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AdTech Sydney – Online Media Conference – Day 1

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Today was day 1 of the annual AdTech Sydney conference. The exhibition hall held such brands as Yahoo and Foxtel, B&T and Marketing Mag. The notable absence was Google, which was dissapointing considering that they put a stand at the Nanjing SMX conference in October, so not sure why they didn’t show at AdTech in Sydney – unless it is something to do with the economic crisis.

Because Ad-Tech is a very pricey conference,  which is why I was surprised to see that there were so many smaller outfits present, like digital marketing software makers, SEO agencies and Email Marketing companies. Another surprise was that there were two conference stands held by brands specifically dedicated to marketing and providing content to women (Femail and Flossie Media).

In the exhibition hall there were free talks being held, which were packed to capacity, although the capacity wasn’t really that big. The speakers had to talk above the general conference background noise, which was quite difficult, but still, they were packed because they were free, whereas access to the other talks was quite expensive.

The keynote capacity was much bigger, and there was a fair turnout to hear from the conference chair, Jennifer Williams, Nick Brien from MediaBrands, and Steve Green from Kodak.

Jennifer talked a lot about social media – to give a taste for the overwhelmingly social media focus of the conference. She made the comment that Twitter is the real-time search engine, compared to Google which is the archival search engine. I can imagine that Google wouldn’t like to hear that, and that they will be trying to become a real time search engine sometime soon. It seems feasible to me – search Google images, news, blogs, web, or realtime.

Nick Brien gave everyone in the audience reason to smile by spinning the world economic crisis as an opportunity to innovate as well as show clients how the value of the webs accountability.

He also struck a chord with me regarding social media. Although we should applaud the daring and experimentation of brands exploring social media, in this early stage of the game, many brands are getting it wrong, and making us cringe, when they try to adapt their brands in inappropriate ways. (Really, why are people becoming facebook friends with Toyota?)  Nick posits that perhaps social media should be more about listening not talking. More about engagement, not exposure.

The final speaker of the morning was Steve Green from Kodak, who discussed how his company has had to evolve due to the digital camera. While this was a great speech to hear regarding how a company changed, adapted and flourished in adverse situations (topical for most companies now), it didn’t have much at all to do with digital marketing. The focus was on the move from film to digital cameras, but not about the marketing of it. Which was a shame, but still very interesting. Kodak had only the one product for 120 years (film), but now that one product is only 25% of its revenue. An inspiring story for all those companies struggling out there now.

AdTech Sydney – Online Media Conference – Day 1

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Today was day 1 of the annual AdTech Sydney conference. The exhibition hall held such brands as Yahoo and Foxtel, B&T and Marketing Mag. The notable absence was Google, which was dissapointing considering that they put a stand at the Nanjing SMX conference in October, so not sure why they didn’t show at AdTech in Sydney – unless it is something to do with the economic crisis.

Because Ad-Tech is a very pricey conference,  which is why I was surprised to see that there were so many smaller outfits present, like digital marketing software makers, SEO agencies and Email Marketing companies. Another surprise was that there were two conference stands held by brands specifically dedicated to marketing and providing content to women (Femail and Flossie Media).

In the exhibition hall there were free talks being held, which were packed to capacity, although the capacity wasn’t really that big. The speakers had to talk above the general conference background noise, which was quite difficult, but still, they were packed because they were free, whereas access to the other talks was quite expensive.

The keynote capacity was much bigger, and there was a fair turnout to hear from the conference chair, Jennifer Williams, Nick Brien from MediaBrands, and Steve Green from Kodak.

Jennifer talked a lot about social media – to give a taste for the overwhelmingly social media focus of the conference. She made the comment that Twitter is the real-time search engine, compared to Google which is the archival search engine. I can imagine that Google wouldn’t like to hear that, and that they will be trying to become a real time search engine sometime soon. It seems feasible to me – search Google images, news, blogs, web, or realtime.

Nick Brien gave everyone in the audience reason to smile by spinning the world economic crisis as an opportunity to innovate as well as show clients how the value of the webs accountability.

He also struck a chord with me regarding social media. Although we should applaud the daring and experimentation of brands exploring social media, in this early stage of the game, many brands are getting it wrong, and making us cringe, when they try to adapt their brands in inappropriate ways. (Really, why are people becoming facebook friends with Toyota?)  Nick posits that perhaps social media should be more about listening not talking. More about engagement, not exposure.

The final speaker of the morning was Steve Green from Kodak, who discussed how his company has had to evolve due to the digital camera. While this was a great speech to hear regarding how a company changed, adapted and flourished in adverse situations (topical for most companies now), it didn’t have much at all to do with digital marketing. The focus was on the move from film to digital cameras, but not about the marketing of it. Which was a shame, but still very interesting. Kodak had only the one product for 120 years (film), but now that one product is only 25% of its revenue. An inspiring story for all those companies struggling out there now.

SEO – Google Helps Big Brands

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For the last few weeks there has been gossip on the internet (Sphinn, Search Engine Land, Twitter, WebMasterWorld), regarding a recent change to the Google algorithm. The SEO conspiracy theorists had suggested that Google’s latest update had given big brands a push up the rankings.

This was all speculation until Matt Cutts released a video on YouTube outlining what he calls the “Vince Change” (emphasising that it is not an update, just a small change, one of around 300-400 small changes they make per year).

The majority of the video deals with this one question posted to him:

Can you verify that Google is putting more weight on ‘brands’ in search engine rankings? If the answer is Yes, what is Google’s definition of a brand?

He answered this by saying that Google doesn’t consider Brand at all, and that as per their history – Google simply considers things like trust, authority, reputation, high quality and page rank when determining the rankings.

He added that if big brands are benefiting from the latest Google ‘changes’, then this would be because they are trusted and highly relevant, and for SEO-ers to continue competing we should just keep doing what we always were – making good quality content and good quality sites that make us an authority.

Really, that video did not help at all…

Personally, I am not sure how I feel about the new changes to the algorithm.  It was pre-empted last year by some comments made by Google’s Eric Schmidt saying the internet was becoming a cess pool, and good content from trusted brands is needed to maintain quality on the internet – and in Google search rankings I suppose.

Brands like Dell would have huge sites, quality content, authority, and lots of backlinks, so I am not sure what the issue is for them ranking highly, they deserve to.

Also, it is pointless for SEO practitioners to cry ‘unfair!’ on a company’s private technology, it isn’t our ‘right’ to know how Google does what it does. Google developed their algorithm, they can do what they like with it. If consumers don’t like it, they will stop using it.

So SEO-ers will continue to wonder what it is exactly that has pushed the brands up the rankings, and Matt Cutts unfortunately did not provide any further insight. But with SEO there have never been any clear cut guidelines or rules, our work evolves through trial and error, experimentation and observation, to see what works and what doesn’t. This is just another factor to throw into the mix.

Why Do We Bother With Status Updates?

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I sometimes feel vaguely guilty, a bit narcissistic, a lot self-obsessed when I am updating my status on Facebook. While I haven’t yet been bothered to create status updates for my Twitter profile, I at least thrice weekly update my Facebook status (unless I have a continuously pertinent one, such as last weeks “Tracy feels like caramel slice, apple tart and chocolate custard”).

Psychologies is a magazine I love to read, and this months issue had some pertinent insight, really nailing down what it is about status updates that make them cringe-worthy yet addictive.

Internet psychologist Graham Jones, says that status updates aren’t completely strange and unprecedented, because we drop mundane, unsolicited, comments like this into every day conversations. For example “I’m so full, I just had this massive lunch.” This is part of our general conversational skill set, helping to give context to the listener, aiming to get them to understand our circumstances. Online, we want to add to the image we have made of ourselves – our profile pic, favourite books, job history – by adding topical, sometimes inconsequential context through status updates.

While you might initially think that people who are self concious would likely shy away from social media, due to not wanting to draw attention to themselves, it is actually a perfect platform for those kind of people because it is highly manageable and easily edited. In this one way they can have 100% control over what image they portray.

The article also likens online sharing to people writing biographies, but in this case you don’t have to wait until you are famous or paid to do it, it is a more democratic and basic form of biography.

While it is maybe narcissistic to imagine people are interested in the minutiae of your life, it also provides connection to other people in these time-poor days.  You might not see your best friend for two weeks, but you can get a general gist of what is important to her at the time, you can also feel the connection by putting yourself out there, maintaining or creating connections.

The article summed it up nicely in this quote:

“What these sites do is feed that need for relatedness. And they reinforce the idea that our story is just as important as someone else’s story, and the stories of our lives are important”.

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