2016 Unbounce #CTAConf Takeaways – Day #1

This week we’re in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, for the 2016 Call To Action conference put on by Unbounce. There are about 1,000 marketers here for the 3 day event covering many facets of digital marketing.

The day started pretty early today (although not so much for us given we’re still on east coast time), but the weather has been awesome and the venue at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre is really great. The vibe is very fun and upbeat, and the Unbounce team even gave all attendees a big cheer as we walked into a conference venue. There are a few vendors that make up the non-expo-hall-expo-hall, that all have really creative and cool booths. Unbounce also has a lounge near the entrance to get more information about their product.

The theatre itself is quite big. Seems like it could accommodate many more people. Anyways, here are some of the takeaways we got from the sessions today:

Oli Gardner
One of the cofounders of Unbounce, and arguably one of the internets go-to experts on landing page optimization, had an excellent talk about machine learning and how Unbounce is working on some crazy artificial intelligence to automatically tell you how to optimize your visitors web experiences. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first, but as he started lifting the covers a bit about how it would all work, I have to say I became a bit more of a believer. He also had some great and practical tips about optimization, like how you should have a CTA on every page, and that it should always be above the fold. Seems like pretty common-sense stuff, but sometimes that is the hardest thing to do. He also mentioned that exit or bounce pop-ups can actually be quite effective if they are used in the right way. Finally, another key takeaway was just to get rid of all the useless jargon on your pages, and just have what we really need.

Andy Crestondina
Had a great session about how you can do more with Google Analytics. This was definitely a trend today, in terms of optimizing analytics through better usage of GA. If only GA was a bit more user intuitive so you didn’t have to hire a consultant to figure all this stuff out. Mentioned a tool called Jing that easily allow you to annotate screenshots.

Anum Hussain
This session was all about growth teams and how we should think of our subscribers in the same way that we think of users of a product. Just like product teams try many many tests to determine the best way to get people to convert to paid customers, marketers should do the same with their subscribers. Test, iterate and determine the best way to keep people engaged. If they aren’t engaged, cut them loose. One key takeaway here is that we should not just take a new subscriber and automatically drop them into the regular blog cadence, but instead send them the top posts for the first few emails to get them immediately engaged and prove the value of the content.

Erin Bury
There is no silver Marketing bullet, and it is truly different for every company. To stand out from the crowd, companies need to try and push the limits and do things differently. This was proven by an example Erin gave about how one of their clients who ran a deli signed up to Tinder as a piece of meat. Some very creative examples of Marketing here.

Amazing selections of about 6 different food trucks. Beautiful weather and west-coast sunshine. Compared to some food truck rallies I’ve been to the lineups moved pretty quickly too!

Kevan Lee
This was a whirlwind through many different social platforms and how you can take advantage of them. Top takeaways here were to use a pinned tweet on Twitter for lead generation. Bit.ly was reference in this session and others, seemed to be a trend for the day. Follower-walk was a great tool to analyze information about your Twitter followers. Another exit example whereby they provided a coupon for 25% off if a visitor was bouncing from their pricing page. They made a lot of conversions using this method, and then bumped it down to 10% and found an almost insignificant drop in conversion rate.

Morgan Brown
This was one of our favorite sessions of the day. Similar to Anum’s session, there was a focus on growth team’s. Morgan talked about the importance of doing a lot of tests cycles and making decisions based on the results of said tests. He also mentioned that it’s good when assembling a growth team to have people with very different skillsets, for example his team has a marketer, a data scientist and an accountant. Music to Marketo customers ears were his comments about the importance of data and a good lead lifecycle.

Andre Morys
This guy was hilarious – and very smart. We were instantly fans after his breakdown of Dell’s horrific customer experience on their check out page – there were a couple of f-bombs that only got people laughing even harder. But amongst all the laughs was some really good information about psychology and how humans interact with web and companies based on their psychological needs. Some very interesting examples about how companies like Amazon & Booking.com have used these methods to their advantage.

Annie Cushing
Annie was lucky enough to draw the last spot of the day, but managed to keep people engaged well past normal business hours. Lots of great tips here about how to maximize value in Google Analytics and the importance of good data.

And that was a wrap (at least for the sessions) of day #1! Overall a really great day with a nice broad range of content and lots of great actionable takeaways. Looking forward to day #2!


Pierce Ujjainwalla has years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur, and marketing leader. He has lived in the marketing trenches at companies like IBM, SAP, NVIDIA, and Marketo, and he launched Knak in 2015 as a platform designed to help Marketers simplify email creation. Visit his personal blog, Unsubscribed!, for more of the insight he’s gained as founder and CEO of Knak.

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