SEMPO Atlanta held its first educa­tion event on Friday with four acclaimed, inter­na­tion­ally recog­nized leaders from the online disci­plines of Paid Search, SEO, Analyt­ics and Social Media.  This was the first event of its kind in the Atlanta area, and the atten­dees were highly engaged and enthu­si­as­tic.  Search Discovery is a proud sponsor of Sempo Atlanta.

The first speaker was David Szetela from Clix Market­ing.  David’s strongest recom­men­da­tion for Google AdWords is to test out the conver­sion opti­mizer.  Within the advanced options, you can set targeted CPA bids, as opposed to maximum CPA bids, which will allow for better opti­miza­tion.  He was sure to point out that you should not judge the perfor­mance of a campaign using the CPA opti­mizer with only a week’s data.  It takes several weeks for the engine to build up data and utilize the power of the algo­rithm to maxi­mize conver­sions.  David also focused on tactics such as retar­get­ing, display network strate­gies, and segment­ing users on Face­book and LinkedIn.

Stephan Spencer of Covario spoke next about a wide array of SEO tactics and shared some ideas and nuances that were both compelling and thought provok­ing.  Stephan first took a look into some conven­tional wisdom of keyword research and how compa­nies often target the indus­try level vernac­u­lar instead of the search terms that actual customers might use.  Simply chang­ing keyword focus can have a great affect on SEO success and the acqui­si­tion of quality traffic.

Another point Stephen made was that PPC is a great way to test for SEOPPC campaigns can be created in minutes and are a great way to test the conver­sion rate or valid­ity of keywords before the effort is made to build out SEO content around a new set of keywords.

One of the most inter­est­ing argu­ments Stephen made ran counter to some conven­tional wisdom that has been touted over the years at Search Engine Confer­ences.  It has been stated over the years that when PPC and SEO are both present in SERPs, that overall click through rates and conver­sions increase as users gain “trust” in a website based on the double rein­force­ment.  Stephen says that taking away PPC will actu­ally increase the clicks to the single SEO link in SERPs.

Matt Bailey of Site Logic was next and he offered a humor­ous, compelling look into Analyt­ics.  He shared many ways in which most compa­nies fail to prop­erly use Analyt­ics infor­ma­tion.  Right off the bat, Matt took a jab at the typical dash­board view of Analyt­ics soft­ware.  Because these pretty dash­boards appear on the default page of the Analyt­ics program, it is assumed by most to be the most impor­tant data points.

Matt pointed out that the default view of Analyt­ics programs is an aggre­gate and (wrongly) assumes that every visitor is just like every other visitor.  He stressed that segment­ing data was the only way to under­stand the behav­ior of real groups of people.  Under­stand­ing how specific groups of searchers behave allows a clear story to be told.  At the end of the day, Analyt­ics should help busi­ness owners under­stand how to make more money.

Matt used the “red shirt phenom­e­non” in Star Trek to illus­trate his story.  In Star Trek (the Captain Kirk version) people who had on a red Star Fleet outfit (as opposed to blue or gold) always seem to get killed.  Under­stand­ing the “why” took some segmen­ta­tion and Matt appar­ently took a deep dive into every Star Trek episode to better under­stand the data.  No judg­ment here.  Appar­ently, Star Fleet person­nel who beamed down to an alien planet with the Captain and had on a red shirt had over a 50% chance of getting killed, unless Kirk devel­oped a rela­tion­ship with a lady on said alien planet.  Under those condi­tions, the chances of getting killed (converted) decreased to 16%.

Person­ally, I much prefer Captain Piccard and the Enter­prise, but the point of the illus­tra­tion was that segment­ing the differ­ent condi­tions in which website users visit (where did they come from, what was their query, etc) is the only way to find action­able data.  It is action­able data, after all, that creates the means to make more money.  And making more money is the reason Analyt­ics exists in the first place.

Adam Proehl of Nordic Click Inter­ac­tive was the last speaker and really took a deep dive into Social Media and shared some ways to begin to measure the impact of Social Media campaigns.  He discussed the reasons why people bother to become fans of corpo­rate Face­book pages – primar­ily discounts and promo­tions.  He noted that feeds that become overly active can become annoy­ing and can be hidden with the click of a mouse.  In other words, fans are not always “engaged” fans as many simply hide a feed.

Adam also stressed that Social Media should not be put in a “silo” but should be inte­grated with other divi­sions within the orga­ni­za­tion – Market­ing, SEO, Email Market­ing, etc.  When Social Media sets expec­ta­tions and those expec­ta­tions are not unilat­eral across an orga­ni­za­tion, the effort can back­fire.  Adam shared over 30 differ­ent tools to measure Social Media and some of the names are Twitter Senti­ment, Crowd­eye, Twit­tr­ratr, Montion­map, Twilert, Tetweet­ist, Open­book, Itstrend­ing, Booshaka, Kurrently, Addic­tomatic and many others.

The presen­ta­tions were over at 12:30 and I must say that it was a great plea­sure to have lunch avail­able for those that were suffer­ing because of their tendency to eat lunch at 11:00 am.  Many thanks and congrat­u­la­tions to SEMPO Atlanta.