons because of this. You should, in fact, create big finger-sized buttons on your mobile site and think of designing them for fat fingers. More information on how to go mobile can be found here.

On a side note, Alex and I both were thinking that Guy Levine was a funny chap and he obviously didn’t take himself seriously as he swore a lot during his presentation.

The next session was presented by Andy Headington from Adido, where he talked about dominating local and gave a step by step campaign analysis for Adido’s successful local search campaign. Andy emphasised the importance of Google+ and how Author Rank will become even more important for local search in the future. He also urged us to do whatever we can to get reviews on our Google+ page as one of the biggest drivers of local listings are reviews. Google will also find unstructured reviews, such as blogs, and pull the data into your Google reviews, hence why Author Rank will be more significant for local.

Aside from using Google Places for your local search campaign, Andy mentioned the importance of integrating IP-targeting ads on PPC as that can be really useful to catch real-time users’ queries on Google. A very important point Andy made was that a Google algorithm update called Venice was basically a game changer for local search and rankings.  With that in mind, Rich Snippets and reviews are necessities if you are thinking of optimising for local search in 2013, because of their impact on local search. In conjunction with Author Rank and Google+, from the off-site or link acquisition point of view, Andy underlined that blogger outreach will become even more important as part of local and off-site citation.

After the break, the session was continued with a panel discussion on Mobile/Local. It kicked off really well but sort of tailed off in the middle as the panellists were more interested in chatting to each other than to the audience, plus the microphone was pretty rubbish and created random noises, something that the organiser could improve for the next event. By this point a lot of the attendees lost their interest and left the room, which was a shame as a lot could actually have been learned from the panel discussion, if only they had spoken a bit louder and were interested in sharing their knowledge.

The conference ended with a presentation from Weve UK, talking through the opportunity for the future of mobile and location.

The catchphrase of the day was unsurprisingly SoLoMo = Social, Local, Mobile and here are some interesting articles about SoLoMo from the web:

TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/11/solomo-update-mobile-only-social-networks-to-reach-1b-users-by-2014-800m-users-of-foursquare-other-location-services-this-year/

Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcavazza/2011/09/19/the-truth-about-solomo/

WallBlog: http://wallblog.co.uk/2012/11/12/solomo-offers-great-potential-but-brands-need-to-navigate-carefully/

All in all, it was a good event to attend and one that I would personally recommend people go to. Did you go along to SAScon mini? What did you think?

UPDATE: if you didn’t go, worry not as all the slides from Mini SAScon are accessible and available HERE!