Now in its sixth year, SAScon returned to MMU Business School last week to bring together keynotes, speakers and debates across search, analytics and social.

Although SAScon started off as a conference which attracted mostly SEOs  and was quite techy (SO much of it went over my head that first year) it now attracts delegates from the whole of the digital marketing industry. Attendees now include search and content marketers, digital agencies and PR agencies who incorporate social and content marketing like ourselves.

Here’s our Fourth Day highlights from SAScon 2015:

1.    Larry Kim, Wordstream

The founder of Wordstream, Larry Kim, was everything a keynote speaker should be – he was funny, he had put a lot of effort in to his talk and he delivered true insight.

Even though I don’t deal with paid media or PPC much, Larry gave some fascinating insights about the future of paid media and even managed to get PR into his talk. He gave an example whereby he published a blog post as a promoted tweet to the 1000 most influential people in his industry, including journalists, securing it masses of coverage on tech websites.

Larry also spoke about Google’s email advertising, which puts fake emails in your Gmail inbox, which he has found has the best click-through results, compared to PPC ads (although I find this so spammy and have never clicked on one yet). The most likely explanation for this is that advertisers can use keywords found in consumers’ inboxes for better targeting.

You can view Larry’s slides for the full talk – a definite recommendation.

2. Aleyda Solis

Aleyda is one of SEO’s biggest names and had flown over from Madrid to Manchester – and even brought her brolly, although sadly for her, it was bright sunshine all day. Her talk covered best practice for SEO and focused on how a smaller company can use its flexibility and agility to succeed online over larger, but much slower and inflexible businesses.

Everyone in the room noted down her plethora of online tools to try out – I’m still trying to find an hour spare to work through them all.

Take a look at Aleyda’s slides for all the tools she mentions.

3. Content beyond infographics

Jon Burkhart’s session certainly livened up the last session of the conference – a slot where traditionally half the audience have slipped away tired and hungover and the other half are falling asleep.

By getting his audience to throw orange balls at the best and worst of content on social media and news hijacking attempts by brands, it was a fantastically inspiring and interactive talk.

I’ve already ordered this book for some bedtime reading so will report back via the blog when we have consumed it.

4. Women in digital

SAScon event sponsor The Candidate commissioned a report called Women in Digital, to coincide with this year’s SAScon. Although I work in the primarily female-dominated PR industry, it’s not hard to notice the lack of females in digital marketing, particularly SEO.

The panel discussed the issues and barriers around what stops women from joining the digital industry and, ultimately, what stops them from climbing the career ladder in the same numbers as men.

It was great to see men and women around the room chip in to a lively debate and discuss the societal issues that feed into this problem. One real take-away was the importance of opening up flexible working in the future. Panellists felt that this would allow for both men and women to work around family lifestyles, and should be embraced in an industry which is largely digitally based. It’s a huge topic so we’ll certainly expand on this issue in future blog posts.


Overall, SAScon is a great conference, which was set up on a non-for-profit basis by industry professionals to bring a quality event to Manchester, which is a super idea. Brighton and London are amazing places but when I visit, I’d rather not be stuck in a conference all day.

I found the two days massively inspirational and left with a head spinning full of ideas. It’s also a great place to catch up with old friends and acquaintances in the industry. See you again next year!




The author

Nikki is a director and co-founder of Fourth Day

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