When I organized the first ADworld Experience back in 2012, there was only one big giant in the PPC world: Google AdWords.
The event was even mimicking their logo (to be perfectly clear to potential participants) and it was a clever way to better my own AdWords campaigns optimization capabilities by knowing what best practices were used by my smartest competitors.
Facebook was still desperately trying to find a way to increase revenue with improbable un-targetizable ads.
At that time I did not even think to myself if Facebook ads case histories should have space in the event.AdWords in Europe had no real competitors.
That was a fact.
Only 3 years later, in 2015, the situation was radically changed.
I had to really start asking myself if other PPC platforms should have been covered.
The progressive shifting from an AdWords dominated, PPC scenario to a more open online advertising market was a reality.
Facebook was gaining positions with more and more effective targeting options, together with several other native advertising platforms.
Real Time Bidding was a consolidated reality in all the most advanced online markets in the world (covering at that time almost a 30% of US online advertising market).
Amazon set their own “AdWords style” ads in favor of Sponsored Products.
LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter opened their own advertising programs to the world.
Bing was still there and gaining visibility, thanks to the successful launch of Windows 10.
The PPC landscape in the world was radically changed. Probably forever.
A lot of things happened in only 3 years and I had to acknowledge it.
Even the payoff of the conference changed from the original “Success cases by the best AdWords advertisers” to “Success cases by the best online advertisers” and, in 2017, we changed it again to “Online advertising success stories”.
AdWords real case histories were still one of the main focuses of the event, but Facebook, other PPC platforms and especially CRO gained their well-deserved space in the program.
I just had the privilege to hear Larry Kim (founder of Wordstream and one of the most renowned PPC professionals in the world) state at SMX Munich that “Conversion Rate Optimization stuff craps”.
In his opinion, the real important things in today’s online market are a strong & renowned brand along with a credible and well-presented offer.
I completely agree with him on brand and offer importance, but I think that CRO is definitely the new guy in the block of PPC.
And it came to stay (otherwise why he would have felt the necessity to deny it).
I normally use a “6 month rule” to evaluate new trends in web marketing.
If a new thing comes up and still stays after 6 months, then I start to consider it seriously.
CRO popped out to my attention somewhere in 2015.
CRO is a consolidated reality with companies specifically heading to it in their payoffs, dedicated events made all over the world and CRO professionals coming out daily in all advanced markets.
If you think about it, this is a normal evolution in a multi-platform PPC world, because it may affect revenues of all your advertising channels at once.
We have seen it happen several times in our industry: adapt (enhance your knowledge about it) or die!
If you are doing SEO or PPC today without knowing at least the basics of Usability and CRO, you are going to have serious troubles in accomplishing your goals in the next coming years.
You can bet on it.
That is why I have added an entire day of advanced seminars about CRO and several conversion rate optimization case studies to the program for the next event, held by 5 top professionals like John Ekman (founder of one of the first European CRO companies and of Conversion Jam, the largest CRO event in the world), Karl Gilis & Els Aerts (AGConsult), Dave Walker (Segmatic) and Rossella Cenini (the Italian “queen of CRO”).
And that is why I am still really surprised when I hear PPC professionals consider Conversion Rate Optimization as a separate and optional field of specialization, not strictly necessary to run successful campaigns (even if I can perfectly understand their restraint to specialize in a sector that requires a full set of new skills).
I would really love to have feedback about this dichotomy.
What do you think about it?
CRO & PPC should continue to go as separate worlds or should be considered parts of the same job?