Thursday, 27 March 2014

How have advertisers and networks progressed in my time away?

Coming back to the affiliate sphere from a publisher perspective has been an enlightening experience

It has clearly show me which networks have progressed well and who have fallen behind. It also has been quick to establish (personal preference) which networks and advertisers are doing the hard graft when it comes to maximising their business  in this very competitive industry.

Before I go into the things I've noticed, let it be clear I've only signed up to 4 networks as a publisher so far. More will come but I've seen enough to help highlight what other publishers may be feeling.

1 - Networks, make your interface device friendly and keep it clean

A couple of networks seem to have kept the interface the same for a few years,. They aren't device friendly and they certainly have a LOT of hyperlinks clogging up a page.

Numerous times I've been trying to get on with signing up to advertisers and build tracking links in a database and the amount of clicking I have to do is unreal. 

I tried to use some networks on a mobile and have up upon seeing the screen after logging in. 

2 - Advertisers, I'm cool with a manual approval process, but during the working week 72 hours plus to accept or reject is way too long.

In fact it's more than 72 hours in some cases. I've been waiting for 4 days to get approval and now it will go into next week. 

That presents a problem, because like most digital marketing managers, I have other stuff to be doing and I schedule time to try and blast through work in a quick hit.

People work differently and I can multi task with the best of them, but I prefer to grab something when I have time and hammer out work in a short space of time. It ticks things of the monumental list and alleviates some workload.

Making publishers wait over a week for approval might not sound like a long time, but when publishers already have advertiser competitors on their website and now onto other work it's the advertiser missing out. 

It also doesn't get a relationship off on the right foot. 

3 - Advertisers understand that content and resource is key to success

The norm used to be advertisers would hurl themselves into the channel with little or no care to what was actually required to make it work.

That seems to have changed a lot.

Every advertiser I've signed up to actually has more than one 300x250 banner!!!!

They even have a nice detailed description of their company, products and services, and many of them have product feeds and deep linking options.

They communicate better by providing details of their offers, promotions and discounts. It helps everyone and I am pleased to see that advertisers are largely taking it a bit more seriously than years ago.

Next week I have a few more networks to sign up to and will be able to see how the landscape has changed overall and who is edging ahead (for me) and who haven't really changed as much as they should have.

I am enjoying getting back into the affiliate marketing arena and will hopefully make good on what I want to achieve.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Top 7 Saxaphone Songs

It's an incredibly underrated instrument it really is. It's more versatile than many people give it credit for.

I have picked my favourite 7 songs which include a saxaphone solow and covers dance, rhythm and blues, pop and indie genres.

There are many more I could choose, but at the moment these are my favourites.

Why customers who rebuff online advertising will pay more now and even more in the future

Browsers online now offer ad blockers. Extensions allowing users to stop adverts appearing on websites they visit.

This ensures that users can have a pleasant browsing experience without being seeing adverts hoping to entice them buy a product. It’s not good for them and I don’t recommend anyone installing one, unless you want to pay more for your online purchases.

There’s even some statistics from a test done earlier this year showing 22% of ad space was blocked by these things I can guarantee you that those people who use online ad blockers and email blockers are missing out on unique voucher codes, targeted bundles of products, flash sales and many other online advertising messages which other advert embracing consumers are getting.

It doesn’t bother me because I know that those users are paying more for products and delivering more profit for the companies which they buy from.

A typical ad blocker user
It bothers me because the majority of people who don't like online advertising, want everything for free.

They want to block the popup ads for their illegal sports viewing online or the popup ads asking if they want to meet local girls in the area whilst they are on those naughty websites.

Or maybe they just don't want to see advertising online because they have already subscribed to all the relevant places they purchase from and know the inner workings of online shopping to know exactly how to get the best deal.

Many ad spaces online are in places which aren’t intrusive. I believe that includes adverts with a high yield for websites (above the fold, within the copy and adecent size).

I understand that some adverts impair the user experience and I guess do compare to the scenario with TV adverts impairing experience for it’s users.

These are the likes of popup ads which have to be closed in order to view content, or adverts which have to be viewed in order to see video content. For those kinds of online adverts I understand how an ad blocker could be justified (if on a legitimate and legal website), because the advertising is actually stopping someone getting to content which has taken significant time or investment.

I don’t see the justification in blocking adverts alongside content or within content, especially if it’s personalised.

Websites have to make money and if those websites are purely information based the only 3 options to earn money are:

  • Advertising
  • Subscriptions
  • Donations 
Or a combination of the three.

Some users don’t want any of those three to be implemented because they want something for nothing. But these people are cretins aren’t they. Just because you are on a website you cannot get information for sod all, all the time.

If I was a website owner providing really good content like MoneySavingExpert I would simply wait for the ad code to return an error and just block that user from the website, displaying a message:

“Turn your shitty ad blocker off, I give you really good information and in return you read it and I make some money, so do it or get the fuck off my website”. 

The only people who lose out are the consumer when it comes to ad blocking. You will end up having websites blocking you because they cannot make anything from you. Customers with ad blockers will pay more for products and miss out on flash sales and bespoke offers.

To quote Kevin Keegan, I would LOVE IT if I am in a position where consumers are complaining that they missed out on an offer because they have blocked advertising online.

My response would be something like Simon Pegg' on the right.

So where could ad blocking lead us? 

Is this the future for online marketers?
Well that’s a massive question with many potential paths and answers, but let me give my tangent on the path it could take.

The article I quoted previously stated that 100% of online adverts could be blocked by 2018 if the current trend of ad blocking installations continues.

A poll in regards to TV advertising and the BBC tell us: Seven out of Ten people want the license fee abolished – Goodbye non advertising BBC 1, 2 and all other channels and websites then.

It seems to contradict the view towards online advertising. People don’t want it, but don’t want to pay not to have it.

So with that in mind….

Websites could block people who block adverts 

Websites which provide content to users and use advertising as their main source of income could block users who block adverts. This would mean users who previously got this information and cost that website money would have to find another source to get their information.

Websites could force people to subscribe to get access to content with one of the provisos that they have to allow advertising to appear or allow them to email them with third party offers. This is something which will damage all customers and would prevent the ad blockers getting access to free information.

Ad blocking customers will lose out more often 

Is this how people will react to advertising in the future,
because it's that good?
The shift of online advertising is heavily towards personalisation and personaltimesation (yeah I just MADE THAT SHIT RIGHT UP).

Adverts personal to that user at a time they are definitely interested in purchasing a product. This means if you block this kind of marketing activity you may never get an offer and the frequency you will be paying more than other customers for products will increase.

We will more to more real time advertising and search results, targeted by social profiling and other metrics marketing companies and departments will use to get their products in front of us at the right time. Only advertising can do this, and in places users regularly visit, social media, news and video websites.

If you cannot see adverts or click trackable links then you will miss out.

Users could earn money opting into adverts 

If the internet advertising really does end up getting blocked to 100%, there could be advertising networks offering the ability for users to earn money on a CPM, CPC basis for opting into advertising and passing key bits of information to help get this targeted.

We could see users create online accounts with advertising companies to complete surveys, feedback and more to receive marketing messages and offerings online.

We already see incentives for surveys and marketing submissions online, this would be to a whole new level, but it's nothing new.

Marketing departments will shrink but will be highly focussed 

Optimisation? I'll give you
With many ad channels blocked and TV advertising becoming the reach for businesses again, many departments will shrink and be highly focussed on sales. Marketing would become a completely sales focussed channel working towards driving only leads and sales to the websites. Reach would disappear.

Essentially all online marketing would aim to be performance based and only the strongest and best online marketers would survive.

We would probably also see offline channels such as digital billboards, augmented reality marketing suddenly take off and become the norm and something which Tesco are trialling in some petrol stations in the UK. Very 80’s Sci-Fi indeed.

It won’t happen though, how can it? 

We live in a world where business drives most things we do, and they won’t let consumer behaviour stop them using us as a product.

Why would they and to a certain extent why would we? We know business is there to make a profit; we should be savvy as customers and get the most for our money and drive competition which will do by advertising to us, ideally at the right time, with the right message.

So it doesn’t make sense to remove marketing online, because no one wins, everyone loses and it will cost us all a lot of jobs, money and time to get what we all want.

Monday, 4 November 2013

What next for the affiliate industry?

Okay so firstly it's been a while since I've been involved with the industry directly, but I think that gives me a perspective few have when it comes to performance marketing.

Hopefully below gives people an understanding of someone who's been in the industry, come back and seen what's changed and where I see it progressing.

I hope a mix of people will comment to give their opinion, after all that is all a blog is, my opinion on anything I decide to write on. Quite often I may be wrong, other times I may prove insightful in a positive way.

So what's changed in the affiliate industry?

The Name

For starters it's no longer the affiliate industry but Performance Marketing. Everyone I speak to who's been in the industry a while still calls it affiliate. I can see the change of name and the justification for it, but to quote Shakespeare "What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet."

well firstly it's not just about CPA any more. The industry has adapted to changing online technology, consumer behaviour and affiliate sites have seen the opportunity doesn't just lie with CPA any more. Many have shifted their focus to build a brand in their own right with smaller affiliate building a database of users and able to approach advertisers for newsletter inclusions and advertising space to help them push their offers, brand and campaigns further. Ultimately this has allowed many publishers to still function as a business.

Affiliates now help with reach... it's not just incremental sales any more. 

Fagin's program had many young publishers
There is also the argument the term 'affiliate industry' made it sound grubby and under hand. There are still plenty of rogue affiliates out there with many sites like Smart Insights showing how to pick these up in Google Analytics and other methods.`

lets be honest online advertising channels are merging, through changing habits, multi device and also the fact that many sites which started out as affiliates are indeed their own brand, advertisers and offer transactions on their own website.

Just look at Go Compare, huge spender in online advertising in the UK in 2013. The entire concept of comparison websites were from the affiliate industry were they not? You could argue Travel Supermarket were their first, but I think (and correct me if I am wrong) they began as the industry was already up and running and I know they had trackable links on their search results years ago.

The Growth

Affiliate industry is growing a lot

well no shit sherlock

You might as well put IAB predicts something obvious but just needed the research to prove something obvious. 

It sounds like something out of Blackadder and to be fair the channel does seem to be viewed as Baldricks cunning plan when talking about spending marketing budget to get a decent RoI, but it's been around for years and I cannot believe the cretins which aren't involved. 

Shanghai a simile for the affiliate industry?
I am not trying to belittle the research because there's a lot of it and some very detailed and very insightful. but really that's your big nugget of information?

I know the figures is there to be a sort of hand waving gesture to the audience not aware of affiliate marketing. But to be honest the hand waving gesture I'd offer would be very different.

Can someone tell me why you wouldn't have an affiliate program?

Google enjoying the rise of PPC
Forget about the fact you can justify apportioning marketing spend to other channels which are working, affiliates will always work, it may not deliver the volume you are expecting. Well that's to be expected because the reach is less than spending £XX,XXX on PPC on a search engine where 80% of the worlds fucking traffic goes through it. 

Anyway back to the point about growth. 

25% of advertisers spend 20% or more on affiliate marketing

the research tells us 77% growth last year with an expected 71% increase this year. I BET you it's more than that especially with "experts" saying the recovery is going to be with us in about 6 months time. The 6 months they've been predicting for the last 2 years. 

Interestingly though the report says that 1/4 of respondents to the research said that 20% of their budget went to affiliates. Bet you that's industries where comparison sites feature heavily, but anyway I imagine there are smaller advertisers in other sectors who have similar spend.

And don't get me started on comparison sites. I had a go at advertisers before about them being too naive about cashback sites, well comparison sites it's even more apparent.

If they didn't have such bloody complex products that no one fucking understands there might not need to be for comparison sites.


Shut up Dan and get your hair cut
Whilst gambling websites rely on incentive offers, I think they won't be anywhere near 25%, not with that cockney middle aged Henry VIII telling me to "get me laptop and mobile out" every 15 minutes on Sky Sports. I bet they vomit their affiliate marketing budget Sky' way every week. and ITV, bloody morons. 

I am not trying to be some Russell Brand off the cuff, marketing predictor mixed in with a bit of comedy banter, I am merely trying to type this post as my mind says it, removing silly quotes and as much swearing as possible. 

So to sum up the growth, yes it's there, in bucket loads, but everyone knew that right?

Oh apart from people who have to Google what affiliate marketing is, well they can fuck off, especially if they are working in an online marketing role.

The following video explains affiliate marketing.


Not one of these spotted at PMILDN13
Seriously does no one wear combats and t-shirts to these things any more?

Performance Insights 2013, which I wrote about in my third post on this rather crummy looking blog, showed me how much experience the industry had gained. 

The one thing which I value most, is the ability to speak to people about advice and thoughts, who otherwise I would never get the chance to meet, let alone speak to. 

How many times in a working year can you say you can go somewhere and speak to people and in less than 5 minutes have the ability to fix a multitude of issues and potentially gain a shed load of traffic and revenue?

This happened throughout the conference, all with shirts and ties on and everything. 

I am wearing this next year
I did see a LOT of jeans and blazers combinations. If I ever do that can someone please slap me across the face and stop dressing like a 90's dad. Nothing wrong with it, but just not me. Perhaps when I hit 40 that will be my look.

A large part of the professionalism which has come to the industry is down to the publishers. No longer websites with an inferior design, albeit with better content than many advertisers, lack of insights into user behaviour and inability to develop as fast as they need to, the tables have turned completely. 

Technology and developments by businesses and individuals all based around the affiliate CPA model. I cannot imagine comparison and voucher sites came about because of a gap in shopping habits online when it came to users finding information. It came about because:

"wouldn't it be nice to build this website because it would make online consumers lives much easier, and then we can drive traffic to the right places and make lots of money". 

I think the second part of my made up quote is why they were developed. Yes without the first bit it's a bit of a waste of time, but without the second why bother?

If we want to help as many people as possible for free we'd all be dealing with Groupon right?

So much of the web now we take for granted when it comes to online purchases, (and looking back) much of it is down to this industry with the more recent in roads made by publishers not networks or advertisers. 

The Future

Okay so the future is still Attra-fucking-bution but at least we are getting closer according to a few presentations at PerformanceInsights. 

I'm sorry sir, we just don't have the (data) Power
I still think without the industry as a whole to share their data and understand the channels true place in the mix of advertising spend, attribution will work. 

A lot of trying and not a lot of doing

The industry needs the equivalent of CERN, some fuck off expensive project where all marketing data is collected in one place and shared out for everyone to understand their place, all controlled by an overarching organisation to maintain secure and anonymous data management. 

Sounds fucking mental right?

but how is it going to work otherwise?

How will a network know whether sales were truly incremental and where the user really had a significant interaction with the multitude of touch points and say YES, That lovely little site deserved most of the credit. 

I am no developer, data analyst or tracking expert, but just from my viewpoint of being this affiliate double agent, it seems there's a lot of trying and not a lot of doing when it comes to attribution. 

Apart from the A word, the future for the industry lies in what I touched on before, Growth. I echo the points about the industry and publishers moving away from simple transactional CPA but to lead generation, user registrations, segmentation publisher side and more targeted campaigns. 

The ROI is going to increase but I think marketing spend overall will go down.

Cost of sale is something I always work towards, it's just in my nature now, my marketing DNA. I don't understand the concept of brand spend. Throwing money to get your name in expensive places. I need to work on that part of my understanding. 

The future of performance marketing is also to educate the rest of the marketing audience that it's there and it's something to be considered within a marketing plan.      

Networks will bare the brunt

Networks will bare the brunt of the storm I feel with publishers getting larger and role reversing some relationships with advertisers. 
Advertisers will get pissed off because however small, they fund the industry. The HR manager at Manchester United gets paid in a decade what Rooney earns in a week, but he can still cancel the payment can't he!
Networks have opportunities with
many smaller industries and advertisers

Part of the solution is to make the route to affiliate programs cheaper for smaller brands and advertisers, particularly some niche industries which are still traditionally offline. Independent tracking companies are enabling people to do that, but you really need to know what you are doing.

What do they say, look after the pennies...

Google are bastards

Sums it up nicely doesn't it.
Laying it on the line, industry beware, Google is trying their best to absorb whatever it can from you.

Comparison portal for car insurance now present on Google search results

Comparison portal for travel insurance.

Tiny little additions Google have been trying for years to get right and present to their visitors instead of you. 

The fact that their affiliate network died on it's arse, was because it had about as much resource as KFC has late on a Friday night. All the customers but no one to serve them and no one answering the drive through either. It was their attempt to muscle in on a piece of the pie and they failed epically.

If they had the balls to do it properly they should just buy a network like they did with Double Click for online display. But they won't, because they've been burned already and that's great because it shows this giant online corporation is fallable, even in an industry who's success is largely down to their own creation.

Isn't there a greek myth about the Titans, and their children ended up killing them off? 

They have, like Yahoo before them, been instrumental in the growth of online marketing and the world we live in today, but make no bones about it THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND. 

They used to make a big deal about their motto "Don't be Evil". You hear jack shit about that now do you. 

But sooner or later they will trip up. History has proved this time and again. 

If they hadn't have bought YouTube they'd be sitting way down the list in that part of the internet, you could argue would YouTube be as big without them, probably not but look at Facebook. Once belittled by Google they now partner with them.

I would watch Twitter too, they could cause Google problems. Just from my own interaction with Twitter for real time results for news, local information it's way faster than Google. Google plus won't do crap to shift that user interaction either. 

If Twitter can offer a more customised visual approach to their platform and the ability to integrate notifications across devices then they could be onto a winner.

Cookies and the Law

The EU own website doesn't have a cookie
statement FOR FUCKS SAKE
Something I know little about in detail but welcome people to correct me on whether or not the following statement is true. 

The EU are trying to place a law on something they know nothing about, which could actually cause significant damage to their own revenue (taxes) let alone businesses and consumers. 

Are they that fuck dumb that they would risk removing their own revenue in taxes from the online advertising industry and everything else they earn down the chains which would be affected by it?

There's no way anyone, even Search Engines would switch off this capability. 

Consumers would be worst hit, because you cannot communicate to a closed group of users who have opted into communicating with you. They won't get any offers or promotional activity. 

Also it doesn't work offline does it. 

I cannot un hear some shitty made advert on Talksport when I am driving unless I turn the radio off. 

I cannot un see an awfully produced billboard advert.

Why should it be the case online?

if you don't want to see adverts which are personalised to your behaviour online then turn off the computer and do what you need to do with books or something. 


Consumer behaviour is driving a lot of this any way isn't it. People don't want general adverts thrown at them all the time. They want targeted, relevant information, real time. 

So the EU can go back to being idiots at other things. 

Right i'm off to play Farcry 3 and shoot some people in the face to the Predator theme tune.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Performance Insights 2014 - A rediscoverer' view

I am sitting here trying not to let the cold inside my head take over, partly due to the fact I have spent the last day recovering from Performance Insights 2013 in London.

Performance gets told where its place is in the mix
Someone at the event said “it’s as though the industry has grown up”.

What because people wear shirt and ties now to these things instead of T-shirts and Jeans?
Or because the event is bigger, more professional and involve a larger part of the online marketing mix ad spend it did a year ago never mind 5 years ago?

I don’t think the term grown up is quite right either.

‘Gained experience’ I feel is more accurate.

It isn’t some post graduate who’s been on a 6 month holiday to Southeast Asia and come back knowing they’re not going to be a geologist but just get a job which pays well because they want to live in London.
Performance marketing has earned its place to be in the mix for all advertising spend and should be a consideration for all businesses that have any kind of online marketing budget.

Below (and in no order or logical process) are my words and thoughts on the conference in general and what I got out of it.


Dan' £5 CPA on the word attribution paid dividends
If I had £1 for every time I heard that word mentioned at Performance Insights 2014, I wouldn’t be writing this post…. Well I would but from St Lucia on board my own yacht.

Is it ever going to happen?

Is there an alternative?

I think the only way it will is if there is a genuine holistic and open approach to data from all sides AND for businesses in the industry to realise their place in the overall affiliate (sorry performance) industry and “share the love man”.

CPA is still the best offering on the table which works (well kind of) which Helen Southgate, UK MD of Affilinet said in a recent article on econsultancy.

Attribution can only happen once the data is in once place. I only see that being an overriding force for good which sits above the networks themselves in the form of an industry body.

The make-up of that I guess would be a member from each network, a voice of advertisers from each vertical and the same for publishers (from vertical as well as content and incentive sites).
We all know the best way to get something moving online is to test it, get results and present the truth to the people who need to know and the sheep follow.

It sounds arsey and I guess it is a little bit because I cannot see attribution working unless something as grand as that happens.

Incentive Sites and their Ever Growing Presence

Now before you cashback and voucher site owners and employees get on my back I really do love you. I have used the likes of TopCashback and Quidco for a long time now and their value for savvy customers is significant.


I don’t see why people have a reliance on them.

Reliance - “dependence on or trust in someone or something.”

Seriously? You’re an advertiser and you are dependent on one particular affiliate to drive you sales?

Then it’s your own bloody fault isn’t it.

That is pretty much what I said at the end of the presentation where they were talking about this very “issue”.
Cashback sites offer something great, the ability to drive customers to your products and services through offering them an incentive in form of a discount or added value product/services.

The quality is definitely there and so is the quantity. The balance of which is solely down to the advertiser. There are different reports about this very issue but many conclude that cashback sites lead to higher basket values and incremental sales.

If you want the quantity then offer a blanket % of basket value regardless of spend for any consumer whether new or existing.


Why not offer exclusive offers to particular incentive sites at a time you need the sales. You see it all the time around a launch of a product or just before/after seasonality within certain industries.


Drive NEW customers through with a large discount of first order sales and sign ups?

Because you want the volume and quality and a huge proportion of incremental sales?

Yeah good luck with that.....

Any advertiser who gives incentive sites a hard time because they feel reliant on their partnership with them, you've only got yourselves to blame, by not understanding the benefits of how they operate and the opportunity they present to advertisers.

You need to be happy with what you are willing to sacrifice for a sale, not just monetary terms but in your product/service and with your brand.

You only need to see how businesses (large and small) got stung by Groupon with some even having to shut down because of the incentive offered.

50% discount they said. It would be fun they said
Who’s fault is that? It’s not Groupons is it!

Read this article on Groupon and then it’s summed up by the quote below:

“The big picture here is we didn't know what we were getting into when this deal was put together," said Roitman. "Groupon is just not transparent."

Everyone can negotiate, even with large incentive sites, if the offer is worthwhile they will accommodate it, after all they earn money through referring traffic and delivering sales. They also have a duty to spend time on deals that bring in a decent amount of revenue, so don't expect something for nothing.

Networking Party
He only wanted a business card.
It’s 4+ hours of partying with a sponsored bar and lot of networking throughout the night.

Below are the key points which got me through it as a 30+ year old dad attending this part of the expo:
  •  The Power nap – If you are taking the expo seriously you should be attending at least 1 session each time and in-between meeting clients and browsing the exhibition hall to find out what people are up to. If you aren’t tired then you’re either a machine, under 30 or on drugs. Power nap between 6:45 and 7:30 had me charging into the networking party and happily into the early hours.
  •  Pick a drink and stick with it – whether it be beer, wine or rum, pick one and stick with it because you can drink a lot more and you can still be coherent throughout the night and talk business if needed.
  •  Pick your battlegrounds – The networking event can be quite daunting, especially if you are relatively new to the industry. You may know no one and be stood around like a lemon; most other people are in some kind of discussion so trying to get into a discussion can be tricky. Good places to do this are:
a.      At the bar – it’s where individuals are getting drinks, for themselves or their colleagues. A simple “how are you enjoying the event?” or other leading question will usually get the ball rolling
b.     Cigarette break – Well you smokers have to congregate outside now and a good place to share a lighter and get talking. Even if you don’t smoke but have a colleague who does, go out with them. I did that this year and got a good understanding of who worked where and some insights into opinions about other businesses and individuals.
c.      Quieter spots – There’s always some seating area a little further away from the music where people go for a break or a discussion, this can be a good place to seek out a bit of networking. Although I have to say, whilst this venue was an amazing venue for partying, it was quite loud with few quiet spots.

Remember though, it is a party, people in the online industry rarely (if ever) switch off, so whilst that presents a great time to network, a small minority of people will just want to party and not talk business for a couple of hours.

  • Share a taxi – If you’re doing the party properly the tubes won’t be running so it’s either a taxi back to the hotel or off to another club or restaurant. For all of the above there will be another group looking to do the same, so share a cab and business cards and meet them at the exhibition hall the next day.


This is something I have noticed just being away from the industry for a couple of years. No one works at the same organisation any more!

Especially people who were at the manager/exec level, many of whom have progressed to agencies around the world and some client side as well. It’s a great thing and something which highlights the fact the people who've been in the industry for years really can progress rapidly up the chain… because there’s little else when it comes to experience in a relatively young industry.

Now I think the time has come for all parties to retain their staff. Turnover costs money and affects the inner workings of your business and ultimately will effect clients as well. So something I will definitely consider when working with any company is how long their employees have been there and what experience do they have in online marketing specifically.

It will be a challenge for companies as it’s not just about money, working environment is just as big factor for many people and an under resourced company, whilst they might pay better, could lose people because they’re under more pressure.

Social vs SEO

So there were a couple of discussion points whether social is going to be the new channel for bringing in traffic and increasing ranking factors they present.

Martin MacDonald’ great presentation not only enlightened us about Google, their removal of keyword data (and how to get it a good portion of it back) but also how social will be playing more of a part in ranking factors going forward.

If that is the case then it’s going to mean the first page of Google will be changing a lot more frequently and be targeted more to individual behaviour. They’re some way off, Martin was saying it could be as close as 2 years before things change with significance.

The solution is itself simple but harder to implement, which is to build an audience and a brand where people can engage with you regularly. That is why companies should be focusing on ensuring they get their consumer base interacting with them on social media.

A secondary level would be to be well up on social trends and getting in on the act wherever possible. Again still tied into brands but a couple of example below were shared a huge amount on Twitter, and really it doesn't take long to come up with a nice image for social trending does it?

some examples of how brands got themselves around social media in the days around Halloween.

A successful re brand, a well organised and well executed expo. The quality of the presentations I went to was excellent and the speakers equally so. They have really brought this event to the forefront of my mind when it comes to attending a paid event because I get so much out of it.

That is the key though, with all the lovely parties, food, drink and opportunities to do business, the presentations put flesh on the bones of my knowledge. No sales pitches (although I heard from my colleague a couple he went to did have elements of this which I don't like at all), new information, new insights and authoritative discussions from people with extensive experience. Without that there is no event for me, and they've delivered for the past 3 years I have attended.

They have done a great job in bringing this event to the industry and it certainly raises the profile of what it can do for advertisers.

I am amazed at the talent around in this industry now and there are some great people in it too. I hope I can be more involved with it over the next few years and beyond.