Ecommerce Expo London recap: AI, machine learning…

Just after dmexco, another huge event was around the corner, this time in the UK: Ecommerce Expo, Technology for Marketing and Adtech (yes, that’s three events) all took place at Olympia London last week from September 26-27.

We didn’t want to miss this unique chance to connect with British ecommerce players and service providers alike, so a team of four flew to London to attend ECE. The first day especially was buzzing –  our booth, which was situated next to a theatre received quite a bit of foot traffic. Overall, the mood in our corner was pretty great, with some friendly stand neighbors and lots of great opportunities to chat about PPC and all things Google Ads.

Our stand at ECE
Our stand at ECE
Inside Ecommerce Expo
Inside Ecommerce Expo

AI and machine learning – what else?

Because we had applied for visitors badges beforehand, all of us could also get into theatres for talks. I found the talks on the AdTech stages to be the most interesting. In line with what we have seen at various events around the globe this year so far, especially at Google events, machine learning and AI were buzzwords we heard repeatedly during those two days.

How AI can make search marketing 4x more effective

Chris Pitt from Vertical Leap opened his talk by stating two common misconceptions about AI: One, it will take people’s jobs and two, it will automatically make marketing amazing. Of course, neither is true, but AI can and will make your (search) marketing measures more effective if you use it right. One thing Chris went into detail about was bid management – how, when you run hundreds of thousands of campaigns, a small amount in a bid can make a huge difference and that manual bidding is often too inexact. This is a point we can readily agree with, seeing as our Google Shopping tool Whoop! Is based on a machine learning algorithm. So we, too, believe in the power of AI & machine learning applied to search marketing.

The secrets of Local Search

This talk was an interview with Thom Poole from Google in which he presented some interesting numbers & facts about Local Search. Local Search is already pretty huge: Thom suggests that currently, 20% of all searches have a local focus. Itconverts better too – with a conversion rate of 18% vs. 8-9% in “normal” search. Another interesting fact he pointed out was that local search needs local jargon. This seems obvious but in English as well as in German (and I’m sure in most other languages) there are vast regional differences in jargon/dialect – travel 100km, you might call something by a completely different name and miss your target group’s search intent entirely if you don’t keep up.

Predictive analytics, voice search and more

Some other notes:

  • People are still annoyed by remarketing but surprisingly few are aware of the control they do have (think: personalization settings in Google). By Tracy Hubbard
  • Matthew Kelleher prepared a handy slide about the difference between analytics, machine learning and AI for his talk about predictive analytics.
  • People still use AdWords (vs. just… “Ads”) a lot
  • GDPR and everything that comes with it still manages to confuse a lot of people (which doesn’t come as much of a surprise).

Beyond click metrics: Google Shopping data integrations

Our Head of Marketing Mike Ryan took the Marketing Automation stage with his talk “Beyond click metrics: Stronger operational outcomes via Google Shopping data integrations” on day 2. He showed the audience how retailers can integrate operational business data into their Google Shopping strategy, using our client Robert Dyas as a best practice example. There’s a separate blog post about his talk, also stay tuned for the video!


Ecommerce Expo – always worth a visit

If you’re doing or plan on doing business in the UK ecommerce sector you can’t miss Ecommerce Expo. Loads of inspiring conversations and if you took the time to listen to some talks, interesting takeaways. That’s if you actually got to sit down – even if you got to a theatre way on time, chances were you still could not get a seat, which was sometimes a little frustrating. But we’ll be back – this wasn’t our first time there and it definitely won’t be our last.

Also, thank you London for giving us some amazing weather the entire three days we were there – sunlight makes the place even more special.

Part of our team
Part of our team