Attended by business and marketing professionals alike, this year’s MN Search Summit continued to expand the digital conversation beyond its search roots to mobile conversions, automated app development and marketing attribution. Sure, there were plenty of discussions about Google Tag Manager at the St. Paul RiverCentre event last month, though speakers and attendees alike seemed energized by the currents driving change in marketing technologies.

Among the more-often discussed topics, the growing presence of artificial and automated intelligence found its way into content tracks. Whether or not you’re a fan of “robots,” technologies like machine learning, marketing automation and chatbots are rewriting the role of marketers in moving the sales funnel.

During the mid-day keynote, speakers Marty Weintraub (AimClear) and Michelle Robbins (Third Door Media) cautiously articulated the benefits of AI platforms, mostly focusing on how it translates to more efficient work. New technologies ranked among the proof points they offered: Albert supposedly saves you the work involved in manual tasks like optimizing headlines, while Persado claims to build and optimize emails, Facebook posts and more based on messaging you feed into the platform.

Some marketers may be reticent to hand over creative control to an algorithm, but they can toe the water by using simpler platforms like Google’s Dynamic Search Ads. Rather than hunting for the perfect keywords, Google dynamically generates an appropriate ad headline based on a user’s search query and the content of your landing page.


Some key takeaways:

The Intersection of Search and Facebook is Higher Conversions.

Jason Dailey, agency partner manager at Facebook, posited that aligning creative, messaging and cadence can contribute to a 6% lift in conversion and a 37% increase in Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). With users checking in more frequently (up to 14 times a day) and for shorter periods of time, marketing orgs have to be in synch across digital channels in order to get their message clearly communicated.


Persistent Experiments Can Anchor a Relevant Content Strategy.

For presenter Ross Simonds, cracking into web relevance came through rigorous content experimentation on platforms that served a valuable purpose for users. Simonds employed this approach to break into Reddit by engineering articles to help entrepreneurs grow their Instagram following, and carving out a niche to as a marketing content expert simply by responding quickly and thoughtfully to pop culture questions on Quora. The secret is coming up with an idea quickly and being willing to kill it quickly as well, if it doesn’t gain traction.


Marketing Automation is Becoming More Fragmented.

While many marketers have a desire for an all-in-one marketing automation suite, a similar number readily embrace single-point solutions if it means an improvement in conversions (e.g., better email opens). While he didn’t miss the opportunity to point out the multi-platform automation functionality of his company’s Drip product, LeadPages founder Clay Collins stressed the need to prioritize customer timelines as opposed to the sometimes disparate activities captured in a CRM database. The downside is that the next couple of years will probably be more confusing while the market figures how to connect buyer timelines (which often run out of order).