AdWords Performance Forum (APF) 2014 Ruled

Apr. 27

Digital marketing is the career path that never gets boring. This past week, I had the honor and pleasure of attending Google’s exclusive AdWords Performance Forum (APF) 2014. For those who have been reading PPC Ian for a while, you may remember that I blogged about AdWords Performance Forum 2013 last year. Last year’s APF was truly amazing, at the W Hotel in San Francisco. This year, in my opinion, Google outdid themselves. They pulled out all stops and delivered a conference that was the best I have experienced in my career. Today, I’m thrilled to share my personal experience at APF 2014. I’m also thrilled to share many photos throughout this post taken at the event!

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay: An Incomparable Setting

It all starts with the setting. This year Google decided to host the event at the incomparable Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. As someone based out of the Silicon Valley, I have experienced the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay before, and it’s one of my favorite hotels. This time, however, I experienced it like never before. Google placed me in an ocean front suite, provided amazing food and beverages, set up some of the coolest networking events ever, and made it a true pleasure. I especially appreciated the fact that I could walk right outside of my hotel room and go for a morning jog along the beautiful beach. (Side note: 2014 is the year that PPC Ian truly integrates exercise into his daily routine, no matter what!) Google truly appreciates their largest advertisers, and the choice in venue made that incredibly apparent. It was so easy for me since the drive to/from the Ritz was beautiful and scenic, especially with my convertible top down. This is the good life.

Google Self-Driving Car

AdWords Performance Forum: Google Pulled Out All Stops

Have you ever been to a conference where 20+ new Google products are released? Have you ever been to a conference where the seating is so comfortable that you never get tired of the event? (I could not believe the comfort. Google had us sitting in leather chairs/sofas that each had their own little swiveling table with power cords to any device you’d want to charge.) Have you ever been to a conference where everyone who attends gets a free Android tablet, and not the cheap one either, the 32 GB model? Have you ever been to an event where the networking feels like the "who’s who" of digital marketing? I could go on and on, Google pulled out all stops. I literally could not stop sharing my business card and writing notes the entire time. When you look at the networking benefits, the planning/roadmap benefits, and the simple fact that I went away energized and motivated, you really cannot beat this opportunity.

AdWords Performance Forum 2014 Tablet

My Personal Highlight: PPC Ian is Featured at APF 2014

I’m not going to get in to the specifics of my particular lessons at this event. A lot of it was NDA-only so I’m unfortunately not able to share. That said, if you have a Google Account Management team, make sure to stay in close contact. Ask them about the AdWords Performance Forum. See if they’re able to share the roadmap and product announcements. Google has always been such an amazing partner who "gets it". Ask and you very well may receive! Even if you don’t have a dedicated team, follow the Google blogs closely. There is some truly amazing stuff on the way.

PPC Ian AdWords Performance Forum

Now, one thing I am able to share is the fact that PPC Ian got featured! I really couldn’t believe this. My team and I had worked with Google on a really cool case study, all about the brand impact of Display Advertising. In one of their sessions about Display, Google featured our case. Additionally, they had a screenshot of PPC Ian on the big screen and even gave me a shout out. I was humbled and in a state of disbelief. How cool is that? PPC Ian has really made the big time now. Google actually used my blog to make a point. The very man who has branded himself as PPC Ian (PPC stands for "pay per click") is now an incredible fan of Display Advertising, so much of a fan that he’s doing case studies with Google. This makes a point or two about the current state of Display Advertising on Google and how amazing it is. It’s Brad Bender (Director, Product Management at Google) that put me on the big screen, and I truly thank you Brad!

Matt Lawson: The Industry Leader and Guru Behind The Event

Ian Lopuch and Matt Lawson

Matt Lawson and Ian Lopuch

Who’s been reading PPC Ian for 4+ years? For those long time supporters, you may recall that I did an interview with Matt Lawson a few years back. Matt is now the Director, Search Ads Marketing at Google and was responsible for AdWords Performance Forum 2014.

I had the true pleasure of spending time with my old friend and witnessing first hand his masterpiece: Strategizing and executing upon the best digital marketing event I have ever attended. Matt is a true leader in our industry and I wanted to take this opportunity to personally say "thank you". It was my honor to attend. It was my honor to do the case study with your team. I look forward to many more future events like this one, and am always here to help in any way I can. Google has hired the best-of-the-best with industry veteran and leader, Matt Lawson.

I’m Officially Energized and Motivated Thanks To Google

Do you get a rush from public speaking? AdWords Performance Forum certainly provided that opportunity with the ability to ask questions to Product Managers and leaders at Google, in front of an audience of hundreds. I got a few fun questions in there. Combining this amazing opportunity with everything discussed above, I left the conference energized and more motivated than ever before. Our industry is going places, and Google is leading the way. Thanks, Google, for an amazing experience and I hope to see you again at AdWords Performance Forum 2015!

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

Images in this post © PPCIan.com

AdWords Performance Forum 2013 Pictures & Recap

May. 10

What a busy and exciting two weeks! After speaking at the MediaPost Search Insider Summit at Amelia Island, FL last week, I attended the Google AdWords Performance Forum in San Francisco this week. The world of digital marketing is truly 24/7. These have been two weeks of balancing a full workload with the extra responsibility and fun times of great events! Today, I wanted to share some exciting photos from the APF 2013, and my fun experience.

PPC Ian and Rocket Clicks

Steve Kroll (Rocket Clicks), Tom Wolf (Rocket Clicks), Ian Lopuch (Me)

It all started on Monday at the W Hotel San Francisco. As soon as I arrived, Googlers greeted me in the lobby and directed me to the third floor. On the third floor, Google had a special VIP check-in area, complete with Google Micro Kitchen. Google thought of every possible detail, they made all of their guests feel like royalty.

After checking in, I went up to my room and was truly impressed. The rooms were outstanding, I could not be happier with the experience. The workstation, view, and overall feel of the room made me feel right at home. This was perfect since I had to get a full week’s worth of work done while attending the conference. The workstation and pleasant experience made that super easy.

Monday night, Google had an amazing kick off party. They had delicious food, amazing displays (see the Jelly Fish and Google Earth pictures below), and awesome company. My words cannot fully do the event justice, you must see the pictures below. I bumped into several Googlers I know and a variety of friends from the industry. I was especially happy to bump into my friends Steve Kroll and Tom Wolf from Rocket Clicks, PPC, SEO, and UX agency. After the Google party, Steve and Tom were kind enough to treat me to a fantastic dinner at Ame Restaurant at the St. Regis Hotel. We chatted about online marketing, business, and life. If you are looking for an agency, I highly recommend checking out Rocket Clicks. They are truly amazing. They are not only one of the best when it comes to knowledge and results, but are truly honest, great people. It is my honor to call Steve, Tom, and Rocket Clicks my friends.

After dinner, I headed back to my room to catch some sleep. Day two (Tuesday) was awesome. It was a day full of learning. I especially enjoyed the session about Enhanced Campaigns. I’m truly pumped up about Enhanced Campaigns and learned a lot of great ideas, directly from other leading advertisers and Googlers. After this conference, I feel incredibly prepared to take full advantage of the new Enhanced Campaign paradigm. Another highlight of day two: The opportunity to have lunch with Google product managers, providing feedback about the platform. I’m always thrilled to share ideas/feedback with Google and truly enjoyed the collaborative working session lunch. After a long day of sessions, day two ended with yet another party. It is very clear that Google invested a ton of time and money in preparing this conference. It showed through in every single detail. I had a lot of fun on day two, and bumped into my friend Sean Marshall from PPC Associates. Sean is an amazing guy and works at an amazing company, we had a ton of fun catching up.

Day three (Wednesday) was a half day of more great sessions. Google packed in so much valuable content, networking, fine dining, and partying. They truly care about their advertisers and are vested in their success. Thank you, Google, for an amazing AdWords Performance Forum. It was my honor to attend!

Pictures From The AdWords Performance Forum

Google Jelly Fish

AdWords Performance Forum Party Google Jelly Fish

Google Earth

AdWords Performance Forum Party Google Earth

Google Micro Kitchen

AdWords Performance Forum Google Micro Kitchen

W Hotel San Francisco

W Hotel San Francisco Room, Great Workstation

W Hotel San Francisco View

View From My Room, W Hotel San Francisco

I Spoke At MediaPost Search Insider Summit

May. 05

Last week, I had the honor of attending and speaking at MediaPost Search Insider Summit. What is Search Insider Summit? It’s a special digital marketing conference for top tier executives in our space. It’s typically an invite-only conference, and I was lucky and fortunate enough to be invited to attend and speak at this amazing conference on Amelia Island, Florida. I wanted to start off this post by sincerely thanking Rob McEvily, Junmian Sun, Jon Whitfield, and the entire MediaPost team. You guys put on the best digital marketing event ever.

ion platform

Have you heard of ion interactive? These guys build the best and most impressive post-click marketing platform in the world. ion makes it easy for digital marketing professionals to test big ideas via landing page experiences, increasing their conversion rate. They not only offer an amazing platform, but they also offer amazing agency design services as well. As an ion power user of several years (I highly recommend checking them out), I was lucky enough to be invited to Search Insider Summit as ion interactive’s VIP guest. ion was gracious to sponsor me and pay for everything! And, they connected me with one of my most exciting public speaking opportunities ever (more on this later).

PPC Ian and David Rodnitzky

Ian Lopuch and David Rodnitzky (PPC Associates)

It all started last Sunday. I took an early 6:00am flight from here (San Francisco) to Houston, Texas. Then, I took another flight from Houston to Jacksonville, FL. Just 45 minutes away from Jacksonville is the beautiful oasis called Amelia Island. The day of travel was super long, but incredibly worth it! We stayed at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. This place was absolutely beautiful and spectacular (check out photos below and throughout this post). My room directly overlooked the pool and amazing Atlantic Ocean. I arrived late in the day so I decided to grab a burger and catch some sleep. While the day was crazy with travel, I felt some true hospitality from everyone around. Those living in Jacksonville and surrounding areas are a great group, truly kind people.

The next Morning (Monday), the conference started! Monday was a really super day. I got to sit back and listen to some truly inspiring keynotes, presentations, and panels. We’re talking about the best and brightest in our industry. I took diligent notes on ideas I want to test first hand. I had lunch with Scott Brinker, Co-Founder at CTO at ion interactive. What an awesome lunch!

Later that day, I had the pleasure of partaking in a Segway tour of the island. We covered some great mileage (the place is huge) and networked as a team. It’s during the Segway tour I met Prashant Puri (CEO & Co-Founder) and Johnny Shami (Head of Business Development) from AdLift, the Bay Area’s SEO Agency. I was really impressed with AdLift, and it’s especially funny that I traveled across the country to meet two amazing marketers who live right here next to me! Speaking of Bay Area / Silicon Valley agencies, I got to spend some great time at the conference with my good friend David Rodnitzky, CEO of PPC Associates. David is such a great guy and guru within our space, I had a blast connecting with him several times throughout the conference. What a great opportunity to spend time with friends, both new and old.

AdLift

Avish Dahiya (Baby Cache), Johnny Shami (AdLift), and Ian Lopuch

After the Segway tour, I enjoyed the cocktail hour and then the Yahoo! dinner. Dinner was a true blast. I got to sit with Leo Polanowski, VP of North America Account Management at Yahoo! Leo is my personal friend and a true leader in our industry. He has built one of the best account management organization around (special shout out to Justin Hill, the man). I enjoyed sitting at Leo’s table and chatting with my friend David Rodnitzky. I also enjoyed meeting George Michie, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at RKG. Earlier in the day, George was on the Segway tour with me. Fun times, thanks Leo and Yahoo! for the amazing dinner! The best part of the dinner: Leo introduced Yahoo! Stream Ads. I’m a huge fan of Yahoo!’s new ad formats. There’s huge upside here, talk to your account management team today.

After a huge and eventful day one, I was so amazingly pumped up. I got back to my room to find some amazing gift bags from Google and also adMarketplace. Search Insider Summit sponsors sure know how to make the digital marketer feel at home! I caught some sleep and then day two went very much like day one. However, instead of the Segway tour, I opted for spa services. What a great way to relax. Day two’s cocktail and dinner was sponsored by yieldbot. I got to catch up with my good friend David Rodnitzky (PPC Associates), the folks from adMarketplace, Dave Zinman (CEO at Infolinks), Laura Fell (Caterpillar), and others. Day two I went to bed a bit early because day three was my big day.

The next morning (Wednesday), I woke up super early to practice my presentation. A bit later that morning I had the privilege of presenting at Search Insider Summit on the topic of Big Testing and Better User Experiences Through Post-Click Marketing. I specifically focused on my partnership with ion interactive. The half hour presentation went fast and was densely packed with enthusiasm and tips. I heard from several folks in the audience that they enjoyed it quite a bit! Thank you to all who provided the positive feedback, it truly means a lot. My presentation marked good times and a true opportunity from a career and public speaking standpoint. Below, I have a bunch of photos from the conference with the first one from my presentation on day three (thanks David Rodnitzkey for taking the photo). Thanks, ion and MediaPost for the opportunity to present, it was an honor and I can’t wait for next time!

After my big presentation, I enjoyed some more great presentations and panels (diligently taking notes). Then, I’m sad to say, the three days of fun and excitement were over. Those thee days at Search Insider Summit went by way too fast. I learned so much, networked like never before, and had a super great time. On the way out, I shared the shuttle to the airport with my friends Bill (Scottrade) and Avish Dahiya, CTO at Baby Cache. Avish and my planes left around the same time, and Avish was kind enough to treat me to lunch at the airport. I was truly impressed with Avish’s role, Baby Cache, and their impressive business model. There is no conference I have ever attended in our industry that has this level of executive talent. What a wonderful experience. Thank you ion interactive (especially Scott Brinker, Jessica Collier, Mary D’Alatri-Ward, Stephanie Tunis) and MediaPost (especially Rob McEvily, Junmian Sun, and Jon Whitfield) for the best week ever! More pictures from the conference below…

Cool Pictures From Search Insider Summit

Presenting At MediaPost Search Insider Summit

Ian Lopuch (Me) Speaking At MediaPost Search Insider Summit

Search Insider Summit Segway Tour

Fun Times On Amelia Island Segway Tour

Amelia Island View

View From Hotel Room Omni Amelia Island

Amelia Island Ocean

View of Ocean Omni Amelia Island

Amelia Island Trees

View of Trees and Landscape Omni Amelia Island

Amelia Island Turtle

Turtle (Tortoise) Amelia Island

Image of ion platform © ion interactive
All other images in this post © PPCIan.com

Business Travel Tips For Busy Professionals

Apr. 28

Whether you’re an online marketing professional, or any other business professional for that matter, it’s likely you will need to travel for your career. You may need to travel to meet with clients. You may travel to attend conferences. You may travel to local offices around the world, if you work at a larger company. There are many different use cases when it comes to business travel and today I wanted to share a quick list of tips I have learned first hand.

  1. Make sure to get plenty of rest. As digital marketing professionals, we tend to work long hours and get little sleep. This can work when you’re working from your home base, but is not going to cut it when travel enters the picture. Get too little sleep and you may feel extra bad during your flights and meetings. You will not be on your “A” game without proper rest.
  2. Make sure to eat healthy and hydrate. This ties into the last tip. If you eat fast food at airports, you will not perform at your best. Combine bad food and lack of hydration with flying, and you may feel ill.
  3. Try to avoid small planes if you get motion sickness. When booking flights, you can see the plane’s layout. Make sure to pick planes that are larger. I recently took a United flight that was really small, two seats on one side and one on the other. If small planes are not your cup of tea, make sure to plan ahead.
  4. Try to accumulate points. Find the airlines you like the most, enroll in their frequent flyer programs. If you enroll in the United credit card, as one example, you always get to board in “group 2″. This is especially helpful if you are trying to avoid checking bags (next tip). Airlines want to reward you – make sure to take advantage of the rewards programs.
  5. Carry all of your luggage on the plane. Checking bags can be quit slow. If you are trying to make connections and are busy with business meetings, it’s essential to optimize your time. Make sure to avoid checking luggage and pack smart!
  6. Go all out on your home court. If there are events/meetings in your local area, take advantage of those opportunities.
  7. Keep careful track of all your receipts. There are so many miscellaneous expenses when you’re traveling. With good records, you will be able to file accurate expense reports after your trip.
  8. Divide and conquer! Digital marketing and business in general is a team sport. One person can’t do all the traveling. Divide and conquer by sharing the travel/conferences with your colleagues.
  9. Set an out of office assistant in Outlook, if you will not be responding to emails. Point people to someone on your team (or a colleague) who can cover for you. While you are traveling, business needs to continue as normal.
  10. Have fun and try to speak at events. Travel and conferences provide a great way to practice your speaking skills. Moreover, they offer an amazing networking opportunity.

Do you like business travel? What travel tips do you utilize? (Related post: You may want to check out my post from a few years ago about how PPC Jobs Are Great For Travel.)

Fun Times at ad:tech San Francisco 2013

Apr. 10

I’m a huge fan of SEM conferences, especially ad:tech. I attended ad:tech San Francisco 2013 earlier this week, on Tuesday, and wanted to share some thoughts and fun pictures from the event. After reading today’s post, you may also want to check out my recap of ad:tech 2012. To everyone I connected with at ad:tech, it was really great seeing you!

ad:tech Was Super Busy
PPC Ian and Acquisio At ad:tech

PPC Ian with Maria and Rylan From Acquisio

I really enjoy a busy conference. The energy is contagious and truly makes you feel part of something big. That’s exactly the feeling I got at ad:tech. Because ad:tech spans not only SEM but really anything related to digital marketing, the conference has a very large audience. This was incredibly apparent with the convention center, expo floor, and sessions being packed. Some of the sessions got so busy that they had to close the doors and enforce a cutoff. The lesson: If there’s a session/panel you must attend, get there early (or else you may be out of luck, even after paying for your all access pass).

I Had A Blast Networking
Ryan Bukevicz and PPC Ian

Ryan Bukevicz (President of Bevo Media) and PPC Ian

The main reason I attend conferences is the networking. In business and life, it’s not only about what you know but also who you know! ad:tech totally delivered on networking, and I especially enjoyed catching up with my good friends from Acquisio, performance media platform. Check out the picture above of yours truly with my friends Maria and Rylan from Acquisio.

I enjoyed chatting with them in addition to Robert Schneider, Managing Director of Western and Central Region. I was totally thrilled to learn about Acquisio’s new enhancements around bidding (they now update bids every 30 minutes). I’ve said it time and time again: Online advertising is just like Wall Street, except business is open 24/7/365. In such an environment, near real time bid updates are mandatory. Acquisio is leading our industry forward with the highest frequency bid management platform around, way to go Acquisio!

I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with Ryan Bukevicz (see picture above), President and Founder of The Bevo Media Exchange. The world of online marketing is truly exciting because it offers amazing opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs. Ryan is just that. He’s an expert affiliate marketer turned startup founder. His Bevo Media Exchange is quite impressive, allowing affiliates to manage and optimize their entire world in one central dashboard. I enjoyed learning about Bevo Media and highly recommend checking it out if you are an affiliate marketer or affiliate network.

It Was A Short Conference For Me

These days, I’m juggling a ton of priorities. As such, I was only at ad:tech for half a day. I’m truly thankful for the time I spent there and the amount of great interaction I packed into my half day. We’re in the middle of conference season for digital marketers and I look forward to covering more great online marketing conferences in the near future, stay tuned!

More Pictures From ad:tech San Francisco

ad:tech San Francisco 2013 Expo Floor

ad:tech 2013 Google Engage 2

ad:tech 2013 Google Engage

Images in this post © PPCIan.com