On Tuesday I was at SES London. I was also at SES for a day last year and I thought that this year was much better in terms of the quality of the presentations and speakers. Hats off to the organising team for making these improvements.
The keynote was by Jeff Hayzlett, the former CMO of Kodak. He was an amazing speaker. In fact he was so good that he could have been talking rubbish and I would have sat there amazed. If Jeff had said “what organisations need to do these days is throw money down a big hole”, I would have been thinking “have we got room in the office for a money pit?”.
I think the content was pretty good but, as I’ve said, I was so overawed that I’m not really in a position to judge.
Session 1: Basic Analytics
I thought this would be a waste of time for me (I’m arrogant enough to assume I don’t need basic Analytics training), but I’m ashamed to say I did come away with a few things to think about. John Marshall gave a good presentation from which I made the following notes:
Session 2: A Powerful New Choice in Search
I was disappointed by this session. Somehow I had got it into my head that it would have been more of an open forum, with Binghoo asking the room “How can we improve our advertising” and us agency guys yelling back “Give us an MCC!” Instead it was a presentation about how the transition will take place and how once it is done the world will be full of sunshine and rainbows for all who have to work with them.
Session 3: Meaningful SEO Metrics
Pete Young gave an excellent presentation on SEO forecasting. Unfortunately (for you), the main point I got from this is that I will have to look at his presentation and take my time going through it. I think the rest of the audience felt the same because, given the interesting topic, there were very few questions for Pete afterwards.
Matthew Bailey’s presentation was on some of the methods his company uses when doing Analytics. Some of what he said was, in my opinion, fundamentally flawed. He talked about dragging in as many data points as possible and then looking for patterns. Unfortunately people are very good at spotting patterns where no pattern exists. He didn’t really have a good answer on how to prevent this happening, apart from that any conclusion you make should be immediately obvious from that data.
If I study the moon for long enough then I see a face. Excluding the hypothesis that the moon is a face and not a lump of rock I have to conclude that the face was made by aliens because I know it wasn’t made by us. Therefore aliens exist.
Going too deep in the data has dangers.
Session 4: The Ultimate Search Marketing Battle
I am a PPC guy. Nothing that was said here was ever going to change my mind, but the session was fun. I probably should have gone to the Analytics Deep Dive instead; that might have been more productive in terms of learning new and interesting things.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I was impressed with the quality of the conference compared to last year. The speakers were excellent and there was enough interesting content to make the day worthwhile for me.