A Second Set of Learnings from HeroConf 2019

Yesterday, Tim shared some of his key takeaways from HeroConf 2019.

I’m here today to share some of mine.

This was my first HeroConf and it did not disappoint. It also helps that it was just a regional rail ride away for me (I was born, raised and currently reside in the Philly suburbs).

So, let’s talk about some of the learnings I loved and can’t wait to share with you.

Your Target Audience

Amanda Farley of SS Digital Media challenged us to think outside of our marketing viewpoints by thinking through our target audience from the lens of different departments.  For example:

  • Marketing: Desires those who are the most engaged
  • Sales: Desires those who are most likely to buy
  • Service: Desires those who are the best customers

Re-evaluate your prospects with each of these in mind, to make sure your targeting is on point. Inquire with the sales and service teams about key questions they often receive to be able to overcome these barriers or address important features in your ad copy and/or landing page. And remember, 82% of consumers needed five touch points before converting, so map out all your content remarketing and touch points to help your prospect along on the journey to becoming your customer.

Campaign Building

Julie Friedman Bacchini of Neptune Moon advised us to target real people and not personas by using SEO tactics to fuel your PPC campaigns. You can do this by entering in your expected search terms in Google to see the likely queries, results for research purposes (ie. review sites), the competition and the “People also search for” keyword goldmines straight from Google to see what real people see.

Then harness the learnings there to build out your campaigns. You can also use resources like Keywords Everywhere or Keyword Keg to help you build your keyword lists based on search intent.  She also clued us into sites like:

  •  Answer The Public to find unique prepositions, questions and other search intent insights for your keyword.
  • Keyword Typo Generator to find misspellings of your competitors to add as additional negatives (genius!)
  • Buzzsumo for insights into engagement and content related to your keyword; great for ad copy, landing page or remarketing ideas

Ad Copy

Shira Abel‘s presentation really got me thinking about we can influence our prospects by tweaking our approach a little.

For example, if your prospect is searching online for your product due to a stressful circumstance, the last thing you want is for your ad copy to make them feel further stressed. Instead, consider ad copy that relieves their cortisol, perhaps with something comical that will help the prospect build an affinity with you over the competition.

Similarly, think about ways to build your target’s oxytocin, dopamine and neuro epinephrine. And remember, people don’t want to think so you have to make the decision process easy for them so that an immediate decision in your favor becomes automatic response.

Mark Irvine addressed the ins and outs of the larger ETA formats, reminding us that the second headline and third description don’t always show so you can’t really rely on them as an extension of the previous line nor for CTAs, disclaimers, or vital offers. Instead, use them for additional benefits, competitor differentiation or keyword variety.

Overall, these ads are being shown more on desktop than mobile based on sheer screen size. Since so much traffic is coming from mobile, you shouldn’t be surprised then if they aren’t outperforming your standard control. If that’s the case, make sure to try them out in Bing where there is more desktop traffic than via Google.

One great tip Mark offered is to stay away from CTAs that I want the viewer to do (download this, schedule a demo, buy now, etc) and shift to CTAs that answer the searcher’s reason for searching in the first place (get the best practices, solve your problem, etc).


Pinterest is one of my favorite channels, so I was thrilled to be able to sit in on Duane Brown‘s presentation on his Pinterest learnings.  Here are some of his learnings:

  • Segment out Search vs. Browse placements in your ad groups since they have such different intent and volume.
  • Use your negative keywords from other channels.
  • Test images of your actual product by itself vs. images of the product being used.
  • Create pins for your best blog content.
  • Start off small with your best audiences and products first.
  • Don’t test more than 4 pins per ad group at a time.
  • Test longer here than you would in other channels.
  • Don’t assume what worked in other channels will work here.
  • Test, test and test!


Is HeroConf worth it? Yes, if you can go.

There were four options for most session times, giving you plenty of choices regardless of your experience level or platform depth.

One of the best parts was meeting all the people I’ve seen so often on #ppcchat. We work in an incredible industry that is amazingly friendly and willing to share their depth of knowledge.  Who knows, maybe I’ll see you in Austin next year!

What takeaways do you have from HeroConf 2019 (or any other digital marketing conference you went to this year)? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!