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Our Highlights from #BiddableWorld


Our Highlights from #BiddableWorld

Written by on 22 January, 2014

Yesterday Inbound360 had a day out at the first BiddableWorld conference in London. Here’s our notes on some of the highlights and takeaways from the day. Where I’ve found them I’ve linked to the slides for each presentation.

Session 1

Jon Myers gave a good introduction to the background of Biddable Media in his opening talk Navigating the Biddable Landscape. Nothing new here but some big numbers to get people excited about the opportunity. Jon shared some interesting thoughts on where biddable media will go and I absolutely agree with most of his points here, especially about TV ads becoming personalised and biddable in the not so distant future.

Heather Robinson then gave a nice succinct intro to Twitter Advertising explaining how and why you might want to use it. This served as a good introduction to anyone new to the platform. I was a bit surprised there wasn’t more talk of Twitter Ads during the day, given that they’re likely to grow massively this year. Ben Harper raved about Facebook’s power editor tool in his talk on How & Why To Become a Facebook Power Editor Power User . I haven’t played with much personally so I’ll definitely be spending more time getting to grips with it after his talk.

Session 2

Nick Christian’s Black Hat PPC talk was somewhat misleadingly titled but quite entertaining. Definitely some interesting ideas in this talk, most notably that “everything has a conversion rate” – an interesting concept, if not entirely true. The premis being that you can advertise on anything if the cost is low enough. I definitely admired him for standing up and presenting an alternate way of thinking about paid search, even though I don’t think many of the ideas he presented were practical for most advertisers. This talk probably got the audience thinking more than anything else during the day.

Tara West gave some very useful and actionable tips on improving quality score in her talk titled Inside AdWords Quality Score: Different Types of Quality Score & How To Optimise For Them including a really good tip about using Adwords scripts to download historic quality score data.

Sarah Conway took the last session before lunch Biddable Media & Online Shopping – Are You Being Left on the Shelf? Where she gave a very comprehensive and well presented introduction to product listing ads – lots of useful takeaways in this presentation for anyone newish to PLA’s. The most interesting thing for me here was the huge % of PLA ads now being served and how well these are performing for many advertisers.

Session 3

The session after lunch on Display advertising was a bit of a low point of the day for me. Jim Banks started the session with a good primer in his Every Picture Tells A Story talk where he showed some very interesting and simple ideas for making your graphical ads stand out on the page. I get a feeling we’ll start seeing  a lot of Facebook ads with round photos in the coming months! This was a fun, punchy presentation full of nice practical, real world examples.

The session fizzled out for me after that. At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can say about banner ads, especially right after lunch!

Session 4

In the final session of the day Nandita Patkar presented on International Campaigns and Ali White talked about How Profitable is Google AdWords for You which took a look at the option of importing offline conversion data into Universal Analytics. A nice example of this feature being used but it was hard to shake off the feeling it was more of a sales pitch for his call tracking software!

Unfortunately a lot of people left after this and missed what was for me the best talk of the day by Dr. Wing Yee Lee from Adobe who talked about Navigating the Maze of Google Bid Adjustment. This was a very well presented look at how bid adjustments work including some actual mathematics behind how you should set your adjustments if you’re planning on using the feature (hint – you probably shouldn’t go on gut feel and theory).

So my key takeaways from the day:

  • More and more media will become biddable
  • Audiences will be the buzzword of 2014
  • PLA’s are now essential for ecommerce campaigns
  • We need to put in place strategies for improving long term account level quality score
  • Bid adjustments aren’t a silver bullet and should be used carefully and mathematically.
  • Get creative with Display ads – test and rotate creative frequently. Be different.

In all I thought it was a good day and I went away with some new ideas, which is what you really want from a conference.

As a side note I couldn’t help noticing how much better the ladies were on stage than the male presenters. Without over generalising it was clear the female presenters had put a lot more thought and practice into their presentations and I took more from these talks as a result.

Nice job by the organisers and sponsors for putting on a great day for the industry for free. And well done to all the speakers.


Author: John McElborough

+John McElborough is co-founder and MD of Inbound360, a London based PPC agency. John has been building and marketing websites for over a decade and has consulted for some of the UK’s largest brands on PPC and digital strategy. His work has been published on leading industry sites including SearchEngineJournal, Social Media Today and Moz.com as well as his own Marketing For Growth” blog

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