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4 key thoughts from PPCEE

10 minutes of reading time
Ján Laurenčík
Senior konzultant
243 people who think about online advertising on a daily basis came to Bratislava on 28.10.2019 for PPCEE conference. Read the 4 most interesting 💡thoughts.

243 people from 12 countries, mostly from agencies

The abbreviation PPCEE (read ˌpipiˈsi) is a combination of PPC (pay per click) and CEE (Central & Eastern Europe). Although it would not pass a “radio test”, we had the ambition to organise the wildest international meeting of people from online advertising world in the Central & Eastern Europe region. Conference speakers and topics attracted 243 participants to Bratislava, every third from abroad.

Countries of origin of PPCEE attendees
Countries of origin of PPCEE attendees

In addition to the countries shown in the chart, some participants came also from Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, and even Norway, South Africa and the USA.

The audience consisted not only of PPC specialists, but also of PPC and performance team leaders, marketers and company executives. The majority (59 %) of attendees work at marketing agencies.

Types of attendees on PPCEE
Types of attendees at PPCEE


What was this conference good for?

We know how hard it is to follow new trends in the rapidly evolving field of online advertising while working for our clients. We see significant differences in know how and experience between individual markets (for example Czech Republic vs. Slovakia). It depends not only on market size, but is also affected by how active the local PPC community is.

As members of CEE Digital Alliance (former Blue Alliance) we do not respect the countries borders when networking or sharing know how. As a digital marketing agency striving to lead the market, we feel responsible for helping to build know how in the market.

The host of the conference was the famous Slovak stand up comedian Ján Gordulič (left)
The host of the conference was the famous Slovak stand up comedian Ján Gordulič (left)

Four key thoughts from the presentations

1. PPC without strategy? Rather not!

Ondřej Sláma, who leads research and development at the Czech agency Adexpres, spoke about the irreplaceability of the strategy in any digital campaign. In a case study of a crowdfunding campaign he showed the huge added value of a marketer who is not stuck in the world of tactics, but devotes time to strategy. He described the whole course of this campaign, from setting up communication lines, through projection of results, creatives design, project management to campaign evaluation. He didn’t forget to also mention mistakes. While it is convenient to follow your experience and past results in an advertising campaign, you will hardly succeed without a strategy.

In the future, online marketers and PPC specialists will get more and more frequently involved in the process of formulating marketing strategy behind a table with “classic” marketing. The ability to control any advertising system will considered a commodity similarly to the ability to effectively post on advertising spaces such as billboards or citylights.

Sample strategy by Ondřej Sláma
Sample strategy by Ondřej Sláma

2. With all the automation in the game it is crucial, what the robots munch

Dalibor Klíč is responsible for big ecommerce players in the Google portfolio. As he stated, 75 % of all conversions (orders) in biggest online stores come from feed-based campaigns (and most of them from Google Shopping). Feed is a structured list of products and categories with parameters such as name, price, stock availability, etc.

The importance of feed based campaigns for online stores
The importance of feed-based campaigns for online stores

Konstantin Kasapis from the leading Austrian agency Slopelift supported this claim with a case study from work for the Hervis sport chain and with similar work for dm drogerie markt in the past. Just by tweaking feeds they delivered an increase in sales of tens of percent.

Product name variant in product feed
Product name variant in product feed

Google Shopping was launched in several CEE countries in 2019. Both presentations show that feed quality and feed management (such as AB tests of product names) are now decisive factors with serious impact on the chances of your ecommerce campaigns to win against the competitors. Therefore, we consider this knowledge to be crucial for small and medium-sized e-commerce sites (e-shops, travel agency sites etc.) but increasingly for any other advertiser. If you don’t have the skills to work with feeds and the capacity to create and edit them, you should start working on them.

Ateliér Babylon has been filled by 243 attendees from CEE region. Online advertising is the daily bread for all of them.
Ateliér Babylon was filled with 243 attendees from the CEE region. Online advertising is the daily bread for all of them.

Besides the data feed, what can we do to help the campaigns with automatic bidding to be more effective? For example, by designing the target audiences and campaign targeting. Automated systems would most likely find out the best available targeting on their own in a finite time. But you would be a fool and loose lots of money, if you wouldn’t help the systems with the assets you already have.

Daniel Kafka and Peter Pleško from the Czech agency Fragile showed the audience, that remarketing targeted to all visitors would be definitely less effective, than remarketing targeted to visitors with some interesting micro conversions (page scrolling, above average session duration, interaction with elements as slider, deeper purchase process visits).

Examples of events, which can be used for remarketing targeting
Examples of events, which can be used for remarketing targeting

Lászlo Szabó from the leading Hungarian agency Growww digital presented data from 900+ advertising account audits showing that the use of automation can increase campaign effectiveness by up to 40 % without increasing budget. For example, if you use expanded text ads (ETA) or responsive search ads (RSA) in Google Ads (where the final ad is automatically generated from the text you provide to increase your clickthrough rate), your clickthrough rate may double (followed by an increase in the number of visitors).

ETA and RSA may have more than 2 times bigger CTR than classic text ads
ETA and RSA may have more than two times bigger CTR than classic text ads

Regine Hemre from the Norwegian agency Synlighet showed how granular the audiences for display and remarketing campaigns should be. Collected audiences of target group members can be used already during upcoming Black Friday. You can also easily target the clients of your competitors.

Audiences built from your competitor's clients
Audiences built from your competitor’s clients

Mojmír Mesároš nailed it down. He showed us how to push the target audience in Facebook through a so-called ad funnel to bring conversions at the end of the funnel. He shows a different creative to different parts of the funnel (from cold to hot) and uses different types of ads. The charm of such precisely set ad funnels is that in the end you will only need to think about where to find other people you “throw” into the funnel from above.

Ad funnel for Facebook campaign
Ad funnel for Facebook campaign

Let’s stay with robots and automation for a moment longer. When we allow them to optimize the campaigns, it can easily happen that although they are effective, the client is not satisfied. “Robot” led campaigns sell what is easy to sell, but not what remains on the client’s stock. Adam Šilhan from igloonet knows that it is useful to check on the automation from time to time. His script makes it easy to see if campaigns are selling what the client wants to sell.

It does matter what campaigns are helping to sell
It does matter what campaigns are helping to sell

Tomáš Komárek‘s presenation was on a similar note. He prepared guidelines to avoid mistakes in evaluating the performance of individual text ad templates. At the first glance, data can be misleading and deceptive without detailed segmentation and also affected by the position or placement (Google Search, Search Partners …) of your ad. The best ads in your Google Ads account could receive more of less relevant impressions and may seem worse than the rest. Before you stop them, it pays to look at them through different segments (position, placement…).

Better performing ad gets more of less relevant impressions and may seem less effective at the first glance
Better performing ad gets more of less relevant impressions and may seem less effective at the first glance

3. Profit, profit, profit

Largest Slovak airline tickets seller Pelikan played along with many of the larger themes. Gergő Demjén confirmed that feed-based campaigns are massively used there.

“Over the last year, we’ve completely rebuilt the Google Ads accounts in Pelikán. From 300 campaigns we are now at 15. Automation, creating high quality feeds and landing pages have been crucial. In addition, we have an internal Business Intelligence team to overseer and be data-driven when evaluating the campaigns. We consistently count Markov’s cross-channel attribution model even to the single keyword level to determine the attribution of any marketing channel and campaign. Instead of PNO, ROAS, or CPA we focus on profit. The result is more than 50 % YoY growth of profit from Google Ads campaigns,” Performance Manager Gergő Demjén revealed.

Pelikán's approach in online advertising looks perfect
Pelikán’s approach in online advertising looks perfect

The trend is clear. From vanity metrics in performance marketing such as conversions or cost per acquisition (CPA), we are increasingly getting to what clients are most interested in. Profit. As accurate as possible. Analysts and online marketing specialists take the effort of subtracting canceled orders from analytics and are more often sending the exact margin for each product rather than an imprecise average or estimate. Not only in ecommerce. Obsession with accuracy can also be seen in B2B. Check out the best-rated lecture from the recent PPC camp in the neighboring Czech Republic by Jakuba Kašparů.

Marketing agencies (especially performance marketing agencies) are evaluating profit not only on client side, but also on agency side. Róbert Lelkes from Slovak agency Rieš introduced dashboards for monitoring profit in an agency using Google Data Studio. The more clients an agency has, the more important such reporting becomes. Bulgarian Gennadiy Vorobyov from Netpeak agency showed how to deal with management of 500+ clients’ campaigns. It will not work without detailed reporting segmented by clients and by employees. Needless to say, the agency’s profit (and therefore the long-term win-win relationship) is also beneficial for the client.

Profit is not only the topic for clients, but also for agencies
Profit is not only the topic for clients, but also for agencies

You can increase profit also by reducing waste. Andrej Salner from Basta digital introduced a script, which automatically turns off your brand campaigns in Google Search, when nobody else appear on your brand keywords. Did someone tell you that brand advertising is extremely effective in Google Search? Yes, but if you do not face your competitors, by eliminating it you will save some (hundreds / thousands according to brand awareness) money. Thanks to the script by Basta digital, the ads will be automatically turned on if a competitor has infiltrated into your “space”.

Script that saves money by turning on and off your brand campaigns in Google Search
Script that saves money by turning on and off your brand campaigns in Google Search

4. Where to grow and how to scale?

If you feel that you have already exhausted the local market, many turn to the idea of expanding abroad. Is it really hard to imagine?

Inspiring techniques used by 21 online stores under the Berlin Brands Group were presented by Head of Performance Marketing Matej Tomašovský. The purely Slovak team manages performance campaigns in eight markets thanks to various improvements, such as unified category IDs across all language versions.

Showcase of multi language campaign structure
Showcase of multi language campaign structure

Alina Tutulan from Slovak ui42 digital emphasized the need for genuine local market knowledge in the expansion, which you cannot easily provide centralized. In her native Romania, shopping behavior after Christmas is diametrically different from Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Shopping doesn’t decline despite the days off. In Romania, the same is true for brick and mortar stores, which are open even during public holidays. Do you know the specifics of the markets where you are going to expand?

Shopping behavior is not the same on all markets, even in CEE
Shopping behavior is not the same in all markets, even in the CEE


“The most positive thing about PPCEE is that the knowledge and experience gained at the conference has spread throughout the region. Bratislava as a conference venue is well accessible from all CEE markets. That is why we are looking forward to autumn  2020, when Bratislava will become the capital of online advertising in CEE,” said Jan Laurenčík, Managing Director of Basta digital, organizer of the conference.

Other reviews

Some other reviews of PPCEE and also the official photos can be found on the website.

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