5 key takeaways from Hero Conf 2022

By Harriet Barter

Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get the chance to not only attend, but also share the Hero Conf stage with some of the brightest minds in digital marketing.

Hero Conf is easily one of the very best events in the calendar for PPC pros. With upwards of 40 sessions taking place over the two days, there’s a lot to cram in – here are my favourite takeaways from the conference.

1. Exclusions are more important than your inclusions

Sam Tomlinson of Warschawski gave a very insightful talk on ‘The Art & Science of PPC Account Structures’. With the increase in automation across all platforms, the control we as marketeers have over our campaigns is ever-dwindling.

As a result, we must ensure the machines know our key objectives and don’t exhaust our budgets elsewhere – and exclusions play a massive role here. This is widely applicable to search campaigns, although there is a Performance-Max-shaped spanner in the works here, where tools such as negative keywords are not an option.

That said, even in PMax there is some room for you to be using exclusion lists (e.g. ‘see URL expansion’), so ensure this isn’t being overlooked.

2. Maximum sustainable vs. minimum viable

Continuing on Sam’s talk, we all know that gone are the days of SKAGs (single keyword ad groups) and we’re well into the STAG (single topic ad groups) era.

In relation to campaign structure, our mindset has had to shift from the minimum viable approach where we’re hyper-segmenting everything for hyper-control and hyper-relevancy, to a maximum sustainable structure – a machine learning friendly approach that remains suitably refined and maintains relevance.

3. Behavioural science: definitely not BS

Everything Becky Simms from Reflect Digital talked about was gold, but the main thing that stood out for me was the Monkey-Lion-Dog motivations model she and her team have built.

Her session was all about behavioural science within marketing, and how we can take a more human approach to running our campaigns. We can use the Monkey-Lion-Dog motivations to influence our ad copy, by layering on a variance of human motivators, thus resonating with the people in our audience, as opposed to the data points we often view them as.

You can check out the motivations model here, and see which stream you’re most aligned with.

4. Performance Max: Your feed is your friend

Love it or hate it, Performance Max is here to stay. Elizabeth Clark of Dream Agility ran a session on how you can achieve incremental gains within your Google Shopping, which centred primarily around how to manage and enhance your feed.

With the loss of control we are experiencing through PMax, Elizabeth highlighted how your feed is one of the few levers you can pull to impact performance, as Google is entirely reliant on the information in your feed to show your products. Your feed is your friend, and you should be reviewing and refining it on a very regular basis.

5. Live life for the anecdote

Hero Conf always attracts brilliant keynote speakers, and Kirsty Hulse is definitely one of them. She opened HeroConf with the most inspiring talk about how to build confidence, take risks and get more done – something we definitely need in our industry!

She talked about redefining what it means to be confident and how we need to move away from confidence being a binary concept – confidence and anxiety actually go hand in hand. Kirsty shared a nugget of wisdom from her mum, which stuck with me most. “Live life for the anecdote” is something I’ll carry forward both in the workplace and outside – and having spoken to other attendees, it wasn’t just me that this phrase resonated with.

BONUS: Get to grips with value-based bidding!

I did a talk on ‘How to supercharge your lead gen with value-based bidding’! This technique was central to how we achieved award-winning results for our client IMSM.

Want to find out how you can get up and running with value-based bidding? Simply enter your details in the form below and to get access to the slides from my presentation right away.

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