SMX London 2016 – key takeaways and slides

smx expert panel

SMX London 2016 was as informative as ever, but with the added impetuous of a year full of announcements and changes in Google to fuel the presentations and expert panel (which I was privileged to be part of).

I have provided some of the key takeways from the session I attended, which was the paid SEM stream and then on the second day the advanced track. Where possible I have included the slides from the presenters.

On May 24th Google held their Google Performance Summit (GPS) – so I have updated relevant presentations with the new features announced at GPS (in red).

Part 1 – Terri Scriven – Industry Head of Hospitality at Google

Google terry scriven

Key takeaways

1) Be personal
2) Be actionable
3) Be measured

1) Personalisation and targeting

  • 25% of Google searches in the UK are using RLSA (remarketing lists for search)
  • Use of bid modifiers for location and device – so you allow for the context, are they near your outlet on a mobile then they probably want to find your store
  • Use of automation tools – Dynamic search ads allow you to do context at scale
  • Targeting for apps – 1 in 4 apps are not used – so now possible to target users that downloaded app but are not using it
  • POST SMX/GPS NOTE – announcement on May 24th at GPS included bid modifiers for devices will be extended to increase the multiplier (up to +900%) and include tablets modifiers (after a 3 year absence!).
  • They have also announced new targeting methods for search including demographic targeting and similar audiences (based on your existing remarketing lists) – this is currently available for display but not search campaigns

2) Be actionable (or impactful)

Ad types

  • Larger ads with 50% more ad text (possible due to removing the ads from the right hand rail
  • Use of new extensions included tabulated Sitelinks (Image in ads available again in the US)
  • Vertical search for hotel/flights
  • Product listing ads (Shopping ads)


  • Globally more than 50% searches are on mobile
  • UK not at 50% yet, expected to be 2017
  • 90% of consumers use >1 device
  • Most of Google’s innovations are based on use of mobile, so here are some of their tools to help improve mobile experience
    • Use of Progressive web design (not just responsive) – web experience that looks like an app – adaptable on each device and also available to use offline
    • Google Polymer – new tools to make your mobile site great by using Progressive web framework

Location based searches and integration with in store purchase

  • Location based mobile searches are 30% of all mobile searches and are growing 50% faster than all other mobile searches
  • Concept of connecting the mobile showroom to the physical showroom as in many cases 3/4 mobile searchers then visit a store
  • Use of call and location extensions to trigger directions
  • Use of inventory based shopping ads – so that the local stock availability is shown in the ads
  • POST SMX/GPS announcement – addition of promoted pins on the map, plus other features triggered by using location extension (resulting in a lot of other functionality and ad formats relating to the map search)

3) Measurement

Use of cross channel measurement – using store visits to see impact of mobile ads.

  • 85% of uk commerce happens in store and 59% of uk consumers research online before purchasing in store
  • Store Visit data can be imported into AdWords to determine “omnichannel conversions”.
  • Store visits are calculated based on the location of the user as compared to the know location of the store.
  • Research shows that incremental store visitors exceeds the online sales
  • POST SMX/GPS NOTE – Google announced that for smaller stores that cannot easily be mapped they can now implement Beacons to send a signal that the mobile user has visited the store. 
  • If you include instore and cross device conversions you get 4 x more conversions and 10x more mobile conversion

Conversion attribution

  • Most advertisers still focus on the last click conversion attribution
  • Attribution based bidding is now available in AdWords – first click etc
  • 16% more conversions are recorded if you include cross device

New Google Analytics 360 suite

  • Replaces the current premium (paid) tools, although lighter versions of the functionality often get rolled out into free products
  • Features include:
    • Cross channel – audience insights
    • Create segments – use for remarketing for both search and display
  • Google Data Studio is one of the free tools that will be available for use outside of the 360 suite (currently being beta tested in the USA). This new collaborative reporting tool which aggregates data from a variety of sources includes AdWords, Analytics YouTube etc.

Part 2 – The great campaign structure and match type debate chaired by Brad Geddes

Dave Walker  Founder at Segmatic

Dave walker

David’s team prefers to use Modified broad match (BMM) campaigns – he says that the more negatives the better the faster the better. However, there is a high cost of learning using BMM.  They use a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach to adding negatives e.g, when they bid on +shirts – they spotted that football clubs were appearing in search terms – why not put all the football clubs in advance?

There is a fundamental problem when analysing search term report

  • Imperfect data – don’t give us the full report
  • “other” search terms – if you don’t get any clicks then they don’t show the data – 8% of the clicks live in other, 92% of impression in other
  • Long tail >4 words give 42% clicks

How do work out patterns and negatives at scale:

  • Reaggregte the data – split out the individual words in a search terms and then determine the frequency
  • Problem of pluralisation misspellings close variants/synonyms –
  • Carryout an Excel based analysis – filter and then add it into another column

Tools to help:

  • Use Writeword.org – frequency tool
  • There are also Scripts on search engine land
  • segmentic.io
  • Misspelling – seobook

List based analysis

  • Individual term in the account eg man united example but football terms could be big
  • Aggregate based on topic – eg football
  • Problem with words have multiple meaning

Negative word implementation

  • Make lists eg sport exclusion list, style, easy to implement but only 20 lists max
  • Excel based or docs list – eg api or editor
  • 3 negative match types – you need to add the misspelling and close variants
  • Negatives don’t work over 10 words

Articles from Dave Walker How we think about account structure

Mihai Irinel Popescu – Online Marketing Manager – Europe & Americas at HotelsCombined

Mihai Irinel Popescu

The scale of the campaigns run by Mihai-Irinel Popescu and his team for their international car rental (or hire) services was mind blogging, with multiple countries, languages, currencies, car models etc. They have to keep the keyhrase and ad strategy simple to cope with the multiple accounts and campaigns required for all the targeting combinations

The slides below are from SMX West in march this year – however many of the points raised were discussed in London.



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