Wednesday 2nd November saw Benchmark Search & Digital Conference return for the 6th time. Held in the Science & Industry Museum in Manchester.
We really enjoyed organising the conference, and we hope our speakers and delegates enjoyed themselves too! The atmosphere was alive with the Benchmark buzz, and being able to host once again was a great pleasure. Below is a highlights reel from the day.
Welcome to Benchmark!
Nick Wilsdon (Search Product Owner at Vodafone) opened the event, greeting the 150 delegates seated in the Science & Industry Museum’s Garratt Suite.
There was the a brief welcome from Managing Director of Click Consult, Julie Sowa, who expressed our delight at finally bringing the conference back to Manchester after a 2 year pandemic hiatus. Following that, we moved on to the first of our talks!
The first quarter - Nick Wilsdon, Ellie England & Stacey Harper
After the morning sign-in and networking in the foyer, the day of talks kicked off with Nick Wilsdon giving his talk “How to make use of CDN and Edge Compute within your marketing strategy”. We have the full low down on Nick’s speech, and a detailed summary to be released in the coming week.
Nick talked with confidence on the business uses – for mass redirects (think millions), for serving country specific content from a root domain and much more. A technical talk topic, but communicated clearly and expertly by Nick – and attendees from enterprise level brands in the audience will no doubt have been left with a lot to think about.
Benchmark’s audience then welcomed Ellie England (Sales Director at Microsoft Advertising) to the stage. Returning delegates will have recognised Ellie at previous Benchmark Conferences, and we were honoured to welcome Ellie back for 2022 to talk us through the workday consumer.
A GA4 expert, Stacey gave the gathered delegates the best hints and tips for migrating data to GA4 (one tip we definitely took away was ‘don’t push that button!’ honestly, you had to have been there). Filled with step by step approaches for migration and implementation, we were taken on a journey through the secret garden of GA4; and why we should all make the switch now.
The gardening analogies definitely provided us with a greater insight into analytics, and how your analytics should be maintained just like you would a garden – or feel the wrath of nature, and pull weeds out of your strategy for the foreseeable future (it was less dramatic than that, I promise).
The second quarter - Omi Sido, John Warner & the panel discussion
After a short tea and coffee break (biscuits were optional, but were definitely included) Omi Sido – Senior Technical SEO at Canon Europe, and Benchmark aficionado – delivered the second talk of the day on Google Analytics 4.
Omi told the delegates that, while Universal Analytics is dead (and with the migration deadline getting closer and closer, we couldn’t agree more), but that it represented a unique opportunity to become an industry leader in a new and evolving platform
Click Consult’s Digital Marketing Manager, John Warner, graced the stage with a commanding presence, delegates who had attended previous Benchmark conferences expected knowledge and wit – and were not disappointed; new delegates also commented on his engaging talk.
— Natalie Slater (@njmott) November 2, 2022
The panel session included John Warner, Gerry White, Ellie England and Stacey Harper who discussed the Future of Search & Digital Marketing. A refreshing debate and some agreement among the quartet made the panel a success.
The end of the panel session heralded the start of lunch, where delegates could digest the first half of the day along with some food. The room was alive with chatter, and everyone was having a good time – the hour long break was welcome, but the audience were soon itching to get back to hear the rest of the day’s talks.
With cameras snatching images of interesting slides, and commenting on their favourite talks, the live feed of Tweets using #BenchmarkConf2022 was filling up. From our perspective, it’s honestly fantastic to see everyone’s positive thoughts on the day – it makes all the hard work and effort really worthwhile.
The third quarter - Gerry White, Giulia Panozzo, Daniel Reilly
Speaking on data and the growing number of data pipes that can feed into both monitoring and strategy, Gerry talked the crowd through how he has used DataStudio (now Looker Studio) to monitor, maintain and improve the search performance of the national and international brands with which he’s worked. An information dense talk that will have attendees looking forward to receiving the pitch decks, it was great to see Gerry return to the Benchmark stage.
Benchmark Conference first timer (but hopefully not her last time!) Giulia Panozzo, Senior Manager of Search Marketing at StockX, took to the stage to talk about Analysing the impact of your SEO changes with Causal Impact. From telling the audience what causal impact is, to getting into the nitty gritty of what it can help brands to achieve, and the how it can help with improving strategy, Giulia was a captivating speaker, making statistical analysis come alive!
In his first outing at the conference, Daniel Reilly – co-founder of Ruler Analytics – continued the themes of ‘test-and-learn’ and the importance of statistical analysis and an holistic and scientific approach to data and data collection. Showing how attribution is both difficult but achievable with a broad marketing mix, Daniel was able to give concrete advice to the delegates on how to achieve the best measurements and how to be data ‘informed’ rather than data ‘driven’.
The last quarter - Roxana Stingu, Christian Guerreiro & Petra Kis-Herczegh
Roxana’s talk was a real highlight of the day – and again, in a new way, threaded together themes that emerged on the day of the importance of building relationships and a common language across teams and departments – walking the attendees through how, to paraphrase Wilde, devs and SEOs are two teams separated by a common language – both deal with many of the same aspects of the internet and many more tangential and related areas – but in a way that is obscured by a difference in terminology that can lead to SEO priorities being overlooked.
Christian Guerreiro SEO Manager at Co-op gave the penultimate talk of the day, and it was commented on by a number of delegates that the use of the real world application from the brand he works with made it easy to comprehend and follow. Talking about the changes we have seen in SEO that are going to be around for a while, Christian also looked into trustworthiness, and told us the formula; Trustworthiness = (credibility + reliability + intimacy) / self orientation.
The last speaker at the conference was Petra Kis-Herczegh, the Senior Solution Engineer at Yext. Her talk called “The Buy-in-ish Cycle: The Main Reason Strategies Fail”, was a great way to end the day, nicely weaving a story (festive themed) which dealt with the problems of stakeholder engagement, and how to best prepare projects to engage a variety of stakeholders at the right time to give them the best chance to not only succeed but to then feed in to a cycle that improves the chances of success of your next project.
All in all, we were incredibly pleased with the day – and we really don’t think it ends with the last speaker. We’re keeping an eye out on our dedicated Twitter for more users Tweeting with the hashtag #BenchmarkConf2022. We set out to make 2022’s conference the best we’ve seen, and the content of the talks certainly delivered that – what worked can be taken through to further Benchmark conferences and what can be improved… will be! We also want to say a huge thank you to the event organisers at Don’t Panic Events, event sponsors Ahrefs and event partners The Juice Academy, DAN and the Dan Institute.
You can find and download the slides from the day in this folder.
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Great selection of speakers, central venue, inclusive refreshments, mainly focused on search (which is great) – it’s one of the best events of the year.
Great speakers from lots of different backgrounds – great networking opportunity
Excellent conference, well done all.
Our marketing team attended Benchmark the other week and we all came away with some interesting insights!
Thanks Stacey Harper for giving a quick insightful session regarding migration to GA