The 10 Things We Learned at Conductor Searchlight’s C3 2017
The 451 Marketing team rolled pretty deep to the C3 conference in New York 2 weeks ago, maybe you were there and stopped by our hot sauce tasting, or our bloody mary bar. Or, maybe you heard through the grapevine how much of a good time we all had and you’re pretty bummed you weren’t there. Either way, here’s a little recap of what we learned from some of the industry leaders in the Digital Marketing space. We have taken these lessons to heart since we left New York, and we think you’ll find them valuable as well!
1.) Story telling will never go away – Humans will always be interested in stories
The only thing that will change is the form in how story is delivered, and Andy Goldberg, Chief Creative Officer of GE, say it’s our job to make sure that the story is delivered in a new way that’s fresh and inviting. He talked about how a traditionally mechanical company like GE is changing people’s minds on how they can be a player in the creative and digital space, it just depends how you tell them the story. A great way to tell interesting stories is with data. Storytelling with data gets you noticed on the web. Adam Singer of Google says that data visualization helps enhance stories internally to top level executives and to external users on the web. However, be careful not to over-present data in a visualization, sometimes your creators know too much.
Any random person in the industry should be able to look at your chart or infographic and be able to read the story from the data.
2.) Our future will be controlled by our robot overlords (or chatbots)
Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot gave a brief look into our future, and it involves a lot of robots, but don’t worry, not like Westworld. He says that in a few years, people won’t be building websites for marketing purposes, they’ll be building chatbots to help their visitors find the information they’re looking for immediately. Using chatbots in the future will help humans utilize their time better, so we can enjoying doing more things we love, like being creative.
3.) We should stop trying to predict ranking factors, because again, machines rule everything
As Search Marketers, we should stop trying to predict what the next big ranking algorithm update will be to stay ahead of the curve. Rankbrain has become an ever present force behind Google rankings, that it’s essentially useless to try and understand what’s going on, because even the people at Google don’t really get it. Instead, according to Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive, we should start making sure we are optimizing for the customer and making sure we really understand their needs and their thought processes. Providing useful and engaging content will help your site in the long run, no matter what new updates there are.
4.) Customers don’t want to be sold to
Most people don’t want to have sales material shoved in their face when they’re in the research phase. Usually, they’re looking for a solution for their problem, not an ad for a product. WIl Reynolds notices that a lot of sales pages want to sell you stuff, but in reality, they should focus on being more educational. Educational material on a landing page should be a necessity. We should be investing in landing page experiences that build valuable audiences. If you help people solve their problems, they are more likely to come back to you for more information or solutions down the road. If you just sell them and not build a relationship, they probably won’t come back.
5.) The Click-Through-Curve is Dead
Throw away everything you know about the click through curve. This frame of thought is outdated and forgets to account for human rationality. We are irrational beings, sometimes we do things that we just can’t explain why. And choosing pages to click on in search results is one of those things that just sometimes doesn’t make sense. To account for this factor, Wil Reynolds (Wow, we really learned a lot from this guy, huh?) suggests that Search Marketers should interact with people outside of the Search Marketing bubble to get a better idea of how average people view search results. Seth Besmertnik, CEO of Conductor, believes that SEO departments should act as “Customer Listening Departments”. He says, “There’s only one algorithm that matters, the heart of your customer”. Sometimes they prefer a date in the title to show relevance, sometimes they just don’t trust the top result. Whatever it is, get out there and get some new perspective!
6.) Customers Can Be Great Resources
If you’re stuck on what kind of content to create, have your customers do it for you. Luis Navarette Gomes, Head of Global Search at LEGO, shared how he has an interesting group of people to try and target, children. Children don’t care about search results, they don’t read blog posts, most of the content they consume is visual. So how can you create content and market it across platforms? You get customers involved and ask them to do something for you, which you then turn around and promote on all of your mediums. Another great way to rank in that coveted number 1 spot? Make up your own keyword. Check out how LEGO did that with their “Build a Kronkiwongi” campaign. PS, you might cry a little.
“Honey, don’t look at NON secure sites!”
7.) HTTP will essentially be a death sentence
Google aims to start notifying users to unsecure websites before they even click through to them on the search results page. Kemp Honeycutt, SEO Manager at shopperschoice.com talked about how much like there is a tiny lightning bolt next to AMP pages, Google plans on implementing a similar warning signal for sites that don’t have an https protocol. Google already gives a boost to sites who have https and we can see that a good portion of sites are migrating towards a secure protocol, as 45% of results on page 1 are https. This is mostly a Google plan for now, but we expect to see a requirement across all browsers very soon.
8.) 8 second attention spans aren’t real
Jason Miller, Global Content Marketing Leader at LinkedIn, gave a great talk about content marketing. There used to be a rumor going around that humans these days have similar attention spans to goldfish, 8 seconds. However, this has been debunked (in both fish and humans), and it turns out, people are reading more long form content than ever. It just depends on whether or not the long form content is any good. People can go on Twitter and read someone’s opinion, or a quick fact at any point in only 140 characters, but we still crave a well thought out piece that has opinions, because that is something robots, and machines can’t quite replicate yet. Don’t dismiss the idea that content is still important to people, you just have to make it worth their while.
9.) Employees are your secret weapon (to spreading content)
Jason Miller also talked about how employees are your secret weapon to driving traffic and spreading the content you create. It turns out that only 3% of employees share content across platforms, yet they generate about 30% of engagement. It’s also interesting to note that when an employee shares a piece of content, they get 2 times high click thru rates than when the company shares the same piece of content. According to research at Linkedin, for every 6 pieces of content an employee shares on Linkedin, it influences: 6 job views, 3 company pageviews, 1 company page follower, 6 profile views, and 2 new connections.
10.) Larry Kim loves Unicorns
Oh wait, no surprises there!
If you want an even better look at the conference, check out the storify we created of some of the top influencers at C3. See what you missed, and maybe even convince yourself you have to go next year!