The Best of Heroconf London (1st day) 2017

At this time of the year, it has become a habit of mine to attend all the largest PPC conferences in Europe to do some “speakers shopping” for ADworld Experience (whose next edition will be in Bologna, Italy, on April 12-13, 2018). In this post, I have written about some of the most important highlights from the first day of HeroConf London (the European date of the largest PPC conference in the world), organized by Hanapin Marketing in the wonderful “The Brewery” (Chiswell St).

Photo credit @one800kayla

The first interesting keynote was from Amy Harrison ( It was about “How Inside-Out Copy Makes You Invisible”, or, in other words, how inconsistent copy will affect your Conversion Rates.

I have attended dozens of keynotes aiming at explain how to use copy-writing for CRO in the last few years, but this was one of the few ones I found actually useful and giving me some really actionable insights.

Amy begun with deconstructing worst practices so spread everywhere in sites. The first is “cheating copy” filled up with “umbrella terms”: if your payoff or selling proposition does not explain what your company does or it could be applied successfully to other ones in different sectors, it is time to rethink them. A good copy has to point out the most important pluses of your offer quoting specific benefits and erasing from the face of the earth vague promises. Answer with clarity to the users’ first queries: “what does this organization do?” and “what is in here for me?” first, and then you will have a chance to start convincing them on why they should care about you (which is what effective copy writing should really do). Here are 5 tips to achieve this goal:

  • Don’t bury value (answer the main questions above the fold and in the most evident sections of the layout).
  • Get inside your customers’ head (what are their needs? Why they should care about your site? If you are not answering these question, it is quite likely you won’t even have a chance to be attractive for them).
  • Address their known or unknown problems (and offer to solve them easily and effectively using a model based on: the “symptoms” to address, the “problem” to solve, the “risk” involved in it, the “cure” offered and the “contrast” before-after).
  • Highlight the risks of not using your solution.
  • Consistently communicate the impact of your solution (answering the “what”, the “what does what” and the “so what” questions).

After the first keynote, I attended to Liam Wade ( session about “Shopping campaigns (the human approach)”. It was a really dense speech, making a wide reportage on the different optimization approaches you can have to AdWords Shopping campaigns. He explained that you can work on:

Queries > The higher the bid is, the broader the queries your products will appear for. The lower, the longer the query tail will have to be to see your ads. It is possible to do a “Search Query Sculpting” only separating campaigns with different priorities and selectively blocking negative keywords for brands/products names or for longer queries. He suggested also a clever way to use exact match negative keywords in campaigns with higher priority, to obtain specific lower priority campaigns (with higher CPC) showing up only for the exact queries blocked in the twin prioritized campaigns.

Audience > He suggested also how to be much more effective on broader terms using RLSA with segments built on cart abandoners, or users visiting “about us” page or segmented by uploading customer match lists or by household income values or similar to one of the previous ones.

Feeds > Optimizing product feeds has become much easier with the recently launched supplemental ones and he suggested to work with them to A/B test product titles by looking at effective query reports and removing unnecessary information. Another best practice for Liam is to use discounts only for limited period of times (not fixed ones always available). Other possible optimizations would be on best sellers bids and sizes. He suggested also to use the Magento Data Feed Manager tool by Wyomind.

I then attended Mark Irvine ( session, about “Evolved text ads”.

ETA are the new widely adopted standard in text ads, but an outstanding 44% of the 11,4k Wordstream users are only using 1 ad variant in each group, 32% only 2 variants, 15% only 3 variants and only 7% 4 or more variants. Added to that, the large majority of advertisers switched to the new standard using the old title + adding a second one and some extra words to reach 80 chars limit in description, but the ad itself substantially remained the same it was before, while search queries are constantly evolving towards more natural language (and less keywords stuffing) and ads should do the same.

He then showed that the most powerful pronouns in ad texts are “him/her” (relationship), the second is “you” (audience) and the third is “we” (solution).  He showed an interesting case of CTR increase based on ads using “his” or “her” pronouns for segmented male and female users. Finally he demonstrated a correlation between mobile users CTR and mobile specific Call To Actions and local names inserted in the ads thanks to “IF functions”.

Finally Ann Stanley ( spoke about “Multichannel strategy”.

The basic idea of the speech is to use low cost, but still targeted, traffic sources to populate remarketing segments to be used afterwards in RLSA. Cheap targeted traffic could be obtained from AdWords Display campaigns itself, but also from Facebook Ads or other PPC platforms. Ann suggested to tag them with UTM tracking codes to properly track them in different segments.

Other good quality low cost traffic sources could be SEO contents, she called “honey pots” (competitions, white papers, visuals, infographics, free stuff, special offers, etc.), or affiliate visits (after the expiry period of cookies) or lookalike audiences obtained with customer match loaded lists.

Here are the slides showed by Ann for further details.

Unfortunately I was able to follow only the first day of the conference, but I am sure the second day too would have reserved other good PPC sparks. That was a pity, but you will see some of these speakers in Bologna for the next ADworld Experience! 😉


Gianpaolo Lorusso

About Gianpaolo Lorusso

Freelance AdWords & CRO professional, Gianpaolo is among the first Italian web marketing professionals and ideated ADworld Experience, one of the largest PPC events in the world.