I don’t know about you, but I’m still in recovery mode from Hero Conf 2013.  It’s taken me roughly a week to collect my thoughts, but I’m finally ready to share some of the highlights I experienced on the front lines down in Austin, Texas this year.  Blame it on the need to catch up on all of my accounts, blame it on the twenty hours of travel last Wednesday, or just blame me for being a pansy.  Regardless, I’ve combed through all of my notes to share some personal highlights that I experienced last week:

– Kevin Lee’s Argument for Enhanced Campaigns

Enhanced Campaigns was a pretty big punching bag throughout the conference, and rightly so in a lot of ways.  But Kevin Lee did make a compelling point about Enhanced Campaigns:  Mobile traffic is growing at a rate no one expected.  If Google didn’t force people to do mobile, then they wouldn’t.  Now, the implementation may leave something to be desired, but it was an interesting take on this controversial topic.

– Chris Haleua’s 3×3 Strategy for Account Analysis

He even provided a handy Rubik’s Cube to us all as a visual model for this elegantly refined method of account analysis.  We’ve seen a spreadsheet or two of this strategy in action since the conference, and we came away very impressed.  He was also a member of the All-Star Q&A panel to close out the conference, sharing similar insights gained from his years in PPC.

– I’m way worse at Street Fighter II than I remember.

Thanks to a night of free-play arcade games at the Kung-Fu Saloon, my self-confidence in my Street Fighter skills has been shattered.  I am, however, way better at Skeeball than I remember.

– Mike Olson, Justin Vanning, and Joe Kerschbaum on the Well-Lit Landing Page

This panel introduced me to the terms “Holistic CRO” and the idea of treating the conversion process as a conversation with your site visitor.  Joe was on point with a case study showing how to use the Analytics visitor flow charts as a means to troubleshoot your conversion process.

– John Gagnon’s Dreamy Ey…  Heat Map.  Heat Map!

I’m an outspoken fan of heat maps, based on years of experience with them in other industries.  So to see a heat map of ad copy performance broken down by ad techniques and combinations?  Well, I do believe it gave me the vapors.  The examination of Head, Torso, and Tail performance regarding average position on the SERP was just icing on the cake.

– Brian Massey’s Lab Coat (and Conversion Science)

It really was quite stylish.  Not to mention the stellar breakdown of essential landing page elements and overall philosophy.  He was also kind enough to hand out some copies of his book.

– Bryan Eisenberg and Big Data

A popular buzzword these days, but also an important topic to begin discussing as it relates to PPC.  He presented a compelling case for moving beyond just managing PPC, instead learning how to be the person who manages the platforms that manage the PPC.

– Sean Quadlin’s Incredibly Animated Speaking Voice

Think Charlie Day mixed with Stewie Griffin.  He’s also a fan of dropping Mr. Show references in to his slide deck.  Bravo, Mr. Quadlin.  Bravo.

– A Q&A With Brad Geddes

While unable to attend in person, Hero Conf still featured a live-via-satellite conversation with Brad Geddes.  He took live questions from both the audience and Twitter, debated the future of PPC with Bryan Eisenberg, and added his own opinions about Enhanced Campaigns in to the conversation.

– Jeff Allen’s New Ad Testing Metric:  Impressions Until Conversion

Jeff presented a new way of approaching the dreaded ad review by pointing out that the Impression is our most limited resource.  In doing so, he also gave me an idea for my new Presentation Testing Metric:  Slides Until Megatron.

Reminder, Michael Bay:  The real Megatron turns in to a gun.  Not a tank.
Reminder, Michael Bay: The real Megatron turns in to a gun. Not a tank.

At this conference, Jeffrey’s SUM was a solid 2 slides.

– Merry Morud and the Subtle Art of Targeting Cocaine Users on Facebook

Turns out, they just “Like” cocaine.  Who knew?  But she also shared a lot of great tips on how to work around the limitations of the Facebook advertising interface, as well as her insights on unorthodox targeting methods you can use to find success on the social media giant.

– Matt Van Wagner’s Intense Love of Enhanced Campaigns

That might be a slight exaggeration.  But go ahead and ask him about it…  if you dare.

– Fred Vallaeys Dropping AdWords Scripts Bombs 

It seems like it’s been forever since people began talking about AdWords Scripts, but Fred took his session to another level by providing unheard-of capabilities within the scripts interface.  Scripts that perform automated bidding based on CPA?  #Boom.

These are just a few of the highlights I’ve been able to put together from 20+ pages of notes.  That’s not even mentioning the Dirty Mint Chip Ice Cream, comedy night, and other social events that brought the conference to a close.  Regardless, stay tuned throughout the rest of the month – we’ve all been hard at work implementing these tips in our own accounts, and we look forward to sharing our findings.

What about you, PPC Heroes?  Find any tips we missed?  Anything you wish you could have seen, or things you want to see next year?  Let us know in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading!