gShift, Acquisio & Bing Deliver Insights for SEMPO to the Digital Marketing AdTech Ecosystem in Canada

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The advertising technology landscape is changing continuously and keeping up-to-date on the latest trends and tactics is a challenge for all digital marketers. Fortunately for a group of digital marketers in Toronto, SEMPO delivered an event in November 2014, which brought together leading minds from top marketing technology companies to present valuable insights and knowledge necessary to achieve marketing success in 2015 and beyond.

Presenters at the event in Toronto included:

Krista LaRiviere, CEO of gShift and Director of SEMPO International

Andrew Yang, Search Evangelist at Microsoft Bing

Bryan Minor, Chief Scientist at Acquisio



Andrew Yang of Bing was first to present and provided a fascinating look inside the world of Bing Canada. Andrew’s discussion touched on some interesting Bing user statistics, demographics and advertising insights to give attendees a better idea of how Bing matters to their marketing strategies.

Some interesting statistics mentioned by Andrew included:

• Bing users spend 26% more than the average Internet searcher and 12% more than Canadian Google searchers

• Bing user demographics: 1/3 have an income of $100k+, 1/2 have an income of $75k+, they are typically over 35 years old

• 4 out of 10 Bing users live outside of Ontario, skewing more towards the Eastern provinces

Andrew also discussed how Bing’s approach to advertising is evolving to make Bing ads even easier to use, increasing the amount of data available to advertisers, and increasing the speed with which Bing ads work.


Bryan Minor from Acquisio was next up and gave an interesting view on what he called the ‘Technical Revolution of Digital Marketing’.  Specifically, Bryan discussed several of the problems facing digital agencies today, such as the need for continuous SEM optimization and targeting adjustments, in order to truly maximize impact and ROI of paid digital advertising. At the crux of this problem is the need for better data and more of it. As he puts it, “When you don’t have enough data to make decisions, you make bad decisions.” Ensuring you have the right tools to deliver the best possible data is crucial to digital advertising success.

In addition to the great presentations, attendees were also given the opportunity to hear from some of the hottest startup personalities in Toronto, including Jen Evans from SqueezeCMM, Ira Haberman from Atomic Reach and Chris Keevil from InNetwork.

screencapture-47Krista LaRiviere moderated the panel and set the stage for a fascinating discussion on marketing technology trends by reinforcing the importance of marketers evolving their view of owned, earned and paid media.

The overlap and integration of these three types of media is truly where the power lies for marketers. Their success now and in the future will depend on their ability to gather the right data, analyze it effectively and use it to inform their digital strategy across their entire web presence.

Digital marketing is a process, which needs to have a well laid out plan of action.  Without the ability to track, monitor and measure results, it is difficult to know and understand if the action plan is effective or if it needs to be reformulated.

The struggle for marketers today is being able to sift through the seemingly endless pile of technology offerings and determine what platforms are most valuable for their business.


Krista then posed a series of questions to the panel. Here are their replies:

 Question #1 – What is the core problem your technology is solving?

  1.  Ira Haberman – Atomic Reach

–        Helps content marketers create quality content, which engages clients
–        Insights about your existing / new content
–        Create content against the score
–        Results in 46% greater web engagement and increased social engagement
–        Atomic Engager helps businesses create quality content

  1. sempoYYZ_panel Chris Keevil – InNetwork

–        Started the business 18 months ago
–        Once content is fully optimized, businesses need a way to attract people to the content
–        Find ways to amplify content
–        Difficult to find, difficult to get data, difficult to engage; InNetwork solves these problems
–        Pull data on audiences who sit behind the publishers
–        A “Media Marketplace” built around influence and influencers

  1. Jen Evans – SqueezeCMM

–        Platform which looks specifically at content and measures
–        Looks closely at the actions content drives
–        Ability to triangulate to create better content
–        All done through the use of content taxonomies

Question #2 – What part of content marketing process is the most overlooked, why and what can digital marketers do about it?

  1. Jen – Post-analytics.  The reality of conversation monitoring is it needs to be mapped back to the action it is driving e.g. Click on an Ad
  2. Ira – The notion of being predictive. For example, when I take action A, B will happen…this is often overlooked.
  3. Chris – The simplest piece overlooked is A/B split testing.  Why? Time constraints? The complexity of campaigns? The need is there to do more and learn more faster.

Question #3  – What is your advice to the digital marketer today, as it relates to the available technologies for mobile marketing? What technologies have you seen? How can digital marketers strengthen their mobile strategies with technology?

  1. Chris – It’s essential to have a mobile-first strategy!
  2. Jen – Mobile is not dominant in B2B…yet. It is important to understand your audience and their habits.  Deliver it in the format they need it in and adapt, as required.
  3. Ira – Design is important and often an afterthought. Responsiveness of actual content is often overlooked. For example, the grammar being used…literary terms, which resonate with users.  You need to make your content geared to your USERS!

Question #4 – Budgets are limited and a digital marketer’s day is busy. A typical digital agency or brand can’t afford to buy 30 subscriptions.  What is your recommendation when it comes to selecting a digital technology?  Where should a digital marketer start?

  1. Jen – Start with objectives and goals.  What technology will support those.
  2. Ira – Have a clear strategy, figure out goals and find measurement tools to make the best decisions for your company.
  3. Chris – Make hiring decisions to help be innovative with your marketing budget. Be forward thinking when it comes to human resources

Question #5 – If you had a magic wand, what would the ultimate digital marketing platform look like and do you think it is possible?

  1. Jen – One of the reasons for the complexity within the space is because of a sole focus on a horizontal or a vertical.  Depends on what program you are trying to run or what you are trying to do.  No vendor has more than a 4% market share.
  2. Ira – Find gaps in large companies and fill it with solutions. We did and this is why there is no real competition for Atomic Reach.
  3. Chris – The big goal of system integration is a long way off. We really are still in the 1st inning.  Some verticals and some horizontals could be tightened up, but will likely lose some of the innovation that goes with being independent.

Finally, attendees jumped at the chance to pose their own questions to the panel. Here’s the summary of this Q&A session:

Q – Modern marketers need to know the entire food chain.  Why can’t companies integrate and work together / talk to each other?  It seems like lost opportunities because they all can’t play together.

A: Really smart agencies can create this integration with the right approach to analytics and reporting, but the reality is there is an entrenched power base inside ad ecosystems, which results in most looking out for their own interests.

Q:  Can’t all things be connected via API?

A:  Ira – There is certainly a need to focus on ubiquitous solutions, regardless of platforms (such as WP, Joomla, etc.)

Bryan – API’s are constantly changing. This makes it extremely difficult for this kind of thing to be standardized.

Q:  We have access to all of these amazing tools, but we don’t have people who know how to actually use them!  How do you hire or find educated people?

A:  The truth is it happens on the fly most of the time. Simply hire people who have solid fundamental skills / understanding of marketing, then build out language within the organization.  People can and will adapt much easier than most believe. Young people especially are typically more adaptable.

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