As we’re currently on the eve of our super early bird Hero Conf price expiring this Friday (Jan 11th 2013) – I thought I’d put down my thoughts on last year and why you have to attend this year’s event! For those of you who have missed it, Hero Conf 2013 will be taking place in Austin, TX on April 8-10. It’s a 3 day event this year, up from 2 last year, and will include two full days of PPC-only sessions! There will also be a workshop for people interested in getting a chance to troubleshoot your PPC account with an industry leading expert. I hope you’ll check it out over at and I look forward to seeing you there!


When I joined Hanapin in April the very first thing I got to do as part of my new team was attend Hero Conf 2012 in Indianapolis. As an outsider to the event, in the sense that I didn’t see any of the planning or behind the scenes efforts, I feel like I’m probably the most qualified of the team here to give an unbiased opinion.

Arriving, I didn’t really know what to expect – particularly as this was the first time the conference had ever taken place. However, I was blown away by just how awesome of a conference the company had managed to put together. With a few years of experience in the UK before moving over to the US, I had the opportunity to attend a number of conferences, some good, and some less good. My typical frustrations normally boiled down to the same things:

  1. Very few PPC specific sessions
  2. Even fewer expert level PPC sessions
  3. Huge sessions with tons of people

I generally came away from conferences feeling a little smarter about SEO, Facebook, Twitter and mobile websites, but not so much with PPC. I always felt like PPC got somewhat of a bum deal at most events, relegated to playing second fiddle to almighty SEO. So with that in mind, I jumped at the chance to attend Hero Conf last year (it was few days before my planned start date, but it looked too good to miss out on). At a quick glance here is a list of advanced PPC-specific topics that Hero Conf had last year:

  • Mobile PPC
  • Retargeting
  • Account Structure
  • Quality Score
  • Analytics
  • How to write better ad copy
  • PPC on small budgets
  • PPC on big budgets
  • Conversion Rate Optimization

There were a few more too, but you get the gist – highly relevant and specific PPC sessions. I can’t remember a conference I’ve been to before where I had to think heavily about which PPC session I was going to watch for a certain time slot  At Hero Conf it happened four times in a day!

One more thing to consider is that compared with other big name digital marketing conferences, Hero Conf is about 10-20% cheaper. If you’re a PPC specialist that means you’ll get more than double the number of relevant sessions at less than you would normally pay. Sounds like a good deal to me!

The quality of presenters at last year’s event was insanely good. Getting to meet and listen to a ton of thought leaders in our industry was pretty exciting for me. Just casually eavesdropping into a conversation about quality score with Brad Geddes was a personal highlight. Aside from that I enjoyed getting to see a ton of the people I had stalked on #ppcchat on twitter such as Matt Umbro, Mel Mackey, and Elizabeth Marsten.

The cream of the PPC crop gathering in Indianapolis last year

I also want to mention a couple of my personal favourite presentations: Merry Morud gave an awesome run down of just about everything you could possibly ever need to know about PPC on Facebook, and Joanna Lord took a sideways look at CRO and really made me think beyond the typical list of standard best practices. They both had incredibly detailed and well researched presentations.

We’ve put together a few of the transcripts from last year on this site so you can get a feel for the depth and quality of the presentations:

If any of you want free access to our full list of transcripts (why wouldn’t you?) from last year’s event, all you need to do is sign up to our alerts on

The sessions had a really personal feel

The list of speakers this year is even better than last year in my opinion, myself excluded. I already have a number of sessions pencilled in that I’m extremely excited to attend, most notably a keynote from Bryan Eisenberg. There are a number of returning speakers as well as a few new people. We’re pretty excited to have speakers from Google and Bing – I want to see if we can get some answers to all those little daily annoyances! For those of you desperate to come and heckle the PPC Hero team, you will get your chance to, as we will have 5 people speaking this year. Check out the list of speakers here!

I don’t know about you, but I can find some of the other big conferences a little overwhelming at times with the vast hordes of people that show up. By comparison Hero Conf felt like a friendly get together. The ratio of attendees to speakers was something like 3:1, which meant that you had a good chance of chatting to an industry expert at any given part of the day. Hero Conf will be a little bigger this year, but the ratio should be about the same – we’re aiming for 4:1.

The atmosphere throughout the day was a nice change of pace from the usual. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and friendly and there was a sense that we were all there to share our knowledge with each other. The pre-conference drinks were a nice chance to get to know people and as someone who is partial to good food, I can also confirm that the lunch provided was delicious.

Confirmed as delicious

I hope I’ve been able to persuade those of you who were on the fence about Hero Conf 2013 to come along. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to meet a few of you and share some thoughts on my favourite topic of PPC.


If you’re looking to sponsor Hero Conf, or are interested in more information about group rates, please contact Tom Hootman – or Kayla Kurtz –