Attending Internet Summit for the First Time

Last updated: Our Favorites 5 min read
attending internet summit in raleigh

Internet Summit is one of the biggest digital marketing conferences in our state, taking place each year in Raleigh, North Carolina. The first Internet Summit was back in 2008, and ever since it started it’s been gaining more and more traction in the marketing world. This year, Internet Summit of 2019, was my first. This conference lasted for two days, beginning November 14th and ending the 15th. Though I wasn’t sure of what to expect, I was very excited to go. I first arrived to the convention bright and early at around 8 am. Inside they conveniently had coffee stations set up everywhere.

coffee stations at internet summit 2019

First Panel – The Psychology of a Website

The first panel I attended was at 9:15 , hosted by Matthew Capala. This panel was entitled “The Psychology of a Website: Optimize for Cognitive Biases, Conversion Triggers, and Google’s RankBrain.” As a newbie like myself, this panel jumped straight into the marketing world; and while there were certain words I didn’t understand, I made sure to jot them down so I could look them up later. Overall this panel was super helpful for those (like I) working on establishing a successful website. Capala was super informational by giving tons of tips and strategies useful for when trying to convert your audience.

  • Progress bars motivate people to finish what they started – it’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end
  • Fill in the blank forms for mobile
  • Remove risk objections (with free trials and money back guarantee)
  • Credit Card objection: better conversions if credit card is not required at conversion funnel
  • Close with reassurance copy: snippets of copy around your CTAs that make your customer feel more comfortable about their decision
  • Ownership, urgency triggers (help user to make a choice)
  • Positive and negative anchoring: pay attention to the order in which you show the content on your website
  • Use plain English, not jargon
  • Testimonials are important
  • Propose offers as something that a lot of people have chosen or are using (Social Proof, Community size)

Second Panel – Planning an Effective Instagram Video Strategy for 2020

The second panel was hosted by Morgan Goettge, entitled, “Planning an Effective Instagram Video Strategy for 2020” Being a member of gen Z myself, I naturally knew a lot more about this topic than the last. Honestly, this panel didn’t hit the mark for me. Goettge spent too much time on the logistics of how instagram is used and not enough time on how it can really help businesses to be seen as more personable. Goettge should’ve spent more time delving into how increasing company visibility by being active on instagram can cause customers to see corporate businesses as real people, and in return their more trustful and likely to buy. Some of Goettge’s facts were good, and could be helpful for those totally new to Instagram, but she should’ve explained the reasons why Instagram is so important when marketing to your future customers.

  • Video posts receive 2.1x more comments than image posts on average
  • Post often, use geotags and hashtags
  • Engage with polls
  • Instagram stories drive traffic to content
  • Instagram lives (followers get notified, placed at the top of follower’s feed)
  • Best practices: promote live videos in advance, prep content, engage with followers, save and repurpose)
  • Lunch and Learns on instagram, (increase visibility)
  • Webinars with value
  • Customer success stories, influencer/brand collabs, repurpose content

Third Panel – How not to overEAT

The third panel was by Jenny Halasz, on “How not to overEAT” (Expertise, Authority, Trust). In this panel, Halasz explains an interesting perspective. She explained how she thought of internet searches as crash diets, and how searches led to short term gains. Whereas businesses compared with the plate method, leading to long term gains. She goes into depth on this by explaining the importance of credibility, and how sites are seen better with links to certifications, testimonials, and ratings. Future customers are looking for a trustworthy business, it’s important to recognize this so they’re more likely to convert.

  • Authority is measured by links and mentions
  • Google will be following no-follow links and assigning value when they need to
  • Quality: Site architecture, redirects, few technical errors
  • Keeping a clean site architecture helps google to follow your site more effectively
  • Reputation: Reviews, ratings
  • BERT: Natural Language Processing (NLP) + Machine Learning = creating a better understanding of the web
  • 1 in 10 searches will use BERT, 1 in 7 searches have never been done before (how search works – youtube)
  • Optimize using natural language to talk about the topic to show up in BERT

Fourth Panel – Five Stories from the Web Marketing World

My favorite and last panel of the day, “Five Stories from the Web Marketing World” by Rand Fishkin. This panel was very interesting because Fishkin went into how social media sites tend to show the posts most likely to keep users on the site. He explains this by giving his own personal example of two tweets of his. One included a link to another site, this tweet had dramatically less visibility than his tweet from before, which was a simple tweet about going to a baseball game. Rishkin goes onto say that engagement, not amplification powers social reach today. Rishkin continued throughout the panel to explain how you can be more visible to your audience.

  • Posts without links perform better
  • Negativity engages better than positivity, controversial topics do well
  • Social reach isn’t about likes anymore, it’s about comments
  • Engage, addict, entertain

Fishkin then went into Google’s antitrust investigation, which will initially focus on the advertising market and whether Google broke the law in achieving dominance in the industry. He further explains how this will affect marketers, and the declination of click through rate. Fishkin goes on to say that the 2020 democratic primary/US general election will have a major impact on Google’s future.

  • Paid CTR has risen but will slowly decline until google’s next SERP change
  • Organic CTR is still high but zero click searches will be coming ahead
  • Death of Google search traffic. Total clicks lowering, total impressions rising. Traffic fell
  • Choose keywords that send traffic

Lastly, Fishkin spoke on the growing popularity of having influencers promote your brand. While influencer marketing is a popular trend right now, it’s not effective unless you’re doing it right. Most businesses look for the accounts on youtube/instagram with the most followers to promote their product, but it’s more effective to look at the content the influencer is making instead. For example, if there’s someone out there with a million followers posting food related videos, it’s probably not the best idea to ask them to advertise your mattress company.

  • Targeting the most followed/reachable accounts
  • Influence marketing should be done w/ whoever the audience engages, advertising done otherwise is a waste of money
  • Top advertise is likely paying the least, they’re basing which adds they show on engagement
  • Win at influence marketing in 2019, use profile data to discover where your audiences engage, earn brand exposure through organic social content

Final Thoughts on Internet Summit

Internet summit is a very valuable conference, I learned so much in such a short span of time. The speakers had so much knowledge to share on their topics and it was really exciting to listen and take notes. If you’re questioning on whether you’d like to attend to the next Internet Summit, I would strongly advise going.

(This article is on the second day of the conference).

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Richard Horvath

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Richard Horvath is the founder of TheeDigital, a Raleigh based award-winning web design and digital marketing agency. He is proud of his team and the results that they provide to their clients.

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