Top 10 Takeaways from Pubcon Las Vegas 2017

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend Pubcon 2017 in Las Vegas, one of the largest, and oldest internet marketing conferences in the US.

Throughout the 3 jam-packed days of sessions I attended sessions ranging from writing better ad copy to conversions in a landing page-less world to top AdWords mistakes to creating Facebook advertising funnels. So many great ideas were shared and I want to pay if forward to all of you.

Ad Copy

  1. AdWords demographic data is improving significantly, so you should consider segmenting male vs. female audiences. Then you can create ad copy that is specific to each gender and improve performance – via Brad Geddes.
  2. The most powerful pronouns, according to research by Mark Irvine of Wordstream, are him/her. This outperforms “you” and “we” because it goes beyond the selfish “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) and ties into relationships. So if you have a product where a significant other will commonly be buying then you should leverage this with the top above.

Voice Search

  1. 53% of internet users prefer chat apps to speaking on the phone. This is according to Purna Virji of Microsoft, so if you’re in a business that currently is taking a lot of phone calls, you might want to consider an online chat function or even create a chat bot.

Shopping Ads

  1. Price is a significant factor in determining the position of your shopping ads on Google. But before you go and offer a really low price with high shipping costs (a la eBay), remember that Google is adding the shipping fee to create a total cost and then using that in their calculations. Nobody wants to compete on price, but if you’ve got a great product that just doesn’t get impressions or suffers from poor placement, consider a test where you decrease the price incrementally to see if you can improve position enough to offset the lower price.

New AdWords Experience

  1. The new AdWords experience contains numerous design cues that apply psychology principles and are intended to get advertisers to increase bids. If you’re seeing solid average position, good volume and good performance don’t worry about that notification that a keyword is “Below first page bid”.


  1. Different campaign types in Facebook ads have vastly different cost structures. It’s no coincidence that the campaign creation wizard in Power Editor is divided into 3 columns. Awareness campaigns will be least expensive while Conversion objective campaigns will be the most expensive.
  2. Video ads are being favored in the Facebook ads system, according to Susan Wenograd. Therefore, use video ads with Awareness campaign objectives. Then use Consideration or Conversion campaign types and target the people who watched 75% or 100% of your video ads. Then you’re getting your ads in front of a warm audience that is familiar with you instead of a cold audience where you’re leading with a very heavy-commitment CTA.
  3. When creating Facebook ads, remember that blue is the color of Facebook. To avoid being ignored you’ve got to use other colors, especially high-contrast colors like oranges or reds. Also, according to Ashley Ward, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, so you should add captions to your videos.

Competitive Advantage

  1. The opening keynote from Peter Shankman talked at length about how you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be better than your competitors. He used the example of airline travel. Most airline customers feel they’ve had a great experience if they don’t get hassled in security, the plane departs and arrives on time and nobody is dragged off the flight. That’s a very low bar because of how airlines have been setting expectations. Likewise, if you can deliver a better experience than your competitors, even by a small margin, then you’ll win the battle.


  1. HTTPS is becoming a much bigger deal, especially internationally. According to Olga Andrienko of SEMRush they are seeing more top-10 and top-20 websites running HTTPS. Their SEMRush Sensor tool is currently detecting HTTPS 60% of the time. I know the switch represents a cost in time and effort, but moving early maximizes the benefit and removes the risk of being passed up by your competitors.


There’s an adage I like that states “A wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others.” While attending large conferences can be a great opportunity to learn from people with more experience on specific platform or tactics they can be quite expensive between travel costs, conference pass and time away from the office. So I hope that these tips can help you improve your own digital advertising efforts and if you have questions or need clarification please feel free to reach out to me.

We’d love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comments!