July 18, 2016 | Sarah Danks

Annual #MnSummit

The 2016 MnSearch Summit took place on June 24th at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and was everything a successful online marketing conference should be: chock-full of great speakers, well-attended, upbeat and oh-so-informative.

Just like last year’s Summit, MnSearch did a fantastic job of inviting great talent — speakers and keynotes alike — to wow the 350+ attendees. There were 3 tracks again this year to accommodate all the awesome sessions:

Session 1

  • Will Scott, Search Influence
  • Roger Dooley, Dooley Direct
  • Andrew Shotland, Local SEO Guide

Session 2

  • Purna Virji, Bing Ads
  • Larry Kim, Wordstream
  • Darren Shaw, Whitespark

Session 3

  • Elizabeth Marsten, CommerceHub
  • Casey Markee, Media Wyse
  • Jon Henshaw, Raven Tools

Session 4

  • John Lee, Clix Marketing
  • Lea Pica, Search Discovery
  • Dennis Goedegebuure, Fanatics

Session 5

  • Oli Gardner, Unbounce
  • Stefan Schnabl, Google
  • Lexi Mills, Manyminds

Plus two awesome keynotes — the Summit was kicked off in the morning by a great presentation from Mike King, and the afternoon keynote was a never-before-seen debate betwixt Rand Fishkin and Wil Reynolds.

Check out the simple recaps from each speaker’s presentation — along with Tweets and links to slides.

Morning Keynote: Mike King, iPullRank

8:40am – 9:30am

mike-kingSEO: The Same As It Ever Was


Mike started out by telling us this would be his last conference before he and his wife have a baby!


He talked about four main areas:

  • Progressive web apps
  • Firebase
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages
  • Google’s push for machine learning

He said he was asked not to talk about “technical SEO,” but should instead cover a broader topic…

…which he went on to say is indicative of the larger problem we who’re trying to do SEO have.

Mike smartly says, despite all the new technologies and cool features that Google gives us, not much about SEO has changed.

And Google’s so far beyond brands, marketers and SEO software companies.

Here are some other takeaways from Mike’s keynote:

Lots of clients still don’t understand what it takes to do good (white hat) link building. In fact, clients generally won’t make real changes until Google puts an algorithmic gun to their head.

SEO suffers from 4 core problems
  1. doesn’t have just one source of truth,
  2. SEOs don’t measure the right things,
  3. SEOs don’t develop effective business cases, &
  4. SEOs can’t keep up with Google’s technical advancements

Here’s how to solve 3 of them:

1. Measuring the right things.

Don’t look to traffic as a success metric, then say it’s hard to prove ROI!

Organic search is a channel, and like every other marketing channel it should be measured based on its ability to meet business objectives.

Set up your KPIs by need state and content type; Google Analytics content groupings support user journey measurement.

“The only thing rankings measure is opportunity; your reporting needs to be about outcomes.”


~ Mike King


2. Building effective cases.

Audience insights tell a compelling story; better keyword research builds a better SEO business case. Great keyword research maps to need states & personas. (Not provided)? No problem — build user journeys to map to keywords.

PRO TIP: search analytics gives you 5000 keywords in the API.

Persona and Need State classification must be done by hand; build your own click-through rate (CTR) model.

Stop taking screenshots of Google tools and calling them a deliverable!

Prioritize recommendations — give priority scores to what you’ve recommended. People want to know what the impact will be so they can determine what to go after.

Give context! Your recommendations will hit many desks before potentially being implemented. Be sure to give business AND technical context.

We also need to improve our pitches: one of the most important parts of our jobs.

Fail #1: Weak presentation. (Resolution: present a deck in person)

Fail #2: Leaving out key stakeholders (Resolution: invite them all)

Fail #3: Not showing value (Resolution: better measurement planning)

Fail #4: Relying on too much data (Resolution: let the story do the work)

3. Keeping up with technical advancements.

Google moved from “strings to things” about 4 years ago. Do YOU have an entity strategy?

…because Google sure does.

  • Alchemy API,
  • Moz’s new tool,
  • OnPage.org’s TF-IDF tool,
  • optimal 301 redirects…

A common thread across many of Google’s innovations is they all require more speed.

How can we all improve?

SEO needs to step up its technical understanding in order to be more effective. We need to understand:

  • Document Object Model (DOM)
  • Critical Rendering Path
  • Page Speed
  • Log File Analysis
  • SEO for Javascript Frameworks
  • DevTools
  • Accelerated Mobile & Instant Pages
  • HTTP/2


Check out Mike’s presentation in all its glory.

First Session

9:45am – 10:30am

Will Scott: CEO of Search Influence

will-scottCompeting and Winning in a Pay-to-Play World


Will started off with a bang by telling us our job (as marketers) is to get good content in the hands of ready buyers. Think that sounds easy?

  • Americans are on phones and tablets 4.7 hours a day (probably more now with Pokemon Go…)
  • 2.13 billion people are on social networks
  • Average consumer spends 198 minutes inside of apps


True social is getting harder, because:

1. those darn consumers keep getting smarter

How to reach them? Good content is still key.

But, tone down the sales messages. Find your own “desirees,” reward with exclusives, feature your fans.

Subtlety wins every time.

Oh, and if your brand is on social media, you must REPLY REPLY REPLY! Don’t leave comments/engagement with their hands in the air.

2. maintain constant presence

Yeah, right…


  • 180,000 Facebook posts added,
  • 6,000 Tweets Tweeted,
  • 428 Instagram pictures posted,
  • 117,986 YouTube videos watched…

every second.

(I’m going to let that soak in for a second.)

3. impossible to engage with a “caged” audience

Facebook algorithms limit brand reach, and you don’t own Facebook…

…so pay-to-play is the logical answer.

Advertisers are slated to spend $54 billion on social media ads in 2020.

But how to use social media ads?

  • local awareness ads
  • Facebook promoted post
  • LinkedIn sponsored update
  • Pinterest sponsored pins

Traditional media is selling out; lines between media are blurred. It’s even more important to know your audience now.

You need to channel your target customer: “Who buys my product/service?”

Define your ideal customer:

  • Men or women
  • Age
  • Marital / family status
  • Income
  • Location

What makes them tick?

  • Likes / dislikes
  • Interests
  • Values
  • Lifestyle


See Scott’s presentation in its entirety.

Roger Dooley: Founder of Dooley Direct

roger-dooleyNeuro-persuasion: Brain-based Strategies for Digital Marketers


Mr. Dooley is such a nice man — and he wears cowboy boots! Can’t argue with that logic; he’s a man after my own heart.

Unfortunately, Roger hasn’t released his MnSummit presentation slides yet, so I’m unable to give a recount of what he talked about, save for what was said on Twitter.

mnsummit-tweet-roger-1 mnsummit-tweet-roger-2 mnsummit-tweet-roger-3

When he posts his slides, I’ll link them here.

Andrew Shotland: Founder of Local SEO Guide

andrew-shotlandEnterprise SEO Is Always the Lowest Priority…Until It’s Not



Andrew asks, what do in-house SEOs DO, anyway? “The chief priority of big-brand in-house SEO: don’t let the rest of the organization screw it up.”

(From having worked at a Big Box Brand called, let’s say, “Giant Purchase,” I wholeheartedly agree with his statement.)

Andrew’s put his kids through college on this easy-to-avoid error: disallow: /

A good way to get Googlebot to puke in your lap:


Google said HTTPS is critical — but don’t jump to conclusions.

Make sure you have the whole picture of where your traffic is coming from! E.g., dip in organic traffic? damn. Oh but wait — there’s a massive uptick in Google My Business traffic!

But the Google guy said responsive was the way to go…


…but here’s what he didn’t say:



Andrew has a good point when he says, Greed is not good if SEO is bad.

Other takeaways:

  • Google’s prone to pooping its pants and throwing a tantrum
  • Adding photos to Google My Business listing can help a struggling local business
  • Once you go HTTPS, you can’t go back
  • Bump up your Page 2 results
  • Clean up your dirty sitemap

And remember: if you can’t do SEO, do local SEO.


Want to see the entire presentation? Get Andrew’s slides here.

Second Session

10:45m – 11:30am

Purna Virji: Senior Bing Ads PPC Training Manager

purna-virjiThe Voice Search Revolution: How to Get Prepared


Purna started off her session right — by telling us how awesome we are here in the Twin Cities!


She says we unconsciously alter our behavior for voice vs. text searches; then posed the question: how is voice search going to change the world of advertisers?

Let’s talk about it.

  1. Who’s using voice search?
  2. What you can do now
  3. What we can expect

So, who’s actually using voice search?

People searching for “coffee near me,” or “restaurants near me.”

Voice search is only going to grow and gain search share — USA Android is at 20%; Baidu at 10%, Bing Taskbar at 25%.

1/3 of Cortana queries come from voice search.

WHEN are we using it?

  • quick answers
  • otherwise occupied
  • typing challenges

According to Behshad Behzadi of Google, voice search is growing faster than typed search. And comScore says by 2020 50% of searches will come from voice.

“We are on the cusp of a new frontier that pairs the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence.


~Satya Nadella, Microsoft”

According to Google, the future of search is an “ultimate mobile assistant that helps you through your daily life, so you can focus on the things that matter.”

In this ever-changing mobile and search landscape, what do marketers need to do?

Rethink keywords — voice queries are a little longer; whereas typed queries are concentrated around 1-3 words.



Use VERBS: “where can I buy….order…”

Rethink local-mobile  mobile voice search is 3x more likely to be local-based than text search.

So localize your keywords:

  • near Target field,
  • by the sculpture garden,
  • close to Lake Calhoun

And, optimize citations and microdata.

76% of smartphone searchers have used a store locator or location extension to help them find and visit a local store.

so optimize mobile-preferred ad formats, location and call extensions.

Rethink intent-based bids  question phrases = degree of intent.

What/who > how > when > where. As questions progress down the line, intent goes from interest to ready-to-act.

so do this: what, how (much), where, how (do), what’s, when?

Rethink branding — mispronunciations can hurt your brand:


So be sure to research common misspellings/ mispronunciations; relevant negative keywords.

Rethink creative — maximize relevancy. E.g., what are some Bahamas vacation deals for June?

Make it visual. Add descriptors in your title: brand name, silk, size M, etc.

Add relevant, high-quality keywords, and helpful extensions: reviews, “act now.”

Fact: early adopters usually have the advantage.

So, what can we expect from voice search?

  • talking to cars,
  • watches that do everything for us,
  • “Cortonas,”
  • appliances that know things,
  • and more.

Of course there’ll be a rush to monetize voice search.

“The time to adapt for voice search is right now.”


~ Purna Virji


  1. Rethink keywords
  2. Rethink local-mobile
  3. Rethink intent
  4. Rethink branding
  5. Rethink creative

Use your voice.


Get Purna’s presentation to see the whole message.

Larry Kim: Founder of WordStream

larry-kimHacking RankBrain: The 4 Robot-Destroying Weapons You’ll Need to Survive SEO Judgment Day


RankBrain — what is it?


Larry explained that it’s Google’s machine-learning “addition” to the algorithm that enables the interpretation of query meanings. It also extrapolates what content is working for certain queries/visitors.

“RankBrain used on long tail queries / query interpretation … that changes rank.”

But how does it REALLY work?


Larry’s RankBrain theory: High click-through rate (CTR), long tail rankings get additional bonus ranking boost.

Takeaway: machine learning (in general) makes stuff increasingly winner-take-all.

If that’s true, what should SEOs do to prepare for RankBrain and other machine learning-enabled algos?

Work on improving click-through rate (CTR).

“SEO” headlines are like dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) for PPC — keyword-y  headlines less likely to be unicorns.

Leverage emotional triggers.

Some tips from Larry on what to do/not do in order to “rank” :

  • stop inserting keywords into meta titles
  • remember what actually impacts CTR
  • focus on engagement

Did you know Google measures dwell time?

Takeaway: task completions rates used to validate CTR.

Higher CTRs = higher conversion rates

Advertising impacts organic click-through rate and conversion rates.

  • Clone existing customer lists
  • Leverage remarketing

Old SEO tactics don’t work anymore; might even make things worse!

“Be a unicorn in a sea of donkeys.”


~ Larry Kim

He also mentioned 5 SEO weapons:

  1. Mobile donkey/unicorn detector
  2. Donkey to unicorn converter
  3. Engagement rate unicorn/donkey detector
  4. Facebook ads and Google Display Network
  5. Remarketing

Larry says not to wait…



Want to learn just what a “donkey/unicorn detector” is? Check out the full recap of Larry’s presentation.

Darren Shaw: Founder of WhiteSpark

darren-shawExperiments in Local Search: Insights and Takeaways


Darren was the first speaker to get accosted by me and my camera for portraits, and he took it all in stride — he’s a pretty nice dude!

Unfortunately, Darren hasn’t released his MnSummit presentation slides yet, so I’m unable to give a recount of what he talked about, save for what was said on Twitter.


When he posts his slides, I’ll link them here.

Third Session

11:45am – 12:30pm

Elizabeth Marsten: Director of Paid Search at CommerceHub

elizabeth-marstenMake Your Remarketing More than an Echo


So, guess who’s a brand-new mom and STILL came to speak at MnSummit? You guessed it — this lovely lady.


Elizabeth told us we need to connect all sources of supply and demand:


Why remarketing is essential to paid search:

Remarketing dates back to 1885, when Thomas Smith said it takes ~20 interactions with a potential customer before they buy. In 1930s the movie industry revolved their film advertising around the theory that the magic number of times people needed to see something to purchase/act was 7, so…

…rule of 7.

Types of Remarketing by Channel:

  • Google Display Network (GDN) Standard
  • Dynamic on GDN
  • RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads)

Elizabeth reminds us that if you’re retail and doing product listing ads, dynamic remarketing requires a feed and Merchant Center.

Remarketing Best Practices

  • don’t be afraid to use custom audiences or smart lists
  • use frequency capping
  • separate campaigns for text and image ads
  • test multiple ad layouts
  • watch out for defaults: US & Canada, enhanced CPC, optimized for conversions (you want this one)
  • don’t forget to check box for dynamic ads

Segmentation Ideas:

  • Segment audiences by abandoned cart amount, utilize ideal price points
  • Set target CPAs for each audience, at the very least a different CPA for remarketing overall
  • Layer on demographic and interests to narrow automatic placements with larger lists like “all site visitors”

RLSA & Dynamic Together

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads — Taken at last click attribution (use with caution), Facebook DPA can have better ROAS than Google DPA, but at a lower volume of conversions.


Facebook DPA Audiences — Very similar to Google in terms of types of audiences, but choice of placement matters!

  • Abandoned cart
  • Viewed product page
  • Past purchase(s)

Keep track of WHERE

  • Right rail,
  • Newsfeed,
  • Mobile (and Mobile Audience Network)
  • Structure campaigns to bid by placement, product category and user behavior

Caution: unless you’re also running Facebook Ads for awareness and traffic:

  • Need a first-time engagement channel (SEO, PPC, social, direct)
  • Cannibalizes other channels with last-click attribution (can vary from 12-20% of Google PLA traffic)
  • Use your revenue numbers; not just Facebook’s (counts any click in the path that includes Facebook as a conversion)

How many days should you wait before remarketing?

What Elizabeth is seeing: 2 days generates the most revenue; 14 days the least.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Give each placement its own ad set
  • start bigger, then narrow from there
  • watch the size of accounts/campaigns
  • Power Editor is your friend

When remarketing ISN’T for you:

  • unable to add tags/code to website
  • fast/short sales cycle
  • really long sales cycle without proper tracking
  • privacy or sensitive verticals like mental heath, 12-step programs, dating
  • conflicting page content (like on GDN) for what you’re advertising


Want to see more? Get Elizabeth’s presentation here.

Casey Markee: Founder of Media Wyse

casey-markeeBLE Beacons and You: Breaking the Internet of Things (IoT) Barrier


Casey talked about:

  • beacons as lighthouses
  • hyperlocal marketing
  • the 411 beacons
  • session takeaways and resources


Beacons = low-cost transmitters that use Bluetooth Low Energy to provide Bluetooth smart devices a new level of proximity awareness.


They’re key contextual component of Internet of Things (they alone have near universal compatibility with mobile devices).

Plus, they’re not considered creepy by consumers. So that’s a bonus.

Hyperlocal Marketing — beacons = convenience marketing

411 on beacons

They’re small but powerful (BlueSense, Estimote, Gimbal Series 10, etc)

How do they work?


What can you do with them?

  • get product coupons
  • ask for assistance
  • welcome + special offers
  • follow indoor store map

Why should you use beacons?

  • They’re influencing shopper behavior (73% increase in likelihood of purchase),
  • shoppers are engaging with and acting on beacon marketing campaigns (60% open and engage with beacon-triggered content)

“By adding significantly more capacity to advertising transmissions, Bluetooth 5 will further propel the adoption and deployment of beacons to users around the world.”


~ Mark Powell, Bluetooth SIG

According toABI Research, there’ll be 4.5 million beacons installed in the U.S. by 2018!

They’re also saying Eddystone is forecast to become the dominate beacon standard by 2020.

Why Eddystone? 800 million additional users ready to interact with beacons as Android makes up 80% of smartphone market.

The future of mobile is all about the “digital concierge”

Can already use BLE beacons to check in to hotels, navigate to grocery store, catch a train, fight human trafficking, signal for help in public restrooms…

…in short: beacons are bad-ass!

To get started, you can get a Beaconstac Starter Kit for $89.00, or use an existing network.

Designing Your Beacon Campaign

  • Understand your “duty of care”
  • Does messaging provide value?
  • What’s optimal context & timing for messaging?
  • Where to most efficiently deploy beacons?
  • Avoid notifications overload
  • Are becaons an isolated marketing intiative?


  1. Beacons are widespread (85% of top 100 U.S. retail locations will be equipped by 2016)
  2. Low-barrier (for less than $99, you can be up andn running in 24 hours)
  3. They enhance marketing (drive traffic, retarget or push new offers)


Get Casey’s slides here.

Jon Henshaw: Co-Founder of Raven Tools

jon-henshawFully Optimized: Commonly-Missed Opportunities and New On-Page SEO Techniques


What’s the typical approach to optimizing sites for search engines?

  • optimized URL naming convention
  • optimized page titles & descriptions
  • awesome content

DONE! take a nap.


Most websites have hundress — and even thousands — of problems to fix and optimize.

What to do? Site audit!

Find — and fix problems — with a site audit tool…

…then drink tiny bottles of wine! No, wait.

There’s more.

  • Hide irrelevant content in robots.txt (about us / contact/ terms of service / privacy policy)
  • Sanitize affiliate links (Google’s not the biggest fan of these)
  • Internally link to a disallowed folder and redirect to the destination

(Use WordPress plugin called Redirection)

Optimize how you code:

  • turn off JS & CSS,
  • code without style first,
  • use semantic elements to communicate context

Predict the next ranking factors and implement them now (even if they never become factors, your visitors will love you).

Google cares a LOT about mobile and UX. They also have a history of identifying and utlizing standards and accessibility.

  • Form “input types” that enhance mobile UX.
  • Use frameworks that allow good code, are easy to configure and are responsive.
  • Add breadcrumbs — they communicate context and enhance your SERP listing, can go anywhere on your site.

PS: WordPress plugins — Yoast SEO, NavXT

Optimize images for mobile devices. But, John says, responsive images are NOT optimized images — optimization is serving a DIFFERENT image.

Thankfully we have new HTML standard called SRCSET — which can serve both smaller and completely different images (depending on device) to improve speed and UX (create smaller versions for mobile).

SRCSET is an attribute to the IMG element:


Can specify device width, high DPI, customize image by device type (mobile vs desktop)

In general, speed matters.

Jon’s old advice: don’t use a sh*tty hosting provider and use a CDN to deliver assets.

Jon’s new advice: use Cloudflare!

  • significant speed increase with HTTP/2 (5.4x faster than HTTP/1.1)
  • CDN for your entire site; not just assets
  • security and DDoS protection

Enhance SERPs with schema.org microdata (use Schema App)

Consider using AMP if you’re a publisher or blogger (and soon ecommerce sites) — AMP strips out all of the unnecessary code and delivers content almost instantly to mobile devices.

Google’s results are hosted by Google…

…fortunately, you can add GA Tracking; Ads are also supported.

Automattic has been actively working with AMP; they created a WordPress plugin for AMP. For all other platforms, check out Mercury.


Eager for more? Get Jon’s presentation.

Lunch Break

12:30pm – 1:30pm

If you think a MnSummit lunch break is just for eating…

…you’ve got much to learn, young Padawan.

Not only were there yummy tacos, beautiful tables as far as the eye could see and lots of networking, but there was also this:


You can’t argue with lunch and a show 🙂 Okay. Context.

Rand came up to give Jeff a handshake and a howdy-doo and then somehow realized he could entirely hide behind Jeff’s broad shoulders.

Oh, and in addition to tacos there were DELICIOUS CUPCAKES!!!


After lunch it was time to hop right back into it with the coolest format for a marketing conference ever: a debate.

Afternoon Keynote: Rand Fishkin vs Wil Reynolds

1:40pm – 2:50pm

The MnSearch board had the great idea of bringing back two of the previous year’s keynotes to co-present in a debate-style format…


wil-reynolds…Wil Reynolds and Rand Fishkin happily accepted and put on QUITE a session!

mnsummit-rand-wil-3 mnsummit-rand-wil-4

When Wil would make a great point, Rand would counter with his own awesome insights…


rand-fishkin…and vice versa.

mnsummit-rand-wil-9 mnsummit-rand-wil-8 mnsummit-rand-wil-7

You could’ve heard a PIN drop in that huge, crowded room…

…everyone’s eyes were glued to the podiums.
mnsummit-rand-wil-6 mnsummit-rand-wil-5

I have to admit, it was an awesome format — everyone loved it! Wonder if we’ll do it again next year?

Since there was no formal “presentation,” per se, these guys don’t have slides to share…

…but I’m sure at some point the MnSearch people will share the video of the coolest keynote ever.

Fourth Session

3:00pm – 3:45pm

John Lee: Managing Partner at Clix Marketing

john-leePaid Search: How to Hit a Moving Target Without Losing Your Head (or Your Wallet)


John’s such a sweetie — he’s the only speaker that took a picture of his audience:


He said 2016 is a banner year for PPC changes:

  • no more right-hand ads on Google!
  • Bing & Yahoo — the breakup (it’s not you; it’s me),
  • the Oprah-tization of campaign features

And, ERMAGER — did you see they changed the ad color in the SERPs?!?

Google changes a color of AdWords and everyone loses their minds.

and it’s only June!


Right Side Ads

  • Desktop search results altered to match mobile & tablet experience
  • No more right side ads
  • Total (max) number of ads now 7 (down from 11)

What ensued? Apocalyptic proclamations that CPC would spike and ruin PPC forever. Did that happen? NO.

Data — right side ads aftermath:


Expanded text ads

DATA — Google AdWords expanded text ads SaaS marketing automation company


Ad extensions

  • structured snippets
  • newest ad extension on the block
  • list important details about your business, product or service

AdWords search partners

RIP AOL. There was an almost one-percentage-point drop on desktop computers from December to January, which is likely the result of AOL leaving Google’s network for Bing Ads at the beginning of 2016.

Maps are a-changin’: Ads on Google maps isn’t new; what is? Previously part of Search Partners, now part of Core Search; only ads with location extensions will show on Maps.

Shopping ads on Image Search

Mobile bids are back, baby! Or, they will be…


How to hit a moving target with Bing paid search.

Despite the “breakup” of Bing & Yahoo!, Bing Search Share is still growing.

Bing Ads: more ads in the SERPs


They can do expanded ads, too — Bing Ads will catch up to parody with Google’s Still Beta expanded text ad format.

Not sure about you, but this works for me!

More extensions!

  • parody waith Google – sitelinks, location, call, app; new: callout & review extensions
  • Unique to Bing — image extensions
  • On the horizon: action links, video extensions; who knows what else they’ll dream up?

Bing Ads Syndicated Partner Network

  • still not targeting the syndicated partner network? AOL (yes, it still drives traffic); Amazon, etc.
  • isolate targeting in unique ad groups or campaigns
  • exclude syndicated partners that are irrelevant or do not convert
  • access high quality sourcees of search traffic, such as:

Native ads — not exactly search, but image extension is the base ad unit for native ads. Search keywords and perceived search intent are your targeting for native ads.

Shopping campaigns & parody:

  • manage Bing Ads Shopping campaigns like you do Google Adwords;
  • can import AdWords campaigns…
  • But, John — this feature launched mid-2015!
  • Yes, yes it did…

Mobile traffic concern — same campaign structure… shopping + search. Vastly different device mix.


How to hit a moving target with Yahoo! Gemini.

Search ads on mobile AND desktop — stop asking, YES this is for real!

DATA — Yahoo Gemini in the search mix:

  • Yahoo sites have 12% of search market share
  • Bing Ads still serves lion’s share of ad impressions for Yahoo
  • Yahoo Gemini search is backfill inventory at this point

Based on a sample of Clix Clients:

  • 0.8% to 2.5% percentage of clicks directly attributed to Yahoo Gemini
  • 0.85% to 4.7% percentage of conversions directly attributed to YG
  • E-commerce skews low
  • B2B skews high

Shopping Campaigns

  • launched in 2016
  • sunset early 2016
  • end of shopping campaigns for Yahoo Gemini?
  • doubt it.

Features keep coming at us:

  • custom audiences
  • search retargeting (RLSA FTW!)
  • Layer interest targeting on search
  • custom conversions
  • sitelinks
  • location and device bid modifiers
  • improved reporting

Custom audiences + native ads = winning

Despite their woes, Yahoo has some of the most visited web content in the world. It used to be expensive to get ads on Yahoo; Yahoo Gemini native ads changed the game.

Adding custom audiences and retargeting? HELLZ YEAH

What does it all mean?????

They say the only constant is change….but has that ever changed???

Either way, change will do you good!

Food for thought:

  • digital advertising continues to gorw in channels, features & spend
  • paid search is often treated as yesterday’s news
  • paid search is as active and important as ever
  • we once again live in a world with 3 primary PPC advertising platforms — get used to it!
  • competition between Google, Bing and Yahoo is driving innovation
  • It’s a fun time to be a PPC manager


See John’s presentation for more information on paid search.

Lea Pica: Director of Data Visualization & Storytelling at Search Discovery

lea-picaGet Their Attention: How to Present Results to Get Results


Lea started off by saying you may never approach how you present data the same way again…

…but I’d also wager a bet she’ll never approach the Twin Cities like she did to get to the MnSearch Summit!!!

Anyway, she presented data on how to present better data — “so meta,” right?


Client: Can you present some campaign results?

You: Excitedly presents exciting data!

Client: …sleeping…

You: Ruh-roh!

You’ve fallen into the dreaded data black hole!


Why do bad things happen to good data?

Meet your audience’s brain: (hi)

You have a mere 8 SECONDS to grab their attention.

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  • Repetition commits information to LONG-TERM MEMORY
  • Repetition commits information to LONG-TERM MEMORY

Client: Hey. I don’t care about what you do all day. Show me how to move my business foward in a way I understand quickly and easily.

Presentation Goals:

  1. Maintain attention
  2. Be memorable


3 Pillars of Presentation Enlightenment

  • be your audience
  • use your tools wisely
  • maximize data absorption

1–Be Your Audience

When client says they want campaign results, what do they REALLY want? Tell me where to put my money!

Who is attending (the presentation)? Let’s talk takeaways.

  • What’s the big story?
  • Statement to insight

Statement >>> landing page test results

Observation >>> landing page B had a higher conversion rate

Insight >>> landing page B was a significant winner, likely due to the additional explainer video

2–Use Your Tools Wisely

Don’t let your presentation drown you out!

POWERPOINT — used over 350 times every second (including right now 🙂 ) according to Businessweek, 2012.

Death by powerpoint…

…It’s a people problem — we need more control.

Unload the bullet points:


(Loaded) bullet points expose all your info to the audience at once.

Your presentation: the supermarket

Your audience: the cashier

Why do we love our bullet points, anyway? Your slides are for your AUDIENCE, not you!

Create ideas; not slides. Instead of a bullet list with 3 ideas, create 3 slides with 3 ideas. Resist the fluff — like watermarks, logos and doodads.

Fluff is distracting.

Design like a designer. 7% of presenting professionals have any design training.


Nip the clipart!! Harness the power of real imagery, because vision is the strongest human sense.

Imagery increases recall; stirs emotion; tells a story.

Storytelling activates the:

  • sensory / cerebellum
  • motor cortex
  • Broca’s area
  • auditory cortex
  • olfactory cortex
  • wernicke’s area
  • visual cortex

Conversion results:

  • 80% of mobile search visitors abandoned our lead capture form
  • this is potentially due to our search landing page not being responsive and it totally SUCKED

Top Photo Tips:

  1. Use the right photo
  2. Use the photo right

Imagery is power!

Why you should use imagery in presentations:

  • images are more powerful than text alone
  • they have the ability to stir emotion
  • they increase recall

3–Maximize Their Data Absorption

Choose the best visualization: Juice Analytics chart chooser.

We need to talk about PIE CHARTS — pie done wrong:


Bar charts can be abused, too…

…let’s detox!

Chart Detox

  • eKilling 3-D reduces visual noise
  • Strategic coloring: make data stand out

Don’t let Excel decide what matters to your audience: i.e., don’t just show graph of highest number of conversions; show where the opportunity lies (# of conversions vs CONVERSION RATE).

Three Pillars Recap:

  1. Be your audience
  2. Use your tools wisely
  3. Maximize data absorption

Awesome presentation bonus tips:

  • make changes — slowly
  • test & refine your presentation approach
  • watch a TED Talk
  • Stop & ask yourself — would I like this crap?
  • Try to remember this: you are not your presentation powerpoint

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”


~ Aldous Huxley


Want to see the whole presentation? Get Lea’s slides here.

Dennis Goedegebuure: VP of Growth & SEO at Fanatics

dennis-goedegebuureWall & Chain – How Airbnb Celebrated the Fall of the Berlin Wall with a Genuine Story Between a Host and a Guest


Unfortunately, Dennis hasn’t released his MnSummit presentation slides yet, so I’m unable to give a recount of what he talked about, save for what was said on Twitter.


When he posts his slides, I’ll link them here.

Fifth Session

4:00pm – 4:45pm

Oli Gardner: Co-founder of Unbounce

oli-gardnerThe Conversion Equations


While this is a very quick overview of what Oli talked about, you can check out my in-depth recap of The Conversion Equations talk.

Oli says the future of marketing is conversion automation.


3 most common CRO questions:

  1. What should I test?
  2. In what order?
  3. What’s a good conversion rate?

4 most common CRO mistakes:

  1. testing opinions; not insights
  2. testing the wrong things
  3. stopping tests too early
  4. focusing on surface-level conversion metrics and not lifetime value

The Future of Marketing

Copy will be analyzed as you type, and words that don’t add clarity will have more impactful alternatives automatically suggested

CTAs will have autocomplete recommendations of more impactful options, and the expected increase in conversion

Automatic image source lookups will determine if an image is stock, and recommend a change.

Trust seals will be targeted precisely to the demographics of our visitors.

Oh, and the most important CTA advice Oli could give is this:

Have a f#cking CTA!


Want to see the whole thing? Check out Oli’s awesome presentation here. Dude’s got mad slide skillz.

Stefan Schnabl: Product Manager at Google

stefan-schnablValuing Moments that Matter – The Future of Attribution


Due to Google’s corporate policy, Stefan’s presentation isn’t available. Also — and not sure if this is also according to “policy” or not — due to his Batman-like clothing that deflected my photography radar, I couldn’t find him before/after his presentation.

To that end, I was unable to find him in order to take his portrait.

Here were a few snippets I was able to glean from Stefan’s talk:

  • AdWords used to be called Search Funnels
  • Google Analytics — is added to 67% of the web and is the most executed Javascript in the world.
  • So, GA has a pretty big footprint, and lots of data is collected.

In regards to measuring success — if you want to measure differently, you also need to be able to explain results differently, which can be very hard within an organization.

Lexi Mills: Managing Director North America at Manyminds

lexi-millsTactics and Strategies for Successful Online Influence


Lexi talked about how to go about having a successful online influence:

  • Trends — publishing, PR, content
  • Frameworks – risk management, increasing success, growing trust and budgets
  • Tools & resources

Opportunity is greater but so is the risk.


Communicate more in less time. This means: SHOW — don’t TELL — where possible.


And use historical story frameworks (like Aesop’s fables).

Publishers need to be able to justify their outbound links.

Branded links & anchor text:

  • fee-free debt management plans
  • individual voluntary arrangements

Why are you an authoritative relevant source or owner of a piece of content?


Dynamic content goes to the top of the pile.

Debunking a myth

They hold personal and transferable liability — you need to fact check and substantiate your content. Brand, product and service relevant content.

…We’re accountable for both brand AND SEO:


Agree on an internal sign-off process for content ideas, design and promotion — then sign off on the sign-off process.

Inter-departmental collaboration — sign up for all your industry newsletters and make sure your teams do, too.

Press Release Guidelines:

  • No more than 3 links
  • Links to different areas of site
  • Links must look natural — avoid anchor text

Big links = big visibility, internally and externally. High-risk and resource heavy…

What should an overall strategy look like?

Exclusivity — backlink analysis of similar stories; not competitors.

Say what no one else is saying.

“re: your feature on X; would you like to do interview Y.” — Explain why they are appropriate.

PR for onsite content process:

Craft > Exclusives go live > Publish “anchor content” live on your blog > Wider media selling in > Newsletter / Social / Email marketing

Do you think editorial has become more tied to revenue and traffic in the last 10 years and if so, how do you feel about that?

Traffic pays the bills, so that means you might cover something clickbaity that you’d prefer to ignore, and you no longer want to give away the story in the headline, but overall quality writing is what keeps people coming back.

Lexi says traffic is the main driver — which does affect the quality of the writing; clickbait articles are often required.

It’s uncomfortable, but there’s still a clear distinction that needs to be in place: advertorials should be well marked as such and she’d never accept being told to promote a product/company for advertising benefit.


Lexi employed a lot of image slides in her talk; if you’d like to get the full story you can download her presentation.

Happy Hour Reception

4:45pm – 6:30pm

In true MnSearch fashion, the happy hour(s) was a great time to kick back and network, eat some snackies, imbibe in a tasty craf brew…


…or partake in the photo booth fun!

Happy hour inevitably leads to another venue — so when this reception wound down we hoofed it down the road Brit’s Pub…

Post-Summit Bash

6:30pm – ???

…for yet MORE yummy eats, some drinks on the house, and of course more networking.


It was great to see everyone mingling, chatting and in general having a lovely time! Speakers and keynotes rubbed shoulders with us “laymen,” and there were lots of laughs, not to mention photo opps 🙂


(PS: Lauren, next time march right up to Oli and ask for a picture — he’s a super-cool guy and would totally have loved it! That said, I think he’ll enjoy this image too!)

I’m not sure how long the party lasted, but judging by how many people were still whooping it up when I left at 1:30, I’m sure the merriment lasted until the very wee small hours!

See Y’all at Next Year’s MnSummit!

MnSearch wow’d us all — yet again! — with a fantastic online marketing conference. I don’t know about anyone else, but I for sure can’t wait to see what next year’s MnSummit will bring!

Hopefully I’ll get to see you there…

…and, since I was not only trying to attend the event, but also photographing it, I know I missed a LOT of the tasty information that day.

Feel free to share your own MnSummit tidbits and takeaways in the comments.



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