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After attending SMX Advanced for the first time last year, I was really looking forward to coming back to Seattle for this year’s conference. SMX Advanced is a two-day conference that takes place at The Bell Harbor International Center and is designed exclusively for experienced search marketers.

I was able to attend both days of the conference and all of the sessions were full of great tips, tools, and methodologies for search strategies. There were also several in-person networking opportunities, including the opening night meet and greet on the rooftop of the conference center, the Bing party at the Seattle Aquarium, and the Moz party at The Garage on the last night of the conference. This year, they added an event called Janes of Digital, for women in the SEM industry that was held before the Bing party at the Aquarium.

At Add3, my focus is on paid search, so I camped out in the paid search track for the duration of the conference. When I attended last year, Google had recently announced the shift to Enhanced campaigns, so the majority of the sessions last year revolved around what to expect and different strategies to approach this new campaign change. This year, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety in session content. There were sessions that discussed search query strategies, mobile tactics, retargeting, AdWords scripts, quality score, testing framework, and more.

I’ve highlighted three of my favorite presentations that I saw at SMX Advanced and have included the presentations on slideshare for you to view in their entirety – which I highly recommend!

Ad Creative & Testing

Maria Corcoran, Adobe Systems

@mariacorcoran

Maria spoke in the ‘Next Gen Ad Creative and Testing Techniques’ session on Day 1. Her presentation mainly focused on creating a very solid foundation for testing to ensure that results are accurate and that variables are tracked properly. I really enjoyed a spreadsheet that she shared (Slide 5) to help keep better track of testing elements and plan to adopt it into my own process.

Takeaways

  • Define Framework

  • Deliberately Test & Iterate

  • Utilize Multiple KPIs

Test Template

  1. Define Elements

    1. Headline, LP, ad extension, etc;

  2. Establish Hypothesis

    1. This will help set realistic expectations in the event that  there is some sort of negative repercussion that could have been anticipated

  3. Build Variations

  4. Validate Measurement

    1. Make sure everything is being tracked properly prior to test launch

  5. Confirm significance

  6. Adapt Iterations

 Testing Spreadsheet

  • Test channel

  • Description and hypothesis

  • Business impact

  • Target

Different Value Proposition Examples

  • Feature

    • Core competency

  • Benefit

    • More freedom, speed, power

  • Easy

    • Simple, quick

Strong Calls To Action for B2B

  • Free Trial

  • Try It

  • Get Started

  • Learn More!

Maria Corcoran’s slides on Slideshare.

Search Query Analysis

Jared Schroder, Location3 Media

@j_schroder

Jared’s presentation focused on search query analysis. This is something that I deal with on a daily basis, but Jared had a very fresh approach on this process. Something that he said during his presentation resonated with me pretty strongly: “Bid algorithms are inherently limited by the strength of the foundation”. I think that sometimes we get caught up in the pulling of levers and testing, instead of focusing on the foundation of the campaign -> keywords, match types, negatives, and structure.

Query Theme Analysis

  • Get out of the weeds. Data mining single queries results in singular impact. New approach: Query Theme Analysis

    • Create a query clou

      • Identify themes with a positive profit

      • Find subthemes within themes

    • Find strength in numbers through data aggregation

      • Discover subtle positives and eliminate negatives

    • Review impression, click, and conversion segmentation at the match type level

      • Improve effectiveness of campaign by eliminating non or low converting match types of the same keyword

Leveraging Your Query Data

  • Mine for loss leaders

    • Remove keywords that generate high conversion volume prior to analysis and those poor performers will stand out

  • Mine for quality score killers

    • Really focus on eliminating keywords with low quality scores, even if they are generating some conversions. Otherwise, they could be harming and brining down your whole portfolio

  • Bridge the gap between organic and paid

    • Utilize this process to analyze impression variance across organic and paid. Several opportunities could be discovered and utilized in the opposing channel

Jared Schroder’s slides on Slideshare.

AdWords Scripts

Steve Hammer, RankHammer

@armondhammer

Steve’s session was all about AdWords Scripts. Scripts can be pretty scary if you don’t have a lot of experience in that area, but Steve did a great job of simplifying the process and capabilities that they provide. He also provided some great examples on different ways to utilize scripts and gave some resources that I have already bookmarked.

Script Capabilities

  • Math

    • Actual calculations with statistical significance, not strictly comparisons

  • External Data

    • Export for reporting, input for management

  • Parameters

    • The ability to change one or two elements within the ad copy without resubmitting for approval

Script Framework

  • Find

  • Fix

  • Scale

  • Success

Script Architecture

  • Main Function

    • This is your starting point and defines what the purpose of the script is and what it will do

  • Selector

    • Determines where the script will work and what elements will be included within the scope of the test

  • Iterator

    • Pulls the data for all elements and then makes the direct changes

Script Use Examples

  • Ad Parameters

    • Utilize a script to set up to two different ad parameters within your ad copy. The script will then change dynamically without resubmission.

      • Example: Countdown of days within ad copy until the end of a sale

  • External Link Checker

    • Script runs through landing pages to see if there are any 404 errors

  • Bid by Weather

    • Adjust bids based on weather data that is gathered from a weather map API. This would come in handy for certain products and services where demand varies based on weather conditions

      • Example: outdoor swim park

Steve Hammer’s slides on Slideshare.

Did you attend SMX Advanced this year? Sound off in the comments and share your favorite sessions!










Ashley Kennedy

About Ashley Kennedy

Ashley is an Associate Account Director at the Add3 office in Portland. She specializes in PPC and Social Media. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys reading, going to the movies, taking pictures, and spending time with her family. She has an obsession with tumblr and enjoys going to concerts – especially anything country. Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter (be warned, she mainly tweets during Blazers and OSU Beaver games).

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