My last blog was written on an iPad hooked up to my friends mifi on a train whilst on my way to Internet World 2011 at Earls Court. The blog described the anticipation of Internet World, the keynotes I looked forward to and the types of agencies I would allow access to my barcoded badge so they could contact me afterwards.
So, did the show live up to my expectation? Or was it a squid that had only just ventured out of the water?
On entry to the show it struck me that some of the more lavish stands of recent years had been scaled down in an obvious cost cutting excersise. In fact, I would say the show as a whole had a feeling of being hit by cut backs. This wasn’t suprising and lets face it, measurement and ROI is bread and butter to these exhibitors so they will be ensuring they spend wisely on their set-up.
The blend of exhibitors is more important than how the stands look and I certainly thought the mix was good. There didn’t seem to be an overwhealming number of the same type of supplier and the organisers should be congratulated on the floor plan which grouped similar suppliers together. This meant if you wanted a particular service, such as e-mail marketing tools, then you could compare and contrast easily within just a few steps.
Compared to two/three years ago there was a noticable shift from the majority of stands providing services to help you gain more traffic to your site, to now providing servces and tools to improve content engagement ensuring visitors stay on your site. I think this mirrored the way the internet is now shaping. It’s an old saying, but “Content is King” and we’re seeing more and more that by having good quality unique engaging content on your website is the key to success. Link farms, sites with shallow content and providers of random syndicated content stuffed with affiliate links is exactly what we want to move away from. Google’s “Panda” update is certainly looking at these aspects to improve their ranking of sites.
One key aspect of the new Panda update is bounce rate so we need to engage visitors. Not easy for a site that simply wants you to click on an affiliate link.
I’m sure like many other visitors to the show, I was looking for inspiration and insight into the latest innovations the industry had to offer. While I wasn’t exactly blown away, I was happy to see some neat kit for 3d model imaging and a growth in mobile commerce agencies which again reflects the advancements in this area.
All in all, I was pleased with the suppliers exhibiting. I even offered up my badge several times for scanning.
Even though I have a premier club pass, the keynotes were as always difficult to get in to. The Linked In presentation from Laurence Bret-Stern was on the Tuesday so I unfortunately missed what I’m sure was a really interesting presentation.
Many of the Keynotes such as Yann Depoys from ebay, James Kent from Google and Amanda Rosenberg also from the search giant were primarily focused on advertising. How we can successfully market our websites, products and services online and in the mobile space is important. However, by now we all know how to set-up campaigns, track their success and measure their ROI. We know about the real-time tools that are available and the multi-varient testing that’s required. What we really want to know is about the most successful case studies that have that secret ingredient we’re missing. I’m not sure if I missed it, but I certainly didn’t see it revealed.
Yahoo’s Jon Myers looked at the future innovations of search. Although I’m sure there wasn’t a visitor in the keynote that didn’t think this was a bit strange as Yahoo’s future in terms of search can be summed up in one word, “Bing”. The social aspects pulled in to the presentation were expected and the indexing of quality content a given. The real “innovations” of search were more down to how we would be searching rather than the way in which we search or how search is presented. Mobile search is where the real “innovations” will happen.
I found several of the smaller keynotes were actually more interesting and less of a sales pitch for the platforms of the big boys.
The smaller keynotes concentrated on the quality content angle and how we can offer that more unique expereince that will encourage repeat vists. These keynotes were essential for any new internet start-up or newbie.
Overall Internet World 2011 provided access to some very impressive suppliers that showed how the industry is thriving with new developments that can help content providers make their online offering that bit more special.
When you see how fast this industry is moving compared to others, it’s no wonder online sales and useage is increasing so rapidly. From 2000-2011 the global use of the internet has grown by 444%. Internet World showed us why.