Tag Archives: Exhibitions

Payments International 2015 – Day 3 report #PayInt15

Today was the final day of the Payments International 2015 conference. Here are my notes. Again I apologise for any brevity, grammatical abominations and spelling errors – this post is a case of publishing speed versus comprehensiveness.


Smart companies and dumb companies - according to Mark Stevenson
Smart companies and dumb companies – according to Mark Stevenson

Mark Stevenson was the keynote speech. Mark is clearly a Marmite presenter – people either like or dislike him. Personally I liked his approach, and during the session started following him immediately at @optimistontour.

His keynote on “Why Infrastructure We Have Now Can’t Survive” began with describing how core infrastructure and business models are soon going to be unfit for purpose.

Continue reading Payments International 2015 – Day 3 report #PayInt15

Generating value from social data in real-time, Dara Nasr from Twitter

These notes are from the adtech London exhibition in September 2013. Apologies for any brevity, grammar or spelling mistakes, I did the best I could! Here is a full list of all my presentation notes from adTech London 2013.

How the Jay-Z hashtags are linked by Dara Nasr from Twitter
How the Jay-Z hashtags are linked by Dara Nasr from Twitter

Dara Nasr is the Head of Agency Sales at Twitter, and had an arsenal of amusing, anecdotal case studies about brands on Twitter.

His opening slide was “Twitter: the real time pulse of the planet

Case studies:

  • @policiajun – 3,000 inhabitants in a town in aim. All civil communication handled by twitter
  • “Other companies preach mobile first…” 80% of access to twitter is via mobile, and mobile was truly before the web for Twitter
  • It took 3 years to serve a billion tweets. They now serve a billion tweets every 2 days

Successful Twitter users and brands:

  • Plan for everyday moments. He showed the use of everyday keywords such as shopping, which are cyclical around the days of the week. Time your tweets to coincide with everyday activities.
  • Plan for live moments. E.g. There were 6m tweets around the champions league final.  Nokia’s imitation is the form of flattery was retweeted 18m times when the new iPhone 5 was launched (and I retweeted their tweet because I thought it was funny). Successful brands and users have playful banter between competitors, which ends up successful for both. This ranges from political parties and politicians to CPG brands to sports personalities
  • Plan connected moments… Twitter and TV. Twitter bought Bluefin who connect Twitter to TV adverts. Twitter claim 60% of people use Twitter while watching TV. Dara went through a case study on Jay-Z boosting music sales
  • MTV ran a competition with [a staggering] 166m entries

Answers to questions from the audience:

  1. The brands who use Twitter well try and try again to get it right. Key companies are Samsung, Mondelēz, Paddy Power. They make mistakes, learn from them, and end up with successful campaigns
  2. On commercialisation: There are 3 ways Twitter makes money: from promoted tweets, promoted accounts and prompted trends, i.e. pushing results higher up on all 3 listings
  3. On commercialisation after a potential IPO: Twitter might not change that much because it’s very user focussed, and doesn’t want to do anything users don’t want.

Here is a full list of my presentation notes.

The anatomy of a fan: using big data to personalise the event experience, Tim Abraham from Xaxis

These notes are from the adtech London exhibition in September 2013. Apologies for any brevity, grammar or spelling mistakes, I did the best I could! Here is a full list of all my presentation notes from adTech London 2013.

Does Big Data still rely on human consumption?
Does Big Data still rely on human consumption?

The first presentation I went to at adtech London today was Tim Abraham from Xaxis, a company specialising in Big Data.

The earliest example, the Doomsday book in 1086 with 13,418 records facilitating taxation! (My note: Did it take 1,000 years to forgive Big Data for this?!!@!)

Facebook now process over 500Tb of data daily

Organisations think more about optimising campaigns rather than just the media buying process

Big data provides granular information to enable estimation

Simple dashboards = big impact

Simple dashboards=big impact
Simple dashboards=big impact

Often, the insight from big data is difficult to action which creates a value vacuum and a question over Big Data projectas

In the future, Big Data will get bigger (more important), however scale alone won’t drive results. It’s all about enough data at the right time.

Here is a full list of my presentation notes.

Hugh Jackson, director of MediaCo on Venice and Panda

Almost to reconfirm how I described how the first morning at ad:tech had been full of

It's a sobering thought that on some searches the 3rd result is below the fold!
It’s a sobering thought that on some searches the 3rd result is below the fold!

practical tips and advice, Hugh Jackson from MediaCo, an SEO company, gave a good, practical presentation on two of the latest Google algorithm changes and how to take advantage of them, despite all the bad press they’ve received.

The two algorithm changes are Panda and Venice.


Results are now based upon the local results of where the user is located. (My Note: Actually, they’ve always been local, so if you searched for ‘Spurs’ in the UK you’d end up with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and if you searched for Spurs in the US you’d see the San Antonio Spurs basketball team. Now, results are localise for everything, down to a far more granular level).

So if you type in say, tyre dealer, you’ll get very different results if you’re based in New York, London or Manchester.

This is the only way results are ranked organically (i.e. not paying for an ad in the results) for generic terms.

To take advantage of Venice, you need to create truly unique content for your user’s locations. National companies without local offices are at a disadvantage.

The SEO strategy to take advantage of Venice is to create landing pages and change the site structure to reflect localised pages. The example Hugh gave is Autotrader, which now has regions, and then local cities where car results are displayed for that local city or region.

The tried and tested SEO technique for Titles and Descriptions has been slightly updated, so you should now use:

Title + location + brand

for AutoTrader, the example given was:

Find used cars in Manchester – used cars | Autotrader

Also, inbound links should ideally include the location in the anchor text, although Hugh pointed out that Google sometimes perform U-turns on best practice for inbound links.

Other techniques to improve natural results include having local reviews, directions to the location, a local address for the business, and a local phone number. These are recommendations though, not necessities.

Finally, put your local addresses in the site schema.


It's [almost] always about content, content, content...
It’s [almost] always about content, content, content…
Panda uses real world, human user data to verify the quality of sites. So a site that simply provides links to other sites, and users spend a very short period of time browsing, will be hit hard by Panda. This real user data comes from Google +, Chrome usage stats and toolbars.

Use google.com/trends and adwords.google.co.uk/keywordplanner to help with your SEO terms.

You can now have a page with little text, perhaps just a couple of sentences, followed by a video, and this may perform well. The reason is that users will stay on the page (watching the video), and this gets fed back to Google, who then interpret this as a sign of a real user finding the page interesting. This is very different to previous SEO techniques where keywords were the most important SEO consideration.

To create inbound links, Hugh recommended that you create Infographics and distribute these to other websites, making sure you have credit for the work, through good quality anchor text.

It’s important to ‘announce’ new content by promoting it on social networks – Twitter, Google+ and Facebook for example. This builds authority and will help develop you as a thought leader and people will link to your page.

Another good technique, which Google has been vocal about, is to attribute content to a particular person by linking to their Google + page.

And finally, it’s a sobering thought that on some search results such as ‘Manchester United’, the 3rd result is already below the fold!

The real value

Of course, Panda and Venice are details. The main reason why natural searches are still so important is because when a user performs a search on Google (or Bing, or any other search engine) and arrives at your website, the chances are that you have a genuinely and fully qualified lead!

See the other presentation notes from ad:tech.

Singley & Mackie’s 3 step plan for social media engagement

Keith Pape is SVP Social Engagement at Singley & Mackie and provided some practical advice for brands working in social media.

Social equalises big brands with smaller businesses. It’s a pretty even playing field

Everyone can tell a story in a different way. The top 10 most engaged brands span several industries from supermarkets to travel agents to drinks companies

Too many clients don’t understand the business, not the social, goal of a project

Their recommendation is three phases:

Grow, engage, convert. It’s vital to measure and refine at every stage.

Grow = content. Keep measuring

Engage = talk (customer service & sales/ marketing). Keep measuring

Convert = sell. Keep measuring

During the Q & A he pointed out that people don’t visit your timeline, so your content on twitter and Facebook needs to stand out from the rest of the content. Assume only 15% of your followers see each of your tweets.

Use link trackers such as bit.ly to measure click though rates.

See the other presentation notes from ad:tech.

Evian’s Wimbledon Wiggle by We are social

This is the sixth year of Evian sponsoring Wimbledon

We are social found that people we already using the live young tag line in tweets without any prompting

Out of office brainstorming session led to an idea that wasn’t received well by the client. Back to the drawing board…

Wimbledon wiggle came from how the server in a tennis game does a quick ‘wiggle’ before serving. Its obvious and recognisable.

They commissioned some music and created this video:

There was a low barrier to entry for the wiggle.

They created a Facebook app for users to upload their video. Then celebrities including Jonathan Ross joined in. Then Sharapova, who was already an Evian brand ambassador, wiggled.

The best wiggles were shown on outdoor public screens.

80,000 people interacted with Evian, with a 90 million reach

Evian achieved almost 75% share of voice for Wimbledon last year despite having a lower budget than other sponsors such as HSBC and Rolex.

See the other presentation notes from ad:tech.

ad:tech London 2013 conference

ad:tech London
ad:tech London at Olympia

I’m at ad:tech London for the next couple of days. It’s an industry exhibition in Olympia focussed on digital marketing. I’ve found this to be one of the better exhibitions – based on quality of the presentations.

There were several programme tracks to choose from this year and when I selected the ones I was interested in, there were several clashes, which demonstrates the quality of the presentations.

I found there weren’t as many client case studies as usual, which is usually a warning sign of agency sales pitches approaching, however it hasn’t been like this at all, and the agencies have been open to sharing their best practices and leaving sales pitches on their stands. I think this shows some maturity in the industry.

Here are some of the presentations I’ve been to. Apologies for brevity and any spelling/ grammatical errors. I’m trying to post these as quickly as possible. And finally, I’ll add more links as I go to more presentations.

If you’re visiting ad:tech, drop me a line or a tweet and let’s see if we can meet up.

Day 1

Day 2

Internet World 2012


The Internet World 2012 exhibition at Earls Court was far improved from previous years. It was bigger, busier and generally more upbeat – perhaps a good indication of the market, even if it was the same day that the UK re-entered a recession.

There were lots of seminars across a number of theatres. In fact, there were so many seminars and theatres over the three days that I got confused and ended up sitting in the wrong theatre a few times – but the topics were interesting enough to stay.

Two of the better presentations were from Artificial Solutions and Orange.

Artificial Solutions

Andy Peart described how virtual online assistants, such as Anna on Ikea.com, provide value to consumers and increase conversion rates.

Andy started by quoting Gartner: “By 2015, 10 percent of your online “friends” will be nonhuman”

Anna from Ikea understands 21 languages across 23 countries in a natural language, and because users interact with ‘her’ (why are virtual assistants always female?) from a webpage, she understands the context (specifically, the product) of what the user is querying. She converts over $14m of revenue a year – hence the title of Andy’s seminar “Expanding the role of your most productive virtual employee”.

Artificial Solutions ran some independent research that 96% of users visit a website to resolve a query instead of calling first, and that query should try to upsell just like a call centre would.


The focus of Orange’s presentation was A/B Testing – essentially it’s testing different solutions on different sets of users to see which is more effective.

Google do this all the time and often publish their results. They tried 41 different shades of blue for Google AdWords.

Back to Orange and their A/B Testing for push communications – such as email and bill inserts.

The first take away from the session was not to take the results of these push communications at face value.

For instance, one of the key metrics for sending emails is the open rate. If users look at an email, then great – they’ve seen your ad. Orange found that their iPhone users have the highest percentage of opening their marketing emails, and they were delighted. However, one step into the detail showed that Orange iPhone users were one of the lowest click-through groups. So they opened their emails but didn’t do anything with it.

Orange had another good point with ‘holdout groups’. These are consumers who aren’t included in the A/B Testing – to prove whether the marketing initiative (i.e. the email send) is worth doing at all. In fact, when Orange segment their users, they have holdout groups inside each segment.

All this talk of email though – and bill inserts still provide the highest consistent ROI of all push communication. I think it’s all about putting the information in someone’s hand. Email is too ‘removed’ – a leaflet is more valuable. Electronic ink will become very powerful in the hands of marketers.

And finally, Orange segment their users into several groups, including Socialites, Pragmatics, Maximers and many other groups. Maximisers are ambitious and active, career focussed workaholics.

Orange find it difficult to work with Maximisers – getting them to open emails and click on them, despite extensive A/B Testing. And that was their last point – some groups are just too difficult to market too, so concentrate on the ones who you can convert and work on increasing their ARPU (Average Revenue Per User).

Internet World


I spent today at Internet World. In the morning I met a number of vendors who we currently work with (such as Sitecore and Telligent) and ex-colleagues from my IMG days (such as Ismail at Webcredible). In the afternoon I went to a number of presentations from Blue State Digital, Attensity, Hilton and Dixons.

The presentations were far more information than previous years. All the presenters seemed more willing than previous years to impart key information – such as uptime statistics, very specific keyword analysis on social media listening (which included some negative publicity on a key client) and so on. This isn’t a complaint whatsoever – its a welcome observation.

Key points from the presentations:

Blue State Digital

  • BSD (owned by WPP, and they work with one of our clients) ran Obama’s digital campaign (13m subscribers, raised $600m donations from 3.2m donors, generated 1 million User Generated Photos of which many were used in campaign videos). 
  • A lot of thought about “seizing key moments” e.g. when Sarah Palin attacked Obama in speeches they sent plain emails responding immediately to her comments. BH: Sounds great – but how do you stop crying wolf for everything that might happen to a brand?
  • Every piece of content needs to drive a next step action (for example share, submit, click for the next step, comment) and as a proof of practising what they preached, I noticed that even the PowerPoint had questions not bullets
  • BSD recommend to their client not to mass newsletters. Instead, personalise them and target them
  • The key takeaway was on a ladder of participation, was to create one and measure it for clients. E.g. What’s the total number of consumers a brand reaches? What is the web traffic? How many email sends are there? How many emails are opened? How many Facebook fans on their page? How many people contribute in the on portal community?, and so on.


  • Key take away was their methodology: Listen, Analyse, Relate, Act
  • Conversations happen over multiple channels, not just social media and not just web. For instance they have a travel client and they “listen” to Travelocity and Hotels.com. To put this into context, most social media listening tools focus on Twitter, Facebook and some blog networks.


  • Surinder Phuller was excellent. Social media is about being open and transparent, and she got this more than most of the other social media speakers and other social experts that I’ve met in the last few months.
  • Her presentation was about using video content on social networks to improve sales
  • Their themes/ “targetted methodology” (you had to see it to understand) was to brand content, destinations, and specific hotels
  • It is an opportunity to sell ancillary services such as the spa or restaurant which historically has been very difficult within some hotel locations.
  • They sent Flip video cameras to all the hotels and asked local hotel staff to shoot them and upload them – not professional production teams
  • At first they sent the Flip cameras out and got poor quality videos back, e.g. “Here’s my ballroom, isn’t it lovely?”
  • She then worked on content plans with the hotels, training local staff with 12 month content plans with the above themes, such as asking staff at the Hilton Park Lane on their opinion of the Royal wedding
  • After the content plan the content improved to information about the local area and personal thoughts from staff members
  • The general aim was to get the hotel staff and their personalities into the videos, so you know that when you’re going to stay at a particular Hilton, you know the individual staff before you get there


  • Excellent presentation from Chris Howell, their IT Director
  • The presentation was all about customer experience – measuring it; acting on it; not hiding from the facts when the site has poor performance
  • Chris learned at Tesco what it means to be customer focussed, and his presentation was all about taking that to other companies
  • Chris raised an excellent point which is that the quote “Jack of all trades, master at none” is actually only half the quote. The full quote is “Jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than master of one“. Definitely the topic of a future blog post!

If you have some time on Wednesday, it’s worth popping down to Earls Court Two and hopefully the presentations will be as insightful as Tuesday’s. Please let me know what you thought of the exhibition via the comments below or on Twitter (@bradbox).