Well, that’s another one down!

Once again I attended the 2019 Social Media Marketing World event. Held in San Diego and run by Social Media Examiner, this event is by far the best event for learning about what is really going on in the commercial world of social media. I’ve been going for the last 5 years or so and it’s helped us stay ahead of the curve in many areas, and validating that we are on the right path for our very early adoptions of innovative best practice.

As the conference claims to have 3 main focuses of networking, learning and fun…I figured what better way to break down this years recap in this style too!

If you want to see more about what I got up to in full, you can check out the #SMMW19 Highlights reel on our company Instagram page.


There is NO shortage of networking events available at this event.

No seriously. If the topic tables, networking breakout room, nightly parties and speaker events aren’t enough, participants madly were making their own events which ended up being in the 100’s. Freelancers meetups, agency meetups, tourism meetups, mums in marketing meetups, young under 30 entrepreneur meetups…you name it. If you had a niche topic you wanted to talk about or learn more about, there was a meetup for you.


I did head to a number of these networking events. In particular, I attended some tourism, construction and agency meetups. These events are a fantastic way to see more of the city.

The first networking event outside of the SMMW organised events was put on by the beautiful Shelly Röstlund for SMMW Agencies, Consultants and Social Media Managers. The breakfast was at Mary Jane’s Diner. There is a lot of very talented agency owners sitting around this table and it was great to throw the yarn about changes, challenges and wins for the year.

Below, is fellow South Aussie Peter Freeman, and my two favourites Shelley and Dana Sanchez!


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Squad #smmw19 #agencies @findpeterfreeman @danalsanchez @melkettle @shelleyrostlund @danny_callan

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Another networking event that I got particular value out of was the Social Media Advertising Agency Owners Meet-up. This was a group of agencies from around the world talking about how they run their agencies, who they focus on working with and some very interesting discussions around the issues of Facebook’s ad inventory cap, managing creative and more. Oh, and the beer at Mission Brewery was bang on some of the best hops in the city!

About 20 people attended this event, so it was a great chance to meet and have more lengthy chats about social media advertising…rather than a room too full!

On top of these events, Social Media Marketing World had networking events on the Tuesday at the Hyatt before the event started, a networking event in the Networking Plaza on the Wednesday, and a closing networking night at the Hyatt again on the Friday.


The learning opportunity of Social Media Marketing World is a large part of what I go to the event for.

Hearing from some of the major players in this industry about the changing pace and what to look out for is such an important part of Knackmap being able to offer the absolute best practices to our clients.


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Yass. Mike Stelzner from @smexaminer talking at #smmw19

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The sessions that I went to included:

Social Media Marketing in 2019: What the Newest Research Reveals
By Michael Stelzner, Social Media Examiner

I’ve seen Mike Stelzner speak every year and find it to always be by far one of the most valuable sessions each and every time. So yeah, I got a sneaky pic.

Social Media Reimagined: How to Adapt to a World Without Loyalty
By Mark Schaefer

Again, Mark Schaefer always has some fantastic thoughts around being more human online. This session didn’t disappoint as the closing keynote of the event.

Outside of the keynotes, I went to a number of the more advanced sessions. An issue that I’ve had in previous years for Social Media Marketing World has been the fact that there hasn’t been enough advanced Facebook Ad and chatbot content. This year that has definitely been levelled up!

How to Use Facebook Ads and Organic Posts to Build a Sales Machine
By Amanda Bond

Facebook Ads Custom Audiences: 7 Ways to Use Retargeting to Grow Your Business
By Rick Mulready

How to Build an Effective Facebook Funnel
By Susan Wenograd

How to Use Facebook Lead Ads to Improve Your Leads and Sales 
By Oli Billson

How to Generate Leads and Sell on LinkedIn (Without Being Sales-y or Spammy)
By John Nemo

How to Double Your Traffic and Conversions With Chatbots
By Natasha Takahashi

One of my absolute favourite sessions was a workshop on the first day by Duncan Wardle. He is the Former Head of Innovation & Creativity at Disney, and his session was a spectacular gem of tools to think differently. He created a collaborative, engaging presentation which I was well positioned enough in to be captured in his quick video.

How to Innovate by Thinking Differently: The Disney Way
By Duncan Wardle

Just to get a taste for his style, check out his blogs about thinking differently and getting big ideas fast.


Look, for those who know me…

I’m never one to shy away from a good time. And Social Media Marketing World 2019 was no different.

I’ve collated a quick snapshot of some of the fun I got up to whilst I was there. Enjoying the company of old friends and many new ones!


Key Learnings

Ok, so no one is reading this just to get majorly jealous. So, find below my biggest learnings from the conference.

Ad Inventory on Facebook is capped, so conversion only campaign ROI’s are going to dry up quick.

Now that Facebook has no more room to create more advertising placements, it means that we are now competing for space. Costs are going to rise quickly and as a result if you aren’t focusing on brand and building a funnel to match your users decision making process, you’re going to have a hard time building strong sustainable returns.

To be honest….ABOUT TIME.

This is a message that won’t sound absurd to good marketers. However, it should also reduce the amount of quick win advertising campaigns that are out there making for an overall better experience for users of the Facebook owned networks.

It’s possible to create time for “shower thoughts” in your business

This doesn’t involve quick DIY reno’s of the office wet areas.

Rather, in the workshop with Duncan Wardle he explains that making time to be creative and innovative in your business (which can mean making time to be bored), can be just as valuable to your top/bottom line as focusing efforts on the running a better business from a numbers perspective. Obviously to be used in conjunction with trying to operate a great business.

We were right. Brand led, longer form funnels are better for brands in the long run.

Learnings come in the form of new insights, and validation of current ideas. In this years learnings, we found our strong opinions and findings around longer form brand building and revenue driving funnels are better for brands in the long run, rather than simple “BUY NOW” retargeting.

In a number of the sessions that I attended, this was spoken about and validated with strong evidence in live campaigns.

Chatbots can be more human and useful than people think

I’ve always been of the impression that Chatbots would never quite provide the value that people hyped up about them. However, I was very much proven wrong in this years conference content.

This year there was a whole topic dedicated to the Chatbots, and I headed to ‘How to Double Your Traffic and Conversions With Chatbots’ By Natasha Takahashi specifically to learn more about what people were doing in this space. It was great to see how people are using chatbots to not only help customers, but to integrate into their campaign funnels and build audiences for advertising on Facebook.

In fact, many of the other Facebook Advertising specific sessions made mention of using chatbots for building audiences, as well as sequential bot communications and when to allow a customer service person “step in” on the conversation.

We were right. Multi-platform campaigns are better than singular platform campaigns.

Talking purely from a perspective of brand.

Running campaigns across multiple platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Google and Instagram as an example), is more valuable for the campaign overall. This is because touch-points are happening with the client in different online environments and contexts. Spend on Google Display and YouTube for example, helps your Facebook Ads drive more conversions, and vice versa (as an example).

Mike Stelzner spoke about the harsh difference between video on Facebook and YouTube. That is, people go to Facebook for snack video and head to YouTube for a much deeper engagement with the content. As a result, why WOULDN’T touch-points in both places be worthwhile to your brand, especially if you want people to watch more of your ad in total? Yes, the format of the ad is not encouraging for the user to go to your website and buy necessarily on YouTube. But, it does give them a well engaged touch-point with your message, that might provide more impact for your Facebook Ad when it passes their feed.

More Human, please.

Finally, in a world of social media and digital forever becoming more “techy”, there was particular focus in many sessions and visible change in the ad and content examples provided in the various sessions around keeping the human element of our brands very much intact through ads.

How HUMANS use the product. Who the HUMANS are behind the brand.


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