Major trends in Paid Search #EUSearchCon

What is going on in Paid Search these days? What strategies and tactics are being used? What new functionalities in Google Adwords are Search marketers using for themselves or for their clients?

I have analyzed 25 of the best entries in the European Search Awards in order to identify the major trends in Paid Search. I will be presenting the results on the European Search Conference in Liverpool next month.

Paid search was such a powerful marketing tool at its inception. In the early 2000s, Search Marketing would be a challenger to all media and communication budgets as it could drive volumes, drive conversions and even prove its value. Since then, Paid Search has become a bit more humble and opened up to the marketing mix and it is fascinating to see how Paid Search integrates with other channels; Social media, of course, but also Shopping engines, email and even offline.

Strategies, tactics, functionalities and hacks

I have structured the analysis around 4 different categories:

Strategies: for many years a Search Strategy would be built on 3 elements: Granularity, Expansion and Optimisation. We still see this approach in entries in 2018 but the more advanced strategies are looking at the wider user journey and are pulling data or inspiration from outside of the Search channel.

Tactics: it is at the tactical level that most of the trends are visible. The spectrum of tactics used seems to be expanding quite a bit. We see several tactics deployed within one entry.

Functionalities: the search engines are adding a lot of functionalities and Paid Search has become a complex beast. It was never really « 15 minutes and a credit card » as Google originally announced on the Adwords entry page. Extensions are some of the most adopted functionalities and we also see mentions of machine learning.

Hacks: some of the entries are using innovative techniques. I am hoping to be able to share some of these hacks in my presentation but can’t reveal anything at this stage.

I have been a Judge on the European Search Awards for the past 4-5 years. That has given me the priviledge to see some of the best work in Search Marketing carried out across Europe. The judging experience is very rich but also time-consuming and I believe these awards are doing a wonderful job of compensating excellent work and also of making a whole industry aim for excellence.

The Awards ceremony is a great celebration but there is no time available for celebrating the content of individual entries. Each year we see new ideas emerge and each year we see quality improve.

This presentation is an aim to share some of that experience so that the industry can build upon an even stronger foundation for coming years.

I hope to see you there.

European Search Conference 2018
27 June, 2018, Liverpool International Business Festival
Discount code: ESC20SP

Start making sense again – Digital Marketing in 2017

Start making in sense again

In 1984 the rock group Talking Heads made a movie named « Stop making sense ». The title came from the lyrics in their songs and for me it was a welcome refreshment to the all-too-sensible 1980’s with their economic crises and tediously well-organized society where everything seemed to be set in stone.

Via wikipedia Fair use_Link

Then in the 90’s I was released from boredom as the WWW arrived with the promise to change the world. Make something better. Break the monopolies. Even the playing field. Let creativity come loose. Give everybody access to information. Set innovation free.

And with the internet came a new form of marketing, and with internet marketing came my career and my passion for many years. We were caught by the spell of novelty, opportunity and disruption. We invented SEO, discussion groups, communities, emailing, 1to1, stickiness, personalization, virality, social media. Everything didn’t always fit together but we were constantly trying and learning and improving.


We invented remarketing, RTB, programmatic, marketing automation, audience planning, gamification, geofencing, native ads and chatbots…

And somewhere along the way, we lost something. The most precious thing for anyone who communicates. We lost the audience. We lost the end-user. Fed up with spam and with inconsistent messaging, the end user bails out. Done with ads, done with flames on social media. Need for Digital Detox. But we only really found out once adblocking changed the rules of the game.

I think it was the story that broke. The story we try to tell with our brands. We have been so eagerly focusing on getting the message out, that the story got bent and distorted and over-repeated. Everybody is to blame because we forgot what we were really trying to do. In communication, the key is the audience. In marketing the key is the customer experience.

2017 will be the year where we aim to Start making sense again. We will stop bidding on keywords just because they represent an economic opportunity and start thinking about the user moment and the fit with our brands. We will stop using multiple remarketers in parallel and start thinking holistically about exposure capping and consistency and sequencing of our story. We will stop doing sprinkler campaigns covering the entire marketplace and start systematically building our campaigns on the basis of qualified audiences. And most importantly, we will start considering the omnichannel experience and try to build the story from the end-users point of view. This will require the digital marketer to deeply understand brand values, personas and transmedia storytelling. We have work to do…

(this article was originally published as my contribution to the Acquisio 2017 Digital marketing predictions ebook)

The Missing Link in Digital Marketing

Missing link in digitalThe Missing Link in Digital

There is a missing link in Digital Marketing. I am talking about a discontinuation of meaning from one area of marketing excellence called Brand Advertising into another area of marketing excellence called Performance Marketing. The link has been missing forever. It was the same one described in the famous phrase “I know half my advertising budget is wasted but I don’t know which half”. Well, this is 2015 and we know a lot more about what works and what doesn’t. However, in most cases, it is impossible to establish the direct link between the Brand exposure and the final conversion on a website.

When you invest heavily in brand exposure it has an impact on the performance of your conversions. You KNOW it works but you can’t always SHOW it works.

From TV to Digital

In order to illustrate the missing link from TV to digital, I had the chance to monitor a website during TV exposure. The founder of a small company got exposure on National TV in France. No paid media was active at that point in time and as the brand has only existed for 3 years, it does not show up in Google Trends – it is an emerging brand. Needless to say, exposure on National TV generates an immediate traffic peak the very moment the company is mentioned on TV. Boom. Three and half minutes of brand happiness.

This is what a 1000% lift in traffic looks lik

This is what a 1000% lift in traffic looks like

The TV exposure could not in any way be seen in the tracking data. No clicks from the live streaming or the TV channel’s website. So obviously there is a missing link between TV exposure and the traffic on the website. Fair enough, there is a missing link between an offline and the online effect, you would say. On the monitoring side, we can see the peak in Analytics as illustrated above, but we can’t show where the traffic came from. When we dig deeper and analyze the origin of the traffic, the referrals show that 86% of the traffic on the 21st of April comes from organic search. We could draw a fully documented wrong conclusion saying we did a great job in SEO.

From Facebook to Website via Replay

After the TV exposure, we tried to prolong the positive effect of the exposure by posting a link to the video replay URL and boosting its audience on Facebook – it seems to have had an effect the following 4 days where traffic was still significantly higher than normal. This was an entirely digital exposure. There was no physical link from the TV Replay page to the website.

The afterburner effect was most likely generated by this boosted post on Facebook promoting the replay of the TV sequence exposing the post to 12000 people. We KNOW it but we can’t SHOW it. Looking into Analytics we find 4 visits from Social Media and 77% from organic search compared to an average of 66% organic search traffic the month before. Traffic was more than double its normal level. There is thus a missing link between Social Media exposure and website traffic.

From Display to Website

Similar effects happen in Display Advertising although there is a way to start measuring the impact of Display advertising, namely using a post-view and a post-click approach. In short, this would mean a tracking cookie would be placed on the computer viewing a banner ad. If a subsequent conversion happens within a certain time-period, the Display View could possibly have caused or contributed to the conversion. If we there is no tracking of postview or the cooking is not kept or if the user shifts device (shuffling computer, smartphone, tablets), the link goes missing again.

Taking Down Goliath

I had a discussion a while back with a highly respected online marketer, Kevin M Ryan about his new book on Digital marketing. « Taking Down Goliath » is a hands-on, no BS Digital Marketing Manual written from the perspective of small business which I can strongly recommend.

The underlying thesis is sound and compelling: the Internet has levelled the playing field. You don’t have to be a Goliath to succeed in Online Marketing.

In one of the early chapters, I dwelled on a phrase I had to give some thought. The authors say something in the line of:

“There are 2 types of campaigns, Direct Response and Branding. You have to set your objectives in order to succeed what you venture to do. For Direct Response, your objective will be conversions and for Branding it will be exposure”.

I am not usually that categorical about the division as I have always wanted to believe that you can achieve what everyone wants: Branding with Performance. I know from my own agency that we try to carry everything into a performance objective in our yearly plans – but then I also know that we can rarely show the direct relation between branding effects and the performance. We factor them into conversion rates and direct traffic. In the end it comes to this: In a long term view you can see the relation between Branding and Performance but in the short run and at the campaign level, there is a missing link.

Meantime in real life

In the process of documenting a presentation for SMX London, I dug into some client data at the campaign level. I factorized the data so as to show no real figures and only relative proportions and I arranged the communication “channels” on a range from Brand to Performance based on a wonderful tool Google provide on the customer journey to online purchase in that particular sector: Budget and ROI trendsThe red bars show a comparative cost per click and the green bars show an indication of the ROI as measured on the last click (well, ROAS, Return on Ad Spend, really but let’s call it ROI for simplicity). The data includes no postview tracking and no attribution modelling. What we see is massive cost and inexistent ROI of “Display Advertising” and “Facebook Ads” and massive ROI of “Direct traffic” and “Organic traffic” at no media cost. Due to the missing link, what the graph show us is this: If you want Branding, don’t look at channel-wise ROI, if you want short term ROI don’t do Branding.

Remarketing is part of the answer

There has been a lot of talk about remarketing for the past years and the beauty of remarketing in its traditional form is to marry a classical Branding channel, namely Display advertising, with a performance metric. Remarketing allows you to do the trick of doing a targeted Performance campaign to someone who had previously been exposed to your brand. Remarketing often tries to do more than that but also has its limits. Remarketing is not the missing link – it is merely a patch.

DMPs are probably much better

More recently, the digital marketing community talks about Data Management Platforms (DMPs). A DMP plugs into all an advertisers’ audiences and ideally into the advertisers’ CRM also. It concentrates all the different knowledge of the customers into a common view and can be used to design multi-channel campaigns and further add understanding. It can be used to pursue the same goal of identifying an audience which has been sufficiently exposed to a brand in order to run performance campaigns and drive revenue. The promise of an end-to-end solution to compensate for the missing link is there. Will we still be able to take down a “Goliath with a DMP”, I wonder?

And Facebook Ads have it all

Until recently, remarketing and DMPs would be counting on a great Display inventory for their campaigns. It was called the FBX, or Facebook Exchange, and it allowed external advertisers to place ads within the Facebook ecosystem. But recently, it looks like Facebook are looking to turn the tables. Looking closer into the Facebook advertising universe, it has dawned on me that Facebook actually already provide an end-to-end solution of Brand to Performance. Within the Facebook universe, you can run a Branding exercise and subsequently use the exact audience who saw your ads as a “Custom Audience” for which you subsequently run a Performance or Direct Reponse campaign. You will still be looking at 2 different campaigns with different metrics but if you want to establish the link between them that is an easy exercise.

With digital communication continuing to fragment across an ever increasing number of channels and sites it will not be an easy task to keep up with the interrelations in the data. Even with Big Data and DMPs. We are likely to have to continue living with the missing link in its various forms for a while still.

(Comments and feedback welcome on the LinkedIn version of this article which you can find here)

Trends in Digital Marketing Vocabulary

The Internet has always been a mature ground for innovation and new concepts. The challenge of Digital Marketers and Start-uppers alike has consequently been to explain, persuade and sometimes to sell these concepts to potential investors, clients and journalists mostly with words, images and demonstrations.

digitalmarketingvocabularyAt the beginning of each new year and after having read our colleagues’ predictions for what will happen, we –the digital marketers – start looking at what we should call things this year, as well as new words we should add to the Digital Marketers vocabulary temporarily or permanently. Let’s have a look at how you can check up on trends.


If we are a little late on the trend and it has already taken off, there will be enough data in the database of intentions to show us where the market is going. In this case we can go directly to Google Trends and ask for a prediction. Here is an example:

2015-01-15 17-34-38 Screenshot

Google trends plugs into the database of searches in their search engine and provide this insight. It has show to be an excellent tool for understanding and documenting trends such as brand strength, language preferences and rising trends. If we are a little early on the trend, the volume of searches will not be sufficient to show up on Google trends. Furthermore, the predictive part of Google Trends will only predict about 1 month into the Future and what we would like to do is to look a little further.


Moving on from Google’s database of intentions, I thought it useful to plug into LinkedIn’s Collective Mind. I reached out to some of the contacts I have on LinkedIn which I know have their finger on the pulse. Most were interested in participating in what I called a Crystal Ball exercise of guessing what words will be taking a strong share of our voice in this brand new year although only a few actually met the deadline. Thought Leaders are busy people.

VOCABULARY STILL GOING STRONG: content marketing, predictive analytics, programmatic advertising

Content marketing is the Art of driving your online presence with contents, optimizing its distribution in search and social and amplifying the same contents via paid media. The visibility of this term continues to soar but may have reached a peak mid-2014. Not so new anymore and facing structural change in organizations to really be adopted, the concept may have lost a little of its hype.

Some of its energy may have been passed to Influencer marketing and Lee Odden suggested another related term Participation marketing as something to watch in 2015.

Predictive analytics has actually been around for a long time with steady growth and increasing importance. There are no worthy replacements or evolutions for this term in discussions I have had. We use the term analytics for all the data crunching we do with all the big data we are harvesting. We may be using predictive analytics for things that were data-driven in 2014. One step up. With predictive analytics we aim to calculate scenarios for the short-term future. We typically create these scenarios for campaign performance across various channels. Lee Odden of Toprankmarketing included this term in his top list for 2015.

Programmatic advertising is a much more recent term and expected by Kevin M Ryan, author of‏ Taking down Goliath to be one of the big hitters of 2015. For the big believers in Biddable Media, a term coined by Will Margiloff back in 2010, we will have to face the fact that the new-comer programmatic will win the game in 2015.  Programmatic advertising is rules- and bidding-based advertising taking inputs from not just a strategy but also from data input, now including not just a visit to your site (that is remarketing) but also the weather, CRM data and other events or inputs.  Will this term will take away some of the focus on remarketing (also still going strong) and might replace the use of words like RTB, DSP and Display advertising.

Native advertising is advertising closely adapted to its media host. In the New Clues from 2 of the Cluetrain Manifesto authors, they are heavily criticizing Native Advertising because of adaptations to the media disguising or removing the notion of advertising in a way that fools the reader. Why don’t we just call them what they are, advertorials?! Well, because advertorials is a restrictive designation and because Native advertising was a buzzword in 2014. With a heated debate, the term might be on many digital marketers’ lips in 2015.

TRENDY PREPOSITIONS FOR 2015: crypto, bio, neuro, connected

Bitcoins fell from grace during 2014 and the currency value in USD progressively fell during the whole year. The currency is almost back to its 2013 pre-boom and pre-crash value and remains a serious challenger to the existing monetary system. Additionally, underlying the currency layer there are several interesting concepts like the blockchain, the cryptography and the decentralized operation of the Bitcoin system. These could very well help generate new interesting buzzwords in 2015 with a lot of crypto- prepositions.

Biosignals is data from your body collected by wearables. They are about to enter Big Data and the cloud and at the same time they represent intimately private data. The bio- preposition will be present in our vocabulary as we try to understand the impact of biosignals on digital marketing and how to get it right. Not far away there will be the neuro- cousins pulling data from our brains and acting on them. Stop smoking with an app, enhance your memory with a game, control pain with the help of neuroscience progress.

Connected streets, connected cars, connected stores (or will they be Digital stores) all want to be part of the Internet of Everything together with Wearables and other Intelligent Objects. They are old concepts but they are still in the process of coming to life and to boom. We will of course see lots of “connected” words in our vocabulary this year and where we have connected items we are likely to also see beacons or small cells more frequently.


OTT and Multi-Channel Networks (Matt McGowan). I had to ask him “what is OTT?” The term designates digital media transported over the internet as opposed to transport via other, more traditional, media channels. The Netflix boom is an OTT trend but there are many others. I also had to look up the Multi-Channel Networks and they are part of the digital video distribution ecosystem. Digital Video being set to continue its progression, it seems likely that these more technical terms could go mainstream.

Hyper-Personalization (Lee Odden): the use of profile, behavioral and third-party data to personalize contents and ads.

Apology marketing (Kevin Ryan): make a social media blunder, make a top-notch apology and harvest all the social signals of restored goodwill.


I probably missed a number of things and would be happy to react on your input. There are also things I didn’t really address in this article. From CRM to PRM, from storytelling to transmedia, from disruption to inception. Feel free to comment here or on the LinkedIn article is published.


The Dark Side of the Attention Society

I saw this wonderful film on a flight once. Such is the wonder of chance – I was not predestined to watch this film – I zapped through the channels and I had 4 hours to waste on a long haul flight across the Pacific. I would, of course, never have seen it otherwise: the title sounds stupid and superficial and nobody had really marketed that film to me.

The film is about a guy who is miserable and declines everything. He is a no-man. For some reason he decides to change his life and become a Yes-man. All hell breaks loose as he literally says Yes to everthing. Fun film, happy it landed on me and really interesting illustration of the importance of Yes and No.

Unfortunately the last 10 years have seen a one-sided construction of the Attention Society – this new digital economy we live in with is communication channels in hefty mutation – where the No-man has disappeared. Everything is Like, Share, Yes, +1 with almost no room for critique and no room for opposing views.

A good illustration of this was a discussion I saw on LinkedIn. A “specialist” published an article with a provocative title, as it happens so often: “SEO is Dead” or something of the likes. This specialist had some “clout” – a word which has taken its full meaning after the arrival of the service “klout” which became famous by measuring the “influence” of a person’s social media profile. He had enough clout to bring his article to the visibility of some other influencers and when enough influencers had given their “social signals” to the article, it also came to my attention.

The promise in the title is not kept

I remember reading the article and thinking once again “The promise is in the title is not kept”. It was a poorly argumented article with a flashy title and it had made it way to my attention. So I started looking at the reasons why this article had made it to my attention – the main one was that a real specialist – someone who has worked on SEO for the past 15 years or more, criticized the article in the comments. For every point of critique, the author gave a vague answer and so the list of comments prolonged and occasionally more people would chip in also.

And that is where Truth was killed by the Edge rank. This was not on Facebook who created Edge rank: the algorithm which decides what become visible and what not. This piece of content had very strong Social Signals – negative ones. This made the article soar and come all the way up to my attention. I decided NOT to comment on the article in order not to contribute to it’s increased attention.

This kind of thing happens more and more often. There is a multiplication of catchy titles and an over-emphasis on getting the necessary “clout” for your message to even be heard. I get really frustrated when I read a crap article, badly written or not documented, because if I argue or comment “this is not worth reading”, it is as if I was saying “Yes – this article deserves attention”. Additionally, the overemphasis on shortness and catchyness reduces the reader’s attention span even further and makes it impossible to have people read all the way to the end.

Ok, so this is where I need to insert a catchy image or something to make sure you read all the way to the end.

The statement in the tweet above is made on the basis of this frustration. A catchy title – Top lists are always good. I even decided to make the title a lie 🙂 A beautiful image to illustrate the concept of silence, important to the message. And there was the resizing and adaptation to the right publication sizes.

Don’t talk if you can’t improve the silence

It is a hard sell. How can you promote silence when you need noise to be heard? How can you suggest the No when only Yes counts?

The Attention Society has revealed its Dark Side.

Smile on the photo, say Yes and remember to ‘Like’ this 🙂

Content Marketing: is it SEO or SMO? (SMX Paris)

It is not a simple “either… or…” question we decided to deal with on SMX Paris this year together with Erick Hostacy from Yourastar. My background is Search Marketing whereas Ericks background is Social Media.


We decided to deal with the subject in a provocative way. I would be the SEO-man and Erick would be the SMO-man. Each of us introduced the subject explaining how “Content Marketing is SEO” and “Content Marketing is SMO” to then alternately present our Proof Case Studies illustrating our case and making nasty allbeit almost politically correct comments on each other’s cases.

I have extracted my part of the presentation below and will embed Erick’s presentation if he decides to publish it also.

Thanks to our moderator Annie Lichtner and thanks to Erick for a session people seemed to enjoy.
We had a lot of fun 🙂

That animal-named update of the biggest search engine which deals with entities

smxlondonJust home from SMX London, I have realised just how important some of the take-aways were. The biggest one for me was the session about Entity Search. A session moderated by Danny Sullivan with David Amerland and Justin Briggs speaking.

Before reading any further, do this :

  1. copy the title of this article
  2. use the title as a search query in Google*

Your result page will show the answer to the natural language query I used as a title for this article.

* since the article was published and the title was republished on, the search results page has changed. Before indexation, Google would show an article by Danny Sullivan about Hummingbird and Entity Search. Now it is this article which comes out top, at least if the author is in your circles on G+

From Recovery to Discovery

For those in search marketing, you will realise that this is new. It seems like search engines have always been based on keywords and served a purpose of navigational recovery: the search result will show me results corresponding to what is known but hidden somewhere (for example in my mind, in my bookmarks)

With a search results page adding something not outspoken to my query, I no longer need to use the concept of keywords, I can move on to a natural language querying and the function of the Search engine will allow for a function of Discovery. Finding something I didn’t know of.

The Art of Not using Keywords

I find this inspiring and started playing around with some queries. Justin Briggs gave me the first couple:

These queries are all about films because this semantic territory is very structured with entities and properties easy to define but I will come with examples from an other territory further ahead.

From Keywords to Entities

Where the Search paradigm used to be based on Keywords, their pro-eminence in the pages and in the backlinks, we seem to have passed beyond this in. The queries do not name the answer we are looking for whereas the search results page does. We are perhaps seeing the result for the « Entity » that has been identified as the answer to the query.

So what is Entity Search?

On the SMX, David Amerland made a reference to the US Patent number 8538984, which supposedly is the foundation for this Google update. The Patent can be found here as well:

As opposed to other recent animal-named Google algorithm updates, Panda and Penguin which are considered as add-ons, the Hummingbird is a complete rewrite.

What the Hummingbird update does is to move away from the concept of keywords and into the underlying entities. A search query is analysed in order to understand the meaning behind the keywords within and the search results are based on the presence of entities.

We see this effect more clearly on natural language searches using more words in the query. It also likely works more effectively in structured semantic territories. Justin Briggs pointed to Freebase (a Google acquisition) as a likely source of structure to the entities.

Exploring Entities

Let’s have a look into Freebase and the structure of Entities. It is almost noon so I was starting to think about food. Here is a view of the Entity « Dish » in Freebase :

2014-05-19 11-23-35 ScreenshotType of dish: starter, dessert, …

Cuisine: French, Indian, …

Ingredients: Eggs, Ham, …



So, Dish is an Entity under Food and it has the properties: Type, Cuisine, Ingredients and Recipes.

This inspired me to test this query :

« how to prepare that mexican starter with fish, shrimps and lime juice »

2014-05-19 11-37-59 Screenshot

The result on top comes out as a Mexican Recipe for Ceviche. Out of the 12 word query only one of the words appear in the title and I see entity attributes highlighted in the snippet : shrimp, fish, lime, dessert but also, disappointingly, the word « make » which is by no means neither a keyword, nor an entity property.

The Future of Search?

With a number of changes having occured within Search Marketing and especially SEO during the past couple of years, I hadn’t really noticed this under-the-hood change. And I don’t think this will change Search Marketing instantly as I believe the shift to Entity-driven results will be gradual. Most users have now been “keyword search” educated and it will take some time to unlearn. SEOs, however, should start shifting tracks now. Keyword research has become obsolete – we need to look for Entities, Properties and Attributes.

Read more :


European Search Awards 2014 – in Iceland

EuropeanSearchAwards2014The European Search Awards aim to identify and promote the best in SEO, PPC, Digital and Content Marketing in Europe as presented by technology providers, agencies and in-house teams alike.

The more entries, the better the quality and the higher the visibility and value of the prize so this is an invitation to submit your best piece of work from 2013 to enter the competition. Entries must be submitted by 17 January 2014 here: European Search Awards.

I think it is important for the Search and Digital community to embrace this type of event in order to continue to learn, improve and share what we do on a daily basis. This is a way to help us to continuously deliver better and more value to our bosses, clients and end-users alike.

I am looking forward to being part of the judging panel and hopefully be both impressed and inspired by what friends, professional contacts, former colleagues and complete strangers alike will be submitting in each of the fields.

The Awards will be presented at a prestigious award dinner at the Grand Hotel Reykjavik on Friday 28 March 2014

As a judge, I promise to be impartial, really hard but also very just 🙂

Program and Early Bird on SMX Stockholm 2013

As promised, here is an update on the (nearly) definitive program for SMX Stockholm 2013 for which I am Chair for the first time. We have ended-up with 4 Keynote / plenary sessions sessions at the start and end of the conference:

  • 14/10 9.30 – Julius van de Laar: “Storytelling and Microtargeting”
  • 14/10 10.15 – Bas van den Beld: “Consumer Psychology and Search & Social”
  • 14/10 17.00 – Dixon Jones: “Can Big Data save the World”
  • 15/10 16.00 – Mike Moran: “What’s Next for the Digital Marketer?”
    (detailed agenda here:

So we are starting the conference with a Keynote which is an eye-opener on how Digital Marketing works in Politics and how you plan your messaging, your interaction and your content distribution. For most Search Marketer this should be a bit of a Wake-up call on the power of contents and social media. Julius van de Laar has previously keynoted SMX Munich with great success and this session is an absolute must. We have placed the session at 9.30 so travellers on early flights from all of the Nordics can just make it to the session if Stockholm traffic isn’t too bad that day.

In the following session, State of Search founder Bas van den Beld will take us a little closer into known territories but will focus on the person behind the click in his Consumer Psychology session. Knowing the quality of Bas’s frequent presentations this should be both very fun and very instructive so here is another can’t-miss session.

And we are closing the Day 1 program with an inspirational session by Dixon Jones from MajesticSEO. Just the kind of thing we need before wrapping up on an intense first day – with a focus on “Big Data” as well as on our role and responsabilities as Search Marketers today. Search has proven to be one of the most Data-intensive disciplines on the Web and most of us were already Big Data-enabled when the buzz-word arrived. So can Big Data save the World?

On Day 2 at the end of the conference we have placed a Check-out Keynote by Mike Moran on the future perspectives for the Digital Marketer.  Mike Moran is an engaging speaker and with his closing session we are making sure everybody has a compelling reason to stay until the end of conference. You can still reach a return flight from Arlanda and you will have plenty of food for thought on your way home after this session.

Between the keynotes, the Day 1 program has 2 tracks where the Organic Track is focused on Organic Media, including SEO and SMO as those disciplines are tending to overlap and integrate. The Paid Track is focused on Biddable Media including Paid Search and Display advertising. As an umbrella to the two tracks, we have placed a plenary session dedicated to the co-habitation of Organic and Paid Media and the synergies between them.

The Day 2 program has two different tracks where the Advanced SEO track is aiming to cover both complex technical subjects like Semantic mark-up, Google Analytics for SEO and the popular session on pulling data from the APIs directly into an Excel sheet – and then the more conceptual themes like Authorship and the rise of G+.

The other Day 2 track is the Nordics Track where international experts will present custom research on the Nordic markets in terms of Social Media landscape, Ranking factors, PPC characteristics and Link landscapes. I wrote some more about this session in an earlier post which you can find here: Nordics Track

The format of this years SMX Stockholm is a little different from other years in its overarching structure as described above, however, the individual sessions will have a familiar format with 2 speakers providing different angles on the topic with 15-20 minutes formal presentation time and room for questions in the end. We will also aim to make all the presentations available to participants after the end of the conference. Many of the main speakers have already been announced on the conference website and more will be added as they are confirmed.

We think this is quite an attractive program and I am personally looking very much forward to this conference. I hope my role as conference chair will also allow me to sometimes just sit back and listen to some of the excellent speakers. There is an early bird pricing which ends on 6 of September which you can find here.

Comments and feedback on the program is more than welcome both before, during and after the conference. So don’t hesitate to connect via social networks or come and have a chat in Stockholm.

SMX Stockholm 2013 will have a “Nordics” track

I will be the chair of SMX Stockholm 2013 on 14-15 October together with Jens Hård, the CEO of Outrider Sweden. With a Danish-Swedish tandem in charge of the program it is obvious that we will aim to further broaden the scope and we are setting up an Advisory board including representatives from all the markets.

We are launching something new called the Nordics track. This track which is on the second day of the conference will focus on the Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Icelandic markets seen as a whole and from the outside.

There will be a focus on Ranking factors specific for the Nordics. What? Different ranking factors in different countries? Well as keyword morphology and backlink profiles are very different from one market to the next, ranking factors differ. Marcus Tober founder of SearchMetrics is aiming to do dedicated research on this for the conference.

In paid search, there are obvious differences also and I have convinced Sean Malseed from SEMrush to also do some dedicated research for this conference. He will be looking more specifically on the ecommerce sector and compare across the Nordic markets.

We are also planning to address the topic of “the Nordics as ONE market”. Adding the 5 populations together you reach some 25 million inhabitants. From a global marketers perspective that may not seem much but the market has some fascinating characteristics in terms of buying power, internet penetration, standard of living. Remains therefore the challenge of managing Search campaigns across 4-5 languages of which at least 3 are very close but not the same.

There will be plenty of reasons for coming to SMX Stockholm this year and catching the early bird AND an early flight booking can even make it quite affordable. Oh, and we will be aiming to do some SMX After Dark as well…

I will do some more updates on this event as we progress towards the final program and speaker line-up!