Key Takeaways from Leicester Digital Live 2023 –  Anicca Digital’s Annual Digital Marketing Conference

With 10 top-flight speakers and Winstanley House packed with some of the region’s best digital marketers, Leicester Digital Live 2023 (LDL23) has been a huge success.  

 One of the day’s hot topics was AI, with Fernando Angulo from SEMRush, Martin Broadhurst and Neil Collard each delivering informative and engaging presentations around this key marketing tactic. From looking at the basics of AI, its impact before June 2023, the pitfalls, and long-term projections, the captive audience gleaned new insights and tactics. 

Fernando Angulo from SEMRush opened the one-day conference by sharing the latest eCommerce trends. He spoke about social commerce blurring the lines between browsing and buying, and how it is now revolutionising the shopping experience. He stressed that we have to accept that digital wallets, biometric authentication and blockchain technology are paving the way for a cashless society.  

 On the topic of Artificial Intelligence, the advertising industry is being revolutionised after harnessing AI to deliver personalised and predictive ads. Web 3.0 and the decentralised web allows for secure visual identities enabling a new era of online interactions. And finally, Fernando said that AI will become ubiquitous, augmenting decision making and driving innovation in every industry.  

 Anicca’s Founder and CEO Ann Stanley looked at how to stay ahead of technical innovations that can really mess with your technical marketing performance. This covered step by step techniques to manage the transition to GA4, automation in ad platforms and the timesaving value of using AI such as ChatGPT. She predicted the shift in automation will mean that PPC teams SEO will merge, with the data and tools used becoming intertwined. Teams will be blended going forward, they will not be siloed.   

Martin Broadhurst from Broadhurst Digital explored how to use AI for a digital marketing strategy. With the majority of delegates questioned using AI for blog posts and other copy writing, Martin confirmed its place as an assistant to our jobs. McKinsey data has shown that there has been an uplift of 11trillion to 17trillion per annum on the global economy thanks to AI, with the Boston Consulting group revealing that it has improved the output of work by 40%, making people 25% faster. But it’s not all positive. Some data is wrong, and all content and sourced must be checked.  

 To level up, he cited ChatGPT+ as worth investing in as the results are so much better and you also have the ability to regenerate responses. Using AI it is worth bearing in mind the following; Expertise, Experience, Authority and Trustworthiness.  Zapier was cited as a tool to help transcribe live presentations and create blog posts.  

He summarised by stating that training and skills development is needed to help hone your AI ability, such as understanding prompting and the limitations of the platform. Your business needs to have governance around the technology, and the lead can be taken from the Marketing AI Institute which have created guiding rules and principles. 

Neil Collard from GYDA shared how Google SGE is going to revolutionise search, and brands need to be prepared for this.  

 

He had two key predictions: 

  1. Generative search will lead into a fall in organic traffic. 
    Generative search is taking topic content and giving the user a concise response, right on the search pages 
  1. Paid traffic will only get more expensive.

Organic traffic is falling, so brands need to replace that traffic. Therefore, the demand on paid will increase, resulting in a price increase.  

Tactics and strategies that can be used include:

  • Being prepare for change – view it as an opportunity 
  • Invest the time now to understand Google SGE 
  • Explore the SGE impact model
  • Budgets for paid might need to change 

He has four tactics that will improve ranking:  
1. Good practice is good practice 
EEAT will continue to carry weight – the dominant space is the three links next to the AI result 

2. Longer more specific search terms could be more popular 
Content should develop beyond the commodity information to provide full value 

3. The importance of user intent 
Accelerating the journey from keyword to intent (question why people searching for something)

4. Use generative AI
It must be high quality, but it helps create content at scale 

The theme of the day shifted slightly after the early morning sessions, bringing insights from Hannah Smith on how our biological brains work, and Sandra Varley giving great tips on how to get behind integrated marketing campaigns in time for Christmas.  

 Hannah Smith from the worderist.com shared her vast expertise on how to create and land linked PR content, challenging the audience to question why stories work and gain extensive coverage. She used psychology insights to interpret how new information is digested, considering messaging, language, the framework and processes. She now looks at our tendency to forget, and reviews the wider influencing factors which result in coverage generation. This can include trends, timing and even the value in repurposing successful content.  

Interflora’s Sandra Varley captured the audience’s attention after lunch with an engaging talk about Christmas. For the ecommerce arm of the business, Flying Flowers, the festive planning starts in January, with the focus built around successful automation techniques. She stressed the importance of customers and the increasing costs of acquisition, so keeping them is key, nurturing the relationship. Segmentation techniques at Flying Flowers have been key supported with automation and timely conversations to encourage customer relationships to bloom.  

 The team are focused on building seasonal conversations to grow a broader audience. They look to avoid spammy messages and instead grow loyalty via topical content and tapping into repeat purchases. Finally, the use of message integration, spanning email, SMS, SEO and social media highlighted how all audiences can be reached, particularly GenZ, who don’t use email.  

 TikTok users have grown by 17% in the last year, and Anicca’s Paid Social Director, Rachel Cryan, looked at how to skyrocket sales with TikTok shop. TikTok shopping started its rollout in September 2021, heralding the change from an entertainment channel to an eCommerce platform. It’s an entertaining experience with authentic and honest content produced by creators. Shopping is an in-platform experience cementing the trust factors for the channel, with reviews helping to drive purchase. The explosion of it as an eCommerce platform was cemented earlier in 2023 with the launch of the Shop tab, supported by Creators being paid to help build product profile and reach. She stressed that video is no longer needed for the shopping channel; instead, product optimisation is key for visibility.  

 The Marketing Autopilot’s Chris Dillon stressed the value of making follow-ups, utilising WhatsApp and email automation to convert more leads to sales. He told a captivated audience that WhatsApp is a fantastic tool to use to automate customer communications while still providing a personable and personalised conversation. But to be effective, it needs to include the 3Ps – be personable, personalised but DON’T pretend to be a person.
Using some live examples, Chris stressed the need to automate what is possible and delegate what is necessary, not trying to do everything at once. One solution is to ask for help or employ someone to do it. And some useful stats were shared to prove its effectiveness.  From those messages sent via WhatsApp, 80% are opened in the first 10 mins, and it is 21 times more effective to respond to a query within five minutes, vs. 30 minutes.  

 SEO was also featured at LDL23, with Robin Allenson from Similar.ai discussing SEO success shifting from manual to automated. Automating SEO tasks help free up time, meaning the user spends less time on mundane tasks, freeing up space for more engaging activities. Tasks such as updating internal links, consolidating duplicate pages, eliminating pages and creating new ones can all be automated. So why automate? Speed and frequency spent on tasks are reduced, plus its scalable.    

The day was wrapped up with Dixon Jones sharing what InLinks is and why it is different from the way other SEO tools work. He specifically looked at how you can use the system to get ahead online. It can help you: 

  • Optimise content for search engines and user satisfaction
  • Automate and optimise internal links
  • Ideate, create, schedule, and deploy social media content 

 

The Anicca team would like to thank all the speakers for their insightful presentations.  

Also to each of the delegates who supported the event. A big shout out to the sponsors too. 

 A massive thank you to our charity partner of the year, Leicester Hospitals Charity, – Anicca  has raised over £1000 so far in support of the charity.  

 We look forward to seeing everyone again at LDL24!   

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