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30 Key Takeaways From SAScon Beta 2016

Conferences & Events

Stephanie Fenton

15th December 2016

30 Key Takeaways From SAScon Beta 2016 Last week the Venditan search and social team attended SAScon Beta - a bite-sized spin-off from the two-day conference - at the Comedy Store on Manchester’s Deansgate Locks, just a stone’s throw from Venditan HQ.

Last week the Venditan search and social team attended SAScon Beta - a bite-sized spin-off from the two-day conference - at the Comedy Store on Manchester’s Deansgate Locks, just a stone’s throw from Venditan HQ. Talks from industry experts covered all the latest developments in search, analytics and social, and we managed to catch them all this year thanks to the fact that this event was single track - a much-welcomed improvement on previous years. 

If you didn’t get the chance to attend the event yourself, here are some useful takeaways we picked up…

Link building

  • Watch out for journalist requests on Twitter and HARO. If you stick to deadlines and deliver what you promise the journalist will be more inclined to work with you again.
  • Use Google Consumer Surveys and advice pieces to react quickly to current affairs on a budget.
  • Create effective stories using your own internal data backed up by public data. Journalists love these stories as they’re unique and high quality, plus they’re cost effective to produce.
  • Find a relevant publication or journalist and offer your client’s expertise through advice pieces, features or comments.
  • Get in touch with publications to request their forward features calendars. This way you can plan ahead and share relevant content in advance.
  • Identify the kind of visuals currently favoured by publications and experiment with producing your own.
  • Give journalists a reason to write about you now - provide them with quotes on current affairs. Create a calendar of upcoming events you could potentially target and pro-actively contact journalists. Help them to fill out live blogs by providing them with quotes from your experts about what’s happening. Create bio pages on your website so that the journalists have somewhere to link their quotes to.
  • All news stories need imagery so make sure you submit some with any press release you send out. Think about the publication you are submitting your story to - 78% of the Mail Online’s pages include a video.
  • Ask the question “Can a journalist tell the story without linking to me?”. If they can then you need to rethink your campaign.
  • Your audience needs to be able to relate to your story. People remember how you made them feel so your story needs shock and emotion.

On-Page SEO

  • SEO Friendly is not a strategy - we need to think more about the buying cycle and the way users are shopping online.
  • Users complete purchases across multiple devices - completing research on mobiles and transactions on desktop.
  • The same users visiting your site on a mobile are buying on desktop. We need to stop thinking about these sessions as coming from separate users. Budget needs to be assigned to the research stage of the buying cycle.
  • Complete keyword research for all stages of the buying cycle and use this to design the structure of your website.
  • Don’t rely too heavily on product pages that will expire / go out of stock - add an extra layer to help you rank for broad match phrases.


  • Be careful when using bid modifiers or you can end up with Frankenstein bids. If you’ve adjusted bids for audience segments, devices or location, always make sure you know how much you are actually bidding.
  • Audience is integral to search, however people are still focusing heavily on targeting keyword lists.
  • The long tail keyword strategy is pushing up the cpc as everyone is doing it. Target broad match phrases but filter your campaign by audience.
  • Set up separate ad groups for each audience and create tailored and targeted messages.
  • If you have too many disapprovals within your Google Merchant Center your account can be suspended. Make sure that you are cleaning up your feeds on a regular basis and fixing any disapproved listings. 

Data & Technology

  • Every minute after someone abandons a basket you lose 1% chance of conversion. 
  • Businesses need to make sure that teams aren’t siloed and that systems talk to each other. There should be a single view of the customer covering data collected in-store, online and over the phone. Collecting an email for an e-receipt at the checkout can help with this. 
  • Retargeting should be completed from the SCV. Don’t send abandon basket emails to customers who’ve gone into store to purchase the item. 
  • Customers who spend lots in-store should be targeted online.
  • Businesses need to consider returns - the customer who places the most orders may not be your best customer and could even be costing your business money. Exclude these people from your marketing.
  • Use beacons to target online customers when they are nearby your physical store / a competitor's physical store. Meat Pack, located in Guatemala, hijacked 600 customers in a week by sending out push notification messages from their app when a customer entered a competitor's store. The message included a timed in-store discount that started at 99% and went down by 1% every minute that passed.

Future Trends & Predictions

  • Unstructured data is growing. The future is “phyigital” as the physical and digital worlds merge. Online shopping needs to become more natural. 
  • Both search engines and marketers need a better understanding of subjective and semantic search e.g. “nice jacket under £300”. 
  • We need to shift focus away from keyword matching and move towards conversational search so that we can take advantage of personal assistants and voice search.
  • Experiences should become more personalised and less intrusive. Marketers need a better understanding of “the moment” and increasing engagement with users at key touch points.
Stephanie Fenton
Stephanie Fenton

15th December 2016