Recently, I went up to The Brewery in London for Hanapin Marketing’s vastly anticipated Hero Conf PPC event. It was a busy couple of days, filled with talks, networking and exhibitions.

(There was also a lot of very good food.)

After taking my notes back to the office and discussing what I had learnt with the rest of the Pratt Digital team, we decided it would be beneficial to create a blog post with our 5 most important takeaways from PPC Hero 2017, combined with our own thoughts on each topic. (Plus, thinking of blog content can be a challenge, so this was an opportunity which couldn’t be turned down.)

1. Voice Search Is Growing.

Firstly, Lars Neumann, (Director SEA at Webrepublic), covered the expanding topic of voice search. Comscore estimate that by 2020, more than half of all searches will be powered by voice. This really got us thinking about how we should approach this. With people’s lives becoming more fast-paced (or with all of us just becoming lazier), voice search is becoming an increasingly popular option. We are also seeing a growing availability of AI personal assistants to support this such as Alexa and Cortana. This shift in search means that we must also shift the way we optimise our ads and sites for this new format. Neumann suggests introducing features such as long-tail keywords and featured snippets.

voice search

2. Write More Extended Text Ads (ETAs).

Mark Irvine, (Senior Data Scientist at WordStream), mentioned that despite Google and Bing advertisers reporting that the introduction of ETAs boosted CTR by up to 15-20%, just under half of all advertisers are still only using one ETA ad per ad group1.

With statistics showing that ad groups with several ETAs have a 21% greater CTR,2 it’s a no brainer to write more ads!

We think that with a plethora of ads at your disposal, you are then in a great position to trial Google’s new ‘optimise: prefer best performing ads’ setting, and let automation save you a lot of time. This also provides you with the freedom to experiment and get creative with your ad copy, without having to worry about the consequences of trialling and testing ads yourself.

Combined with the introduction of voice search, this ETA topic is huge, so look out for a further blog post on this soon.

Hero Conf ETAs

3. Look After Your SME Accounts.

As we at Pratt Digital well know, SME accounts often require just as much set-up time and attention as the big accounts. There is less room for error with the small accounts, and its important that the campaigns are adding value to smaller businesses. Budgets are usually limited so you can’t just throw money at it, you have to get strategic. When Kirk Williams, (Owner of ZATO), gave a presentation on this subject, we were inspired to throw what we know into the mix.

Start with detailed research, covering areas from your audience to objectives. When deciding how to execute campaigns, consider budgets, scheduling etc. After the account goes live, pay close attention to how quickly budgets are spending. Look out for possible keyword/negative keyword adjustments, and what quality of traffic you are receiving. Finally, measure results to see if you’ve met your original objectives. Then plan out how you will continue to run the account.

4. Consider your Audience’s Attitudes to Advertising.

It’s all well and good having a well-structured marketing plan, but you have to understand how your audience will react to your campaigns. From pop-ups to light box ads, you end up walking a very thin line between brand exposure, and pushing potential customers away.

Rod Richmond, (Founder and Director at Clean Digital), mentioned in his talk that the US and UK both agree that banner advertising is distracting3. A 2016 study by HubSpot revealed that 91% of participants thought that ads are more intrusive today compared to 2-3 years ago, further supporting Richmond’s point.

The HubSpot study also stated that other annoyances included having to find a small ‘X’ in order to remove an ad, clicking on ads by mistake, and ads seeming generally disruptive and unprofessional4.

With this in mind, it’s important to consider how your ads will affect the user experience. Look especially at mobile devices where pop-ups become an even bigger disruption. Choose your display ads carefully when walking that thin line.

Hero Conf Audience

5. Don’t Just Convert A User, Engage Them.

Ayat Shukairy, (Cofounder at Invesp), included in her presentation the idea that users who are highly engaged with your ads are more likely to convert. This got us thinking about how imperative it is that you engage your user at every touchpoint; especially with the customer journey now spanning across digital channels.

Make sure that you have well targeted, relevant and, you guessed it, engaging content. Your message should be transparent; building honesty and trust between you and your audience is vital when it comes to re-engagement.

With secure engagement, conversions will follow. Remember, the engagement doesn’t stop once the conversion is complete; re-engage with past customers using techniques such as remarketing or email drip campaigns.

A Takeaway For You…

If there’s anything Lester loves more than a meme, its a good old infographic so we’ve taken the liberty of condensing our 5 takeaways into a takeaway for you which you can download here!

Want to read more? Check out our blog post on how to use Google Analytics to improve Facebook targeting.


  1. Data is based on a sample of 8,125 Wordstream clients, 2016 – 2017″. (
  2. “Sample of 11,014 accounts with active search (non-DSA, shopping) campaigns in July 2017”. (