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Marketing Festival 2014 Review and an interview with dr. Pete Meyers from MOZ

To begin with, let me share with you a few interesting numbers about Marketing Festival.

It’s been only the second edition of the event, as the very first one took place last year. Ticket distribution started on the 14th of April, about 6 months before the conference. And now, guess how long it took before the first 100 tickets were gone… only 7 seconds! After just 24 hours, it increased to 520 – about a half of all available seats.

So how was it? Were all these 1150 attendees right or wrong in deciding to attend? Find out by reading this detailed review of the 2014 edition of Marketing Festival.

But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Wojtek, and on the picture you can see below, I am the guy on the left (just in case there’s any of you who doesn’t know Brian Dean)

When & Where?

31.10-02.11.2014, Janacek Theater, Brno, Czech Republic

The full Agenda


Paddy Moogan – The future for marketers: creativity, technology and strategy

Brian Dean – 7 Super-Practical Techniques to Rapidly Build Your Email List

Avinash Kaushik – Keynote: Goodbye Faith, Hello Data Driven Agile Marketing!

Peter O’Neill – Making Analytics Valuable

Julie Joyce – How We’ve Built 20,000 Links By Hand

Karel Tlusťák – Advanced performance marketing on Facebook – how Facebook can beat the Google?

Sandra Camacho – Prepare. Assemble. Hack. The Building Blocks of Attribution in Google Analytics

Craig Sullivan – 20 Simple Ways to Fuck Up your AB tests


Jan Řezáč – I don’t like that website!

Martin Roettgerding – Analysis of market opportunities & identification of web influencers

Dr. Peter Meyers – Keynote: The World of Google: US Vs. Europe

Russell Savage – AdWords Scripts: The Next Level of AdWords Optimization

Jiří Malý – How to optimize RTB campaigns – current possibilities of the Czech market

Filip Podstavec – Analysis of market opportunities & identification of web influencers

Simo Ahava – Tag Management Solutions – Best. Data. Ever.

Mike King – Storytelling by Numbers

Just by taking a short look at the lineup, you could already see that we had some world-class experts over there.

I am going to share with you a recap from the speeches which (from my perspective) I found most interesting.

The speeches

After a short welcome introduction by the organizer, Jindrich Faborsky, the first person to speak was the well-known Paddy Moogan from Distilled.

Paddy Moogan
The future for marketers: creativity, technology and strategy

Paddy shared with us a bit about the story of Distilled agency and how they did well with Google changes and their evolution of an attitude to content and its promotion. I am really impressed by the results of hundreds of links and thousands of shares attracted by great pieces of content created by them for customers. If it comes to content creation, it is important to understand it, rightly evaluate content ideas and to get useful feedback.

Paddy also paid attention to the continuously increasing importance of the context of search queries, instead of looking only at keywords as an explicit aspect of search.

Takeaway from Paddy’s speech: A key to cuccess is a mix of creativity, technology and strategy

You can find Paddy Moogan’s whole presentation here

Brian Dean
7 Super-Practical Techniques to Rapidly Build Your Email List

I must admit that thanks to Brian Dean’s speech, my opinion about email marketing has changed a lot. Plus, it actually happened only after a minute of his presentation… Brian showed some great data about the ROI of Emails in comparison with other marketing channels.

These numbers cannot just be ignored if revenue from your business has any importance to you. So, if you have not been using emails as a marketing channel so far, you should give it a try ASAP (personally, I will).

The next slides from Brian came up with 7 cool strategies for building email lists. I recommend that you go through them in detail by a whole deck. And if you want to find out even more about it, Brian has a guide on his blog with 17 list building strategies.

Some interesting tips I also learned from the speech:

  • Using phrases like e.g. “Join X.000 people” in your pitch does not really work well. It can even decrease the conversion.
  • A Good idea of using pop-ups the right way is to make them appear when the user wants to exit the website. This is less annoying for a visitor, and if the user is not interested in subscribing, he is still leaving the website anyway.

Takeaway from Brian’s speech: Take advantage of your “about page” for building an email list, because people visiting it already have an intent to find out more about you. That is one of the most underestimated pages, whilst usually also one of the most popular ones.

Avinash Kaushik
Keynote: Goodbye Faith, Hello Data Driven Agile Marketing!

I know that many attendees had been waiting especially for this speaker, and just after he finished his performance, I realized why. Avinash’s speech was very energetic and inspiring. He was able to deliver valuable information to the audience and also entertain them at the same time.

He showed us examples of many websites which deliver very bad experience to their users on mobile. This is unbelievable because the increasing importance of mobile searches is not breaking news any more. He also paid attention to the fact that many marketers focus too much on the last click conversion and care only about that part of their visitors which actually make a conversion; this is usually around 1-2%. In fact, there is an underestimated potential with all the remaining 98% users. It is only necessary to have the ability to SEE.

Avinash shared his principle of understanding digital marketing the right way. It is based on the following: SEE, THINK, DO, CARE. The key to success here is to understand the audience and treat different groups individually by addressing them with the right strategies.

Among all the speakers, Avinash received the biggest applause from the audience. Truly inspiring guy!

Takeaway from Avinash’s speech: You don’t have to be on social media to be very successful with marketing. Just don’t waste time and money on wrong resources.

Julie Joyce
How We’ve Built 20,000 Links By Hand

I must give Julie Joyce a big tribute for keeping her speech so substantial and honest. Seriously, there was no bullshit. Julie shared with the audience a lot of solid information about how she and her agency, the Link Fish Media are dealing with link building. The only group of people who might be disappointed after her presentation, are those who might have been hoping to find out some secret tricks about link building. Julie admitted there are no such things, and it’s simply down to a hard, manual work.

She also shared tips about each necessary step, like creating link-worthy content, targeted outreach, anchor texts strategy and also bad signals to avoid. I can rate Julie’s presentation as the most valuable among all other presentations of this year’s edition of Marketing Festival.

Takeaway from Julie’s speech: While researching for link prospects, look further back in the Google SERPs. You will find some seriously good sites.

You can find Julie Joyce’s whole deck here

Dr. Peter Meyers
Keynote: The World of Google: US Vs. Europe

Peter prepared a detailed analysis of Google’s search results pages. It was a great study, especially being able to see what’s going on in the SERPs of compared to, .cz and .pl. Some differences in SERPs are really noticeable. One very interesting thing is about “News results” which appear quite frequently in English (both US and UK), while in the other investigated versions- pl and cz, are very uncommon. It is possible that it looks the same in the other non-English Google versions.

The situation is quite similar with in-depth articles and answer boxes. Only around 20% of SERPs in English are “pure” 10 blue links without any additional variations. But in other languages, they are still around one third. It shows that things have really changed and marketers and SEOs have to react to that, while considering the right strategy.

Some Google modified SERPs cause serious problems for website owners. With Google trying to understand a user’s query intention and also delivering the answer, even without leaving the search results page, leads to a decrease in the amount of traffic that websites get. That happens especially with knowledge graphs and answer boxes.  An interesting consideration connected with that came to my mind. If websites from even top organic ranks get lower CTRs because of these answer boxes, would it lead to a negative impact on their rankings as the CTR from SERPs is considered a ranking factor? Feel free to express your opinion about that in the comment box below the post!

Takeaway from Pete’s study: Watch closely what changes are happening and being implemented at first in the US and English versions of Google. Then, analyze and prepare for their implementation in the version of your language.  The main advantage you have here is TIME.

You can find Pete’s whole deck here

Mike King
Storytelling by Numbers

The last speech of the event came from Mike King. In fact, that was Mike’s second performance during this year’s Marketing Festival, as he gave an awesome concert during Saturday’s party at Fleda Club. We had the opportunity to see that not only is he a successful Online Marketer, but that he is also a very talented rapper!

Mike came up with a challenge to convince the audience that data can be reported in an intelligible and readable way. He mentioned the importance of APIs, which by his definition is “basically a fancy way of connecting programs and data”. We were also given some great and simple tips on how to use APIs and how to take the most advantage of them. Mike definitely likes challenges, because the next he came up with was to teach over a thousand people present in the audience how to do php programming. He also shared really cool ways of visualizing data (both manually by self-coding and also easily by available software)

Takeaway from Mike’s study: Pull data from APIs, save it, then visualize it and use it to impact your business.

You can find Mike’s whole deck here


All presentations collected in one place can be found here.

For those who missed the event, there is still the possibility of accessing all the speeches. The organizers prepared an opportunity for you to access to all the HQ recordings from the conference.


Those two days of presentations were actually very active and literally full of information. There was also an extra day of workshops before the conference, in which I didn’t take part in, unfortunately. Therefore, if any of you were present, it would be great to hear your opinion about them.

Necessarily, the organizers deserve praise for the great service and excellent catering they provided, which made attending the conference a real pleasure. Being able to meet with top level experts from all around the world and taking part in their lectures is a fantastic opportunity. Especially for attendees from central Europe, where there are not many world class events like this one. Also, accessing Brno is really easy. I have made great new relationships with amazing people from the industry and got full with knowledge and inspiration. I really look forward to next year’s edition of the event, which I highly recommend for you to attend.

I also have something really special for you, which I have reserved for the end of this post. Please, enjoy a short Interview which I conducted with Dr. Peter Meyers from MOZ, who was one of the main lecturers at the Marketing Festival conference.

WOJTEK: Peter, it’s great having you here with us today. Did you enjoy the conference? How would you rate the event in comparison to some of the well-known conferences you’ve been to e.g. SMX or Mozcon?

PETER: Obviously, I’m a bit biased, since we run Mozcon, but Marketing Festival was as good as the best US conferences I’ve attended. The event was extremely well organized, the facility, A/V, etc were exceptional, the audience was engaged and very advanced, and everything about it was professional. As a speaker, I’ve never been treated better. The entire experience was great for me, personally.

I must admit that you really put a lot of effort into your presentation. When did you get the idea for that topic and why did you find it so interesting? Was it difficult collecting and analyzing all the data?

I’ve wanted to collect that data for a long time. We analyze the US, and people are always asking how my data applies to Europe and the rest of the world. Marketing Festival was just a good excuse to finally do the work. I did spend about three months on the process, especially refining the international crawls, but that research has already provided benefits for Moz beyond the conference. So, I have no regrets about the time and effort. I just hope the audience found it useful.

You have noted that only 20% of serps are “pure 10 blue links” without any variations. Some Google’s extra boxes are so big and attract so much attention, that even ranking top1 in search results now gets less and less visibility to users. This is considered a problem for websites which rank high; but do you think there is any way of treating this situation as an opportunity?

Yes, I do. There are cases where I think companies probably have to give up on a specific keywords and diversify, but there are other cases where those rich features could help enhance their listing or build their credibility. A local Knowledge Panel, for example (photos of your restaurant and the address/phone) could be a big benefit. Almost all vertical search can provide benefits. Some features, like answer boxes, are trickier, but I think creative SEOs could find a way to use them strategically.

We could see in your deck that image results appear frequently in serps, like 20-30%. Do you think that being visible as an image in search results is good enough and is it worth it, trying to acquire organic traffic this way?

I have to admit that I don’t have a lot of experience with image search. My understanding is that, now that Google is caching images and not sending as much traffic, the benefits are much less than they once were. Still, there are some searches and even business models that are just naturally going to be visual, and so images have to play a part in that.

The following question actually came up during the Q&A panel after your speech, but there wasn’t enough time to ask you about it. An anonymous person from the audience mentioned that many google changes apply only to the US and English speaking versions and the same might be with manual penalties. Therefore, some “old-school”, black hat techniques can still be effective in other language versions of Google. Would you actually agree with that?

Yes, I think that there are sub-algorithms that are country specific, and some changes don’t always roll out worldwide. It’s tricky, though, because there are also differences between industries and specific keywords. In industries that just naturally draw a lot of spam, Google may not be able to remove it all, as there would be no results left. I wouldn’t bet on that lasting forever, and Google has started to get more aggressive in Europe, especially with link farms.

What are your plans in relation to industry events for the next few months? Where can we have the opportunity of seeing you speak again?

I’m still following the impact of Pigeon and Penguin, but a lot of my work is moving toward Google features (and the kind of data I presented in my talk) and I’m doing more recently with content analytics. I’m not sure yet what my big projects for 2015 will be.
I do have four speaking engagements set up for 2015, but I’m afraid they aren’t public yet except for a local SEO conference in Seattle in February. This is a new event that Moz is involved in called LocalUp. I’ll announce the rest on Twitter as I get the go-ahead from the conference organizers.
Thank you very much Peter for sharing your thoughts with us. We look forward to seeing you again in subsequent conferences!
Were you also in Brno at the Marketing Festival? Or maybe you are planning to attend the next one? Share your thoughts and impressions in the comment box below!
  • 05 November 2014

See all articles by Wojtek Mazur

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