INBOUND 2016: Top 5 Things We Learned

Inbound 2016 Welcome Party

Last week the Easy Media team attended the INBOUND 2016 conference in Boston, put on by the good people at Hubspot. The annual conference brings together some of the top digital and content marketers in the world, and combines educational sessions with celebrity sptlight conversations and inspirational keynotes. We had a blast at INBOUND, and after 3 days of amazing sessions, here are the top five things we learned:

1. Facebook Ads are a marketer’s best friend

One of the dominant themes at INBOUND 2016 was that Facebook Ads are awesome, and your business should definitely be using them. From Gary Vaynerchuk’s opening keynote to sales funnel and content marketing experts across numerous sessions and spotlight talks – everyone agreed that Facebook Ads are the most powerful advertising tool in the industry.

Numerous conference sessions discussed advanced Facebook Ad tactics including Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences, and retargeting strategies, but the the main takeaway was that Facebook’s amazing ad targeting platform should be fully taken advantage of, even at the most basic levels.

But experts also emphasized jumping in now – as Vaynerchuk proclaimed in his opening keynote, “marketers ruin everything,” and it’s just a matter of time before competition and costs start rising dramatically.

2. Video is the next big thing in content

If there was one topic to rival INBOUND 2016’s crush on Facebook Ads, it was the continuing emergence of video. Several sessions were dedicated to video production tactics and how to integrate video with your content marketing strategy, and throughout the conference the impact of video in driving engagement was consistently emphasized.

Facebook guru Mari Smith presented her session, “How To Radically Improve Your Facebook Reach, ROI & Results,” and stated that Facebook Videos receive 1200% more shares than traditional text and image content COMBINED. She also illuminated that Video Ads receive an average CTR of 1.84%, the highest click-through rate of all digital ad formats.

3. Websites are all about conversion

While no one would question that a website is still a critical part of any businesses’ online presence and lead generation process, at INBOUND it became clear that websites should be about one thing and one thing only – conversion.

While it’s great to have a beautiful, responsive website that is SEO optimized, if you’re website isn’t converting visitors into leads or customers, its’ not working for you.

“Creating Ridiculously Good Looking Websites That Convert,” presented by Jessica Meher, focused on balancing modern website design strategies with user experience planning to ensure better conversion rates, and we counted at least four other available sessions focused on website conversion tactics.

4. Facebook Live Video has people really excited

As mentioned above in #2 – video was a huge focus at INBOUND 2016. But even more specifically, Facebook Live Video has people really excited. When you combine Facebook’s massive (especially mobile) audience, easy-to-use video functionality, and low production costs with the powerful engagement abilities of video content – you get a media delivery juggernaut.

Throw in Facebook’s strong support of it’s new feature and how it gives significant preference to Live videos in the newsfeed and in notifications, and it won’t be long before the social giant evolves into it’s own new-age broadcast network.

*Editors’ Note: During the conference Instagram announced that it will also be rolling out Live video capabilities – further entrenching the live video format as a prominent feature in the Facebook/Instagram ecosystem

Rand Fishkin, “The Wizard of Moz”

5. Good content is the future of SEO

For years, SEO has been a tactical endeavor with lots of focus on things like keywords, alt tags, and meta descriptions. But according Rand Fishkin, while all of those tactics continue to be important, content quality projects to be a driving influence of SEO success moving forward.

According to Fishkin, also known as the “Wizard of Moz” and considered an industry SEO guru, Google’s search algorithms are SO smart at this point that they’re starting to pay less attention to tactics and more attention to user behavior. In other words, the more people that visit your site and stay and consume the content (as opposed to bouncing back to the search results to find another option) the better your SEO results will be in the long run.