2 days / 15 talks
Awesome and great blog

January 25-27


Written by Hannah Thorpe




At upcoming 3XE, I’m speaking about how SEO is changing – in particular, if we can no longer view SEO as a performance channel.


What is a performance channel?

A performance channel relies heavily on a simple equation: direct investment = direct results. Over time, you might see results begin to show diminishing returns on investment, but there is still a direct correlation between what you put in and what you get out.

By definition, that means performance channels lean much more towards being advertising channels rather than marketing. The difficulty we face when thinking about SEO as a performance channel is that it isn’t “advertising”; it’s marketing.

SEO is so much more heavily reliant on external factors than it used to be. It’s no longer about getting a page to rank in position 1 and reaping all the benefits. Now, it is much more geared towards ranking in position 0 and “maybe” getting traffic, but equally, maybe not. It isn’t just advertising channels you’re competing with, you’re also competing with the makeup of the first page. Things like:

  • Rich results
  • No-click searches
  • Query-less searches
  • Widgets

With all of that to compete with, ranking first doesn’t always mean that you’re guaranteed to get the most traffic, the most engagement, or the most revenue. Because there is no direct correlation between the investment you put into SEO and the results you get from that, SEO has never been further from “advertising”, and thus a “performance channel” than it is right now.

So, is SEO even worth investing in? Of course it is, but we need to be smarter about how we can make it work for us, and what the future of SEO really is if it isn’t in performance.

Two types of search

The way I see it, there are two types of information retrievals that performance SEO doesn’t account for:

  1. Deep relevance matching
  2. Position-aware relevance matching

Both of these focus on different components and are applied for different search types:


Deep Relevance Matching Position-Aware Relevance Matching
Query and text only Relevance matching between query terms and document terms
Query terms are scored relatively to document terms Takes into account context and how these terms match in the documents
Doesn’t account for context where the terms occur


If we look at how Google is changing the SERPs, the different tools and widgets it offers right in the results pages, this shift towards different models for different query types becomes more apparent.

Take a job search query, for example, and now you are faced with the Google for Jobs widget as well as the more traditional “10-blue-links” style results. This is a perfect example of different algorithms working in harmony – the deep relevance/position-aware relevance matching model, working with the “traditional” algorithm we’ve become accustomed to.

But with things like the Google for Jobs widget coming into play, or Google Events, or Google Flights, or any number of Google products that entices users to interact directly in the search results, SEO needs to shift focus to capturing attention instead of driving “performance” as we know it.


  1. Go higher up the funnel

We need to start looking at ways to appear higher up the funnel, capturing user demand at the initial stages instead of just focusing on the end product. To do that, we need to be looking at things like:

  • People also ask and related queries
  • Using social media listening tools
  • Becoming visible on long-tail, question-based terms

2. Talk about your competitors

Capturing people higher up the funnel is great, but how do you get them to choose you over your competitors? You offer comparisons to them. If your product or service is genuinely better than the competition, help users understand why easily.

Searches around price, capability, and service comparisons are common – make sure you’re giving people the information they are searching for without them having to rely on a review site/aggregator.

3. Build trust in your brand

One of the factors growing in importance with recent core updates, particularly in advice/guidance focused verticals, means that building trust in your brand is becoming imperative. Good trust signals lead to places in the knowledge graph. Use everything from Schema, to Wikipedia entries, to press releases to really build on your trust signals and show users (and crawlers) that you are a trustworthy source of information and service.

4. Integrate with other channels

Just because you’re using SEO for attention, doesn’t mean you should stop at organic search. Use other channels wisely to really push your content, products, and services to users when they need them:

  • Retarget content through the display network
  • Bid higher on terms where organic is lower down the page/you don’t own position 0
  • Use SEO as a means to collate data and reach a wider audience

Working with different channels helps make sure that what you do for SEO is seen by as many people as possible, strengthening your position in user minds as well as the relationship across the web.


We’ve already concluded that SEO is no longer just a performance channel, but that raises questions as to how you can really measure the impact it has.

  1. Start thinking beyond “last-click”

Over ⅓ of purchases take place more than 30 days after their first enquiry. If people aren’t converting the same way that they began their search, chances are you’re not getting the full picture if you just report on a last-click model.

These days there are so many touchpoints across the conversion journey, that last-click as a model is almost becoming obsolete. If we move away from just reporting on last-click, and towards models that account for other channels in the journey, we’ll get a much better understanding of how SEO plays a part in the conversion journey, and how SEO is really impacting your performance.

2. Measure “time well spent”

Start looking at how users are actually engaging with your content. Is it meeting their needs? What emotions do users feel before and after they visit your content? When do they just want to complete an action?

If users are spending in excess of 3 minutes on a checkout form, do they really need to? Are you making their journey much more difficult than it needs to be? In contrast, if users aren’t reading all of your content and you know that there is valuable information in there that they aren’t getting to, can you restructure the page to make it more digestible for them?

Time well spent isn’t always about whether they complete an action, e.g. a purchase, sign up, download, but instead it focuses on understanding user needs and how you can best serve them to ensure they have a good experience.

3. Track task completion and satisfaction rate

Understanding whether users are engaging with your content in the way you’d like them to is a crucial part of informing content journeys and conversion journeys. Ask your users for feedback on the information provided:

  • Did this answer your question?
  • How would you rate your experience?
  • Do you have any feedback?

You can also use heat-mapping tools to better understand how users are engaging with the pages and see where they might be “going wrong”, in your eyes.

4. Track % share of SERP

With the SERPs constantly changing to include widgets, local listings, ads, knowledge panels, and a host of other listings, understanding your % share of the SERP is becoming more and more important.

It isn’t about whether you rank in position 1 for a target keyword, it’s about whether:

  • Your ad shows
  • Your knowledge graph shows
  • You’re ranking organically
  • You’re the answer box result
  • You’re capturing the ‘people also ask’ listings

Looking at your % share vs. your organic rank means you have a much broader picture of how you as a business are performing, but also how your digital investment is really impacting your performance.



Hannah Thorpe – Business Director at Found.

See Hannah speak at the 3XE Search Marketing Conference on October 23rd.




Reposted from Core

This blog was written by Shane Lyons – Business Director at Core. 3XE will be welcoming him as a keynote speaker at the Search Marketing Conference this October. This article can be found here.


Amazon vs. Google – What’s the Impact for Advertisers in Ireland?

Alphabet (the holding company of Google), recently released their financials for the first quarter of 2019 and to many people’s surprise, their revenue fell below analyst estimates. Google have consistently expanded at 20% or more in previous quarters, whereas in the first quarter of this year they achieved growth of 15%; nearly a 10% decline in growth for the same period last year.


Of course, at the scale that Google now operates at, it is difficult to constantly achieve large scale growth, but it is also interesting to consider the reasons as to why they are experiencing this deceleration in ad revenue growth. Similarly, we are asking how these reasons might impact local advertising strategies here in Ireland.

The Rise of Amazon as a Marketing Platform

The main factor appears to be the rapid growth of Amazon’s Advertising Suite in markets like the US and UK. For the first time Google have a serious rival and many advertisers, especially online retailers, have diverted some of their Google budget into trialling activity on Amazon. Amazon is certainly popular here in Ireland but not remotely as ubiquitous as it is in the States where it is an absolute giant of eCommerce. $160.2B of the company’s total net sales of $232.9B in 2018, were generated from the US (69%), mostly thanks to the mass adoption of Amazon Prime over there.

More than 100 million people subscribe to Prime in the US and this has completely changed the way people shop there. Prime members are extremely loyal to Amazon, a recent survey by Feedvisor found that of all consumers who belong to Amazon Prime, nearly half (48%) buy products online once a week and nearly three-quarters (74%) shop online at least every few weeks. Once a shopper is subscribed to Prime, it seems that Amazon automatically becomes first preference for most purchases. They have already paid $119 for the privilege of free, two-day shipping so why not make the most of it?

What’s most concerning for Google however is that Amazon rather than Google is seen as the place to initiate research and then ultimately purchase products. Two-thirds of respondents (66%) typically start their search for new products on Amazon, compared with one-fifth (20%) who start on a search engine such as Google. And when consumers are ready to buy a specific product, 74% go directly to Amazon.

Locally, research on the e-commerce market is limited, so predicting the number of Amazon customers in Ireland is difficult however, An Post revealed a substantial growth in online shopping in general, up 40% in 2018 versus the previous year. It’s safe to say that Amazon’s influence on the retail market will continue to increase like other markets, but what will this mean for advertisers?

Read the full article by Shane Lyons on Core’s website.


Meet the Digital Director of Maximum Media – Brian Sheehan at the 3XE Search Marketing Conference in Dublin.

Maximum Media is Ireland’s leading digital publishing company. Headquartered in Dublin, this media group is home to 4 of Ireland’s most popular digital lifestyle brands JOE, Her, SportsJOE and HerFamily welcoming over 10M users each month, and owns the largest social media audience of any publishing platform in Ireland.

Brian manages a team that looks after SEO, audience development, display advertising, product development, analytics and social advertising for the business.

Digital Director, Brian Sheehan shares the Key Steps to SEO Success

Key Steps To SEO Success

Brian Sheehan will deliver a keynote talk at the 3XE Search Marketing Conference on 23rd October in Dublin. His presentation topic is Key steps to SEO success

He is going to explain how Search engine optimisation is not a simple process and there are many elements at play including content, site structure and speed. This presentation will run through the crucial aspects to a lucrative traffic source.


In our recent conversation, Brian Sheehan shared his thoughts on the world of SEO and the future it holds:

Why is Search Engine Marketing so important today?

The digital marketing space has become very saturated in recent years. The fight for space on the likes of social media and the introduction of GDPR has made the task of reaching an audience more difficult than ever. SEM allows you to find your market in a cost efficient and highly targeted manner.

What are the easy fixes in SEO that can bring better results?

Improving site speed is hugely beneficial.


Which are the tools you use for Search Marketing & SEO?

Apart from Google Ads, Google Console, I have build some bespoke tools.

What websites and people influence you on a day to day basis.

I use LinkedIn regularly and follow the relevant hashtags and groups.

Your thoughts on the future of Search Marketing – What’s next?

Voice search and video search will become more prevalent.


Check the Event Schedule for more details. You can register using the early bird offers.



3XE Digital has just announced that the Founder & CEO of Fathom, Gareth Dunlop has been announced as another great speaker at their next conference. 3XE Digital is now Ireland’s largest dedicated digital marketing conference series, with topics including Search, Social Media, Content Marketing, Mobile and Data Marketing.

This one-day, action packed conference takes place in Croke Park, Dublin on 27th January 2016.

Following 15 years of direct commercial experience helping businesses use the Internet more effectively, Gareth established Fathom in September 2011 to advise companies on how to get the most from the web by seeing the world from the perspective of their customers.

Previously Gareth was the MD of iON, a leading digital strategy and marketing company, headquartered in Belfast and with major clients in 15 countries. Prior to that he was the MD of Tibus, one of the largest and most successful web development agencies in Ireland, from 2002 to 2009 when it was sold to UTV Media. Since 1996, he has gained massive commercial experience advising blue chip clients in Ireland, UK and Europe (Fáilte Ireland, SOCITM, SPAR, DHL, Post Office UK, BBC) on Internet strategy and best practice.

A former Board Member of the Irish Internet Association, and Chairman of, Gareth writes & lectures extensively on Internet related matters. As well as speaking regularly for University of Ulster, Digital Marketing Institute, Irish Internet Association, Irish Times and Sure Skills, he has guest lectured for UCD, DCU and DIT. He occupies regular columns in and Business Eye magazine.


Ahead of his talk on the how to improve the mobile experience with contextual data, we caught up with Gareth and asked him about his knowledge and experience in the area of mobile & data marketing:

3XE: Hi Gareth, could you tell us a bit about yourself and a bit more about your business?

Gareth: So my name is Gareth Dunlop, I own and run a User Experience company called Fathom and I have been involved in the internet for 20 years. I started life off as a programmer and I worked on Ireland’s first online personal banking project in the winter of 1997, joined a web agency later on that year and was part of that agency when we grew from 4 people to 55 people over the remaining 13 years. My interest has always been in interface design and, in particularly, designing interfaces that are effective, intuitive, simple, drives results for users, help businesses, make more money or save more money. So that has always been my interest. So when the opportunity came, four years ago, to set up a specialise, dedicated, user experience agency, I noticed that the market place was maturing and that organisations were taking experience design more seriously, they were getting better value from it, I felt it was time to set up a dedicated agency so that is what I have done. We set up Fathom in September 2011 and we have been trading and growing ever since.

3XE: Sounds fantastic. Could you give an overview on mobile marketing, for someone who may not be familiar with area?

Gareth: We are going to talk about mobile and in particular talk about how the increasingly ready availability of contextual and environmental information is allowing mobile designers to improve the experience that the user gets. So what that really means is that when you are designing an experience for a user on a mobile device, you are responding primarily to stimulus that is provided by the user. So the user will scroll or touch or tap or navigate but on top of that there isa lot more information that the user doesn’t provide, but which is available to the app designer and that can help provide a better experience. So the app knows where the device is, geographically, the apps knows what the previous behaviour the user might have been, the app might know the what the previous Google searches are, or for instance, what websites the user previously visited. So a combination of this explicit stimuli in the form of navigation, scrolling and touching and all that sort of stuff plus this implicit stimuli which is the contextual and environmental information, those two things can work together to provide a really rich interface and a really rich experience for the user and a clever experience designer is cognisant of both those types when it comes to designing an interface or designing an experience.

3XE: Sound like a good overview, I suppose it is a very important topic that we have a large section of our target audience that are both using mobile from a smartphone or using mobile from a tablet as their primary means of surfing.

Gareth: Yeah, it is and you have summed it up very nicely there. Because the first thing we would want to talk about here, is the difference mobile and mobility. It may seem like a pedantic differentiation to make but what that refers to, one refers to a device and the other refers to the context of use. It is a useful litigation, not for the purpose of being pedantic, but because it allows us to separate the hardware that we are using and the hardware restrictions that certain devices bring, it separates that from understanding the context in which the user is trying to use the product or the service.

3XE: So lets say for example I am using my mobile device, like my smartphone, can you then track, maybe using go location pings, to find out if Rob is walking down the street now and he is 50 metres ahead and another 50 or if he is stationary on this couch, can you track that and then decided on which way we should do our marketing, maybe something else for the audience?

Gareth: Yeah and again, what we are finding, as an industry, is that the way that the technology is used is that it is used in quite functional ways, so when the technology first became available, marketers got really quite excited with the fact that they could do geo marketing and you could market that there were bargains to be had in your local area. But actually what we are finding is out is how that technology is used as a much more practically way, so for instance, if you are standing in the middle of a city and you go to Google and you search for a coffee shop, Google will know that you are standing in the middle of that particular area, Google will know where you are and Google will give you coffee shops near your location.

3XE: Do you think it is important to have mobile as part of your overall digital marketing strategy with the different channels, whether they be digital display, social media, email, website, so it is part of the mix and not just a stand alone entity?

Gareth: Yeah exactly, it is important. Your design process and creative decisions and all that sort of stuff have to be cognisant of the fact that mobile will be an important expression of your brand and an important expression of how to creatively express yourself.

3XE: Are images still very important in a mobile experience or is text having some sort of rebirth?

Gareth: Well it is all about what the user is trying to achieve, what are the user’s goals and depending on what the user’s goals are, and what they need to find out, what they need to know in order to achieve those goals that will determine whether text or images or video or audio are best for that. We, like all others in the industry, celebrate the fact the web is a richer media environment than it has ever been but that doesn’t mean that you use rich media for its own sake, we are big fans of using the right tools for the right jobs. Sometimes if 5 words or 10 words will tell the user what they need to know and they can go get stuff done from that then that’s the solution, but if a diagram or a short video communicates better, then you would use those.

3XE: With all this rich data, about the user, how can we obtain this, where do we get it from?

Gareth: There are quantitative and qualitative sources, it is a good question, because for me this question reminds us that we are communicating with human beings, there are people like you and I trying to stuff done, and for the starting point is that our technology and design has empathy and it has empathy to help people achieve what they are trying to achieve. There are lots of places where you can get the data, you can get it from Google Analytics but frequently to have to go and see and meet users, you run five second tests, you carry out tree tests, you carry out online surveys, you carry out usability tests. The more time you spend with users, observing them, watching them, try to use your stuff, getting inside their shoes, the more time you invest with that the better you will understand them, the better empathy you will provide for your design and a higher preforming your digital product will be. And that’s the design methodology that we have seen the web pioneers, like Google, like eBay, that is how they have designed for two decades and if it good enough for them then it is good enough for the rest of us. And when I use guys like Google and eBay, it probably makes its sound expensive but it doesn’t have to be, getting inside the mind of a user starts with just identifying who you are, starting your research, learning stuff about them and applying what you have learnt to your design.

Book tickets here to learn from Gareth at the next 3XE Digital Mobile & Data Marketing Conference on January 27th.


When Alternatives Group first opened its doors fifteen years ago, life was much simpler and the digitally focused world we now find ourselves was in its’ infancy.  Alternatives has grown to become the number one, award-winning marketing, commercial and digital talent business in Ireland.  Clients access our talent services in a number of ways including permanent recruitment, interim management, executive search, consultancy and managed teams.

Marketing Manager Keith O’ Connor talks to 3XE Digital about landing your dream digital marketing job.

So what advice do you have for someone interviewing for their dream job in Digital Marketing?

Succeeding at interview is a result of two factors:

  1. The relevance of your experience and capabilities in relation to the position you are being interviewed for…
  2. ….and your ability to market them well to the interviewers.  Very few people are naturally good at interviewing so preparation is vital.

Review the Job Specification in depth. Know exactly what the role is about. Be very clear what it is the employer is looking to achieve from this role and what success within it looks like for them.

So you should make sure you can succeed in the role before interviewing there?

Exactly. Conduct an in-depth background of the company and the role. Use the web, trade journals and any company literature that you can find. If the company has a customer care line, phone it to see what the customer experience is like. If the product is targeting a consumer market, check out retailers, their POS, promotions etc. Find out what agencies they use etc. Look at the company from expansion & growth – is there potential for future growth within their brands etc.

  • Know who you are meeting with, not just their name, but what their specific role is within the organization and if possible, where they have come from.
  • First impressions do last, so smile, give a good handshake (don’t take their arm off, but don’t be frail and weak with your hand). Be aware of your body language and stay relaxed.
  • It is also very important to be dressed smartly, it is better to be over-dressed than under-dressed.
  • Bring a notebook and pen and note occasional things of interest, if relevant.
  • Remember that the interviewer is not only assessing your skills and experience, but also whether he/she likes you, and above all, whether they think you’ll fit in.
  • Listen to what it is you are being asked. Don’t assume the question before it has finished and jump into the answer without thinking about it.

How should you prepare for an interview?

Firstly, know your CV inside out and be able to talk in detail about everything that is written on it. Avoid industry jargon. If you can’t do so, then the interviewer will be left wondering at worst if your CV is accurate and at best if you have not bothered to prepare. Either way you will not get a second interview.

When  interviewing for a digital / marketing position, it’s likely you’ll be interviewed at some point by the hiring Marketing Manager or Director and a HR Manager. They will most likely use a competency based interview framework. Whilst you should not appear over-rehearsed, preparing these questions fully is key. There’s a useful article on our website about what to prepare for a competency based interview.

If you are passionate about digital marketing than you should also be able to talk about the brands that have inspired you and your favourite campaigns and why they’re your favourite.  Research inside-out the company you are being interviewed by and be fully conversant about their brand, products and marketing campaigns.

Pursuing a digital marketing job, the ability to market yourself is obviously key. How should you do this in an interview?

“It is essential that you are able to demonstrate your achievements. They will distinguish you from the other candidates who may have similar experience to you. It is really important to distinguish the “I” from the “we”. You may have worked primarily in cross functional teams on cross functional projects, but what has been your unique contribution to each project? Tell the interviewer about you and your experience. Don’t say “We did…” always describe your work as “I have done…” and give personal examples of your achievements.”

A lot of people can sell a service or product, present to clients and get a positive outcome from their meetings. They forget this when it comes to selling themselves!!  If you are interested in the role let the company know that you are impressed with them and end with a strong positive statement about yourself and how much you want the role.

Do you have any tips on how to make the most of social platforms such as LinkedIn?

“Your summary is extremely important, you should think of it as your CV’s executive summary. Make sure your profile picture is professional and reflective of the platform. Giving a thumbs up while holding a pint is not an appropriate look!  And, it’s important to be strategic in the groups and companies you follow on your profile page, ensure these interests reflect your career path.”

Aside from the obvious skills and experience, what do recruiters look for?

There are some things that money just cannot buy and a motivated individual can be priceless…it can be the compelling asset that makes the difference between you and a fellow candidate seeking that dream role. So wear your heart on your sleeve and show that passion when you do find the role you want.

It may be obvious to you that you can do the job, it may also be obvious from your CV, but unless you can demonstrate that, with passion, during the interview then you will not secure the position.

You joined the Alternatives team in 2014. What made you move from a career in the music industry to talent provision?

“After 15 years I got the opportunity to take a career break and grabbed it with both hands! When it was time to get back in the saddle I approached Alternatives to help me with my next move.  I was bowled over by their people focused approach and was both surprised and delighted when they asked me to join the team.  Similar to the music business it’s a people business and after 17 years’ experience spanning music, education and now talent provision I’ve come to realise that it’s people that are my passion.  It’s a very happy fit!”

And finally, what do you think sets Alternatives apart as a talent provider and recruiter?

“We have worked in recruitment for over 15 years and have a track record of delivering for Ireland’s leading businesses and those seeking career opportunities. We have all come from industry roles ourselves, so we really understand the evolving nature of digital, marketing, commercial and leadership functions across organisations.



Aidan McCullen is a former Irish International Rugby Player and in his 10 year playing career played for the likes of Leinster, Toulouse and London Irish.

At 31, he started an internship with Communicorp, a company which owns radio stations like Newstalk, TodayFM, Spin 103.8, Spin Southwest, 98FM, TXFM and FRQ.FM.

In 7 years he worked his way up from being just an intern to become Director of Digital and Innovation for the Group.

Aidan has driven the huge digital growth of the stations and his job is to future proof the company with new revenue lines and product advancements.

Before his presentation at 3XE Digital Inbound & Search Marketing conference, 22nd of October in Croke Park, we caught up with Aidan to discuss all things digital.


1. What does Communicorp do?

Communicorp owns and operates a portfolio of media channels with a strong focus on commercial radio and emerging digital media. In Ireland Communicorp Operates Newstalk, TodayFM, Spin 103.8, Spin Southwest, 98FM, TXFM and FRQ.FM

2. What is your role?

Digital and Innovation. I have developed our digital eco system from products like apps and websites to marketing campaigns and all our digital revenue streams. I am currently focused on future revenue streams and new websites for some of our stations.

3. What is your presentation about?

It is a simple presentation on integrating the basics of search into your marketing plans and using search to inform design and content strategies. I know digital can be daunting, as can search, but you need to start somewhere and I hope my presentation can inform some attendees on some low hanging fruit.

4. What will be the primary key takeaway points?

  • Search as part of marketing campaigns and not isolated in a silo.
  • Getting started with search in the simplest of ways.
  • Simple ways to benefit from search data.

5. Describe some of the greatest changes that have been affecting the digital marketing sector over the past 12 months?

The myriad tools we now have at our disposal and the human resources now required to do things right.

6. What challenges do you see for marketers in 2016?

Convincing CEOs and CFOs to invest ahead of revenue and shift more budgets to digital channels, not just from a marketing perspective but more importantly from a human resource perspective.

Adapting the way we work and adapting business models.

7. What common mistakes do you see marketers making that drives you nuts? 

  • Treating each marketing channel as a silo and not joining the dots on campaigns.
  • There is no point on driving traffic to a website that is not mobile optimised.
  • That advertising budget would be better spent on perfecting the website and then drive traffic to it.

8. Do you have 3 pieces of advice for delegates to the conference in order to improve Search marketing?

  • Set goals from the outset.
  • Ensure that your site is optimised for your search terms.
  • Start small and take a leap.


Aidan McCullen, along with many other expert speakers, will be presenting at the next 3XE Digital Conference in Croke Park, Dublin on October 22nd 2015.



Written By Patricia McGinty

Felicity McCarthy is a leading digital marketing professional who has gained her expertise with some of the largest tech companies in the world including Dell, eBay and Facebook. In January 2014, Felicity set up her own digital agency, Spark Digital. We sat down with Felicity to gain an insight into her successful career to date.

How did you begin your career in digital?

In 2000, I worked as an Online Marketing Manager in Dell. My role was to drive eCommerce growth through site optimisation and driving traffic to the site. Although there were less online marketing channels available to use the ethos at Dell is truly results-oriented marketing. After 8 years with Dell, I moved to eBay where I led the marketing team championing innovation within existing channels and embracing new channels, to drive high growth business.

In early 2010, I took up the position of Marketing Manager at Facebook, working with small to medium sized businesses across Europe. Facebook has been a game changer for marketers, effectively leveling the playing field by giving all businesses access to the same tools to grow their businesses. Suddenly reaching a high volume of prospective customers is not exclusively reserved for the largest budget holders in the market.

To anyone starting a career in digital today, what piece of advice would you give?

You must continue to learn and evolve. The pace of change in the digital arena is intense and keeps things exciting. If I think back to when I studied Marketing in NUIG, digital marketing wasn’t even a topic. Digital channels are constantly changing as well as tools and technology so you need to learn to embrace the change. It’s not just a skill, it’s an attitude too. You could say the only thing that’s constant is the change.

How important is it for a business to have social media presence?

Honestly, I think businesses who are not embracing new technologies to acquire new customers and build relationships with existing customers, are at high risk of losing out to companies who are doing so. Small businesses have the same access to the same tools that the world’s largest companies use.

What are the most common mistakes organisations make when it comes to creating and managing their social media campaigns?

Social media needs to be a part of the core marketing strategy. The most impact is achieved when social media is fundamental to the campaign or initiative and of course, where the approach is consistent with the business objectives.

The perception that only teenagers use social media. 60% of the Irish population on Facebook are between 25-54, according to Social Bakers December 2013 report.

Being afraid of negative comments. Being able to collect, address and moderate the feedback in a forum that is within your control is the best way to do so. My advice is always to be responsive and proactive to all comments, good and bad.

How has social media developed in the last one to two years and how do you see social media evolving in the future?

One of the biggest developments in the past few years impacting digital behavior and social media is the usage of mobile phones. Furthermore, social media platforms have allowed us to use advanced targeting capabilities to reach customers on mobile.

The evolution of Twitter ads, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ are platforms which I will be monitoring closely.




Written by Ian Blake, Aug 31 2015.

As somebody immersed in the world of marketing, you probably have a very different understanding of inbound marketing than your CEO. You already know what it is, and results it can bring for businesses in terms of organic, user-oriented growth. The same cannot usually be said for CEOs, who don’t have the time to research inbound in full or compare metrics.

When it comes to explaining inbound, you’ve got to get down to point: the way inbound marketing can contribute to the bottom line, and expand your business more effectively than other, dated marketing ploys. Web users want exactly what they’re looking for, and they want it now; this is what drives inbound (and in-turn, it’s ROI), and a sentiment you must include when pitching inbound internally.

Do the Legwork First

This should come as a no-brainer, but there are certain preparations to be made that you might not realize at first. Beyond jotting down powerful statistics on how inbound marketing, social media and content can help companies grow, do your research on various CRM platforms, like HubSpot, SalesForce and MS Dynamics, as well as what kinds of results your CEO hopes to see not just for your marketing efforts, but for the business as a whole.
Is your company currently more focused on overall sales growth, launching new products or growing brand recognition? These are things that an inbound marketing strategy can complement in different ways, and learning how can be just the motivation your CEO needs to invest in inbound.

Break Down What Inbound Entails

Once you’e identified what your CEO is looking to achieve in the coming months, quarters or years, take the time to explain how various elements of inbound can make those goals a reality. Delve a little deeper into what makes inbound “tick,” but refrain from getting overly technical; your CEO cares more about conversion rates than the differences between a white paper and an ebook.
Give some insight into the inbound methodology of attract – convert – close – delight, and explain how things like content offers and blogs build rapport with audiences more effectively than outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is dictated by the user; they organically reach your website out of interest or pre-existing need. What this means is that almost every user that reaches your website is a potential customer. Higher qualified leads means higher returns, something that could convince your CEO of inbound’s worth on the spot.

Bring Up Relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Don’t be afraid to back yourself up with KPIs and other figures related to benchmarks your CEO wants to reach. Discuss how inbound, and everything it consists of, affects revenue and the bottom line for your business. The following are some powerful KPIs you can focus on to sway your CEO in the favor of inbound:

  • Cost per lead; for every new lead you generate, how much of an investment does your company have to make? Inbound marketing leads can cost as much as 61% less than outbound leads.
    Site traffic to lead ratio (and other audience metrics); how much of the traffic coming to your current website is marketing qualified? How many conversions are you generating per visit? This indicator can shed light on your ongoing marketing efforts, and highlight how inbound strategies have helped others in your industry find success online.
  • Organic Search Traffic; this includes percentages of leads and customers generated from organic search, and what keywords bring the most highly qualified traffic to your site. Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the core pillars of inbound, and explaining how powerful SEO can generate qualified leads for your business could end up tipping your CEO’s scales in favor of inbound.
  • Customer acquisition cost as well as the time it takes to pay back the investment; the customer acquisition cost is the total sales and marketing cost for your company (everything from project costs and advertising to salaries). Determine what percentage of this is related to marketing, and how long it takes to pay back. If it’s taking your company over one year to pay back this investment, you may want to boost your sales via strategies such as inbound.

Convincing your CEO that inbound marketing is what drives online business in the modern world may take a bit of legwork on your part, but, as your CEO will soon learn, the benefits are not only real, they’re entirely within reach should your business invest in inbound. Remember to focus on how inbound can bring your company new revenue streams, and expand on old ones, to contribute to bottom line growth.



The European Marketing Director of HubSpot, Kieran Flanagan, will be one of the impressive speakers for 3XE Digital Inbound & Search Marketing Conference, which is due to take place at Croke Park, October 22nd 2015.

HubSpot are on a mission to create marketing that people love. Kieran manages a team of marketers who create and manage HubSpot’s international marketing strategy. He specialises in Inbound marketing, Content marketing, SEO, Google Analytics, PPC, Social media and more.

Ahead of his presentation at our next conference, we caught up with Kieran to discuss more about HubSpot and his opinion in what he believes makes a great inbound marketer:


3XE: What does HubSpot do?

HubSpot provides marketing and sales software that helps businesses to grow. We have over 15,000 companies and growing.

What’s your role there? What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m the marketing director for EMEA. I honestly don’t have a regular day, which is why I like the role. I spend my time working with an amazing team who are working hard to grow the business across Europe.

Tell us a little about your professional background.

The short story is, I got an honours degree in computing science and worked as a software engineer for a few years. I was pretty average at the whole coding thing. Luckily when working on developing websites I realised I was more interested in how people would arrive at the website than actually building it. From there I got a job as an SEO, went on to lead a search marketing team, worked at as their inbound marketing manager, went to Marketo and then arrived in HubSpot as their marketing director. I’ve been at HubSpot for 2.5 years now and I love every minute of it.

For companies that are getting serious about marketing for the first time, where do you think they can get some quick wins?

It’s hard to give an answer that will work across all companies as so much depends on things like industry, size of company, is it B2B or B2C, etc.

It would be easy to say blogging, choosing the right keywords for your website, doing some simple A/B testing on your most important pages, but they’re all pretty obvious. Something companies can start doing immediately is testing different content topics and ideas via social advertising to learn more about what resonates with their audience. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn advertising can give you a lot of great information on what your audience really cares about. This is obviously dependent on that company’s audience being on social in the first place.

What common mistake do you see marketers making that drives you nuts?

Not trying anything new. It scares me when I hear marketers tell me they’re running the exact same playbook from 3 years ago. They come up with an annual plan and then just copy and paste it each year.

(This would have been measuring ROI from marketing activities, but often that problem isn’t because of the marketer — it’s because of the crappy software they’re being forced to use.)

How many people are on your team? What are the roles?

There are 12 of us (including me). They are broken down into:

  • A Demand Generation team who do a lot of our database marketing, email/landing page optimisation and support our campaigns team.
  • A Campaigns team who are focused on generating new leads for the business (they are a bunch of really creative and data focused people who run inbound campaigns across EMEA in a range of languages.)
  • A Growth team who are responsible for growing our organic traffic globally.
  • A Partner Marketing team who do inbound marketing for the agency side of our business, plus figure out how they can help to make our existing partners a lot more successful.

In a marketing team of 3 people, what roles would you want covered?

This is a great question and really difficult to answer. The answer will differ based on so many factors. However, I’ll give it my best shot!

I would hire:

  • Someone who just gets top of funnel. They get content, SEO, social. They have a track record of being able to attract an audience to something. They know how to promote the hell out of stuff and come up with ideas that will get a bunch of attention.
  • A full time content wizard to work with that person
  • What I call a ‘marketing geek’. They want to improve things. They’ll constantly try to improve the conversion rates on their emails or landing They’ll find interesting ways to do social advertising. They’ll go and learn, leverage Datanyze, scrape a bunch of data and append it to the database so they can send more targeted emails.



3XE Digital has just announced that the Founder & CEO of WordStream, Larry Kim has been announced as the first keynote speaker at their next conference.  3XE Digital is now Ireland’s largest dedicated digital marketing conference series, with topics including Search, Social Media, Content Marketing, Inbound and Mobile Marketing.

This one-day, action packed conference takes place in Croke Park, Dublin on 22nd October 2015.

Larry Kim is the founder of WordStream, a leading search marketing software and services provider based in Boston, managing approximately a half-Billion in annual ad spend across thousands of customers. He regularly shares his advice and insight with a million monthly visitors at his WordStream Blog and is a columnist and top contributor for leading industry publications: Inc. Magazine, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and Social Media Today.

Larry is has spoken at numerous industry events including INBOUND, SMX, ClickZ/SES, Pubcon, PPC Hero Conference, SEMPDX, State of Search, and many others. He was recently named “Most Influential PPC Expert” for 2013 and 2014 by PPC Hero Blog and marketing agency 3Q Digital and won ClickZ’s Digital Marketing Hall of Fame and Small Business Influencer awards in 2013.

Kim, named “Most Influential PPC Expert” for 2013 and 2014 by PPC Hero, is the first of a number of keynote speakers to be announced for this next conference.

He will be talking about PPC marketing including Adwords, Google’s Display Network and new social ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Ahead of his talk on the key trends impacting the future of Pay-Per Click marketing, we caught up with Larry and asked him about his presentation:

3XE: What is your presentation about?

LK: During the last 10 years, my work has focused on PPC, SEO and social media marketing so I’m thrilled to have been invited to share my insight into a sector that I have been working in for the last decade. In my keynote at 3XE, I’ll share some of the main trends that digital marketers need to know about, with specific focus on the future of Pay-Per-Click marketing, including search, display and social ads. I’ll go into detail and share actionable strategies and tips about how you and your business can take full advantage of AdWords, Google Display Network, Facebook Ads, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

What will be the primary takeaway points?

Attendees to 3XE will get a real and valuable understanding of advanced PPC marketing strategies, along with a series of how to implement a successful tactical PPC plan.

Describe some of the greatest changes that have been affecting the digital marketing sector over the past 12 months?

The shift to mobile has been impossible for advertisers to ignore. More than just a different way of viewing ads, mobile also requires a different approach on bidding, creative and targeting.

What do you think is the next big thing that savvy digital marketers need to watch for the remainder of the year and on into 2016?

One of the trends and challenges facing digital marketing professionals is the requirement to market to specific individuals within highly targeted demographics – this is sure to open up a whole plethora of exciting new PPC marketing uses.

If you were starting out, what insights would you share with a newbie digital marketer?

Stay current. Google AdWords and Facebook are leading the pack in new features and tools for advertisers, but across platforms there’s a massive advantage to being a first-adopter. The latest ad formats and functions often reward quality advertising strategy with more impressions, more display space and greater functionality (e.g. Google AdWords extensions). Testing out the possibilities, and taking advantage of these benefits by being first on the scene with new ad strategies, is a huge advantage.

Book Early Bird Tickets for as little as €99.00 here.

Also, Larry Kim has recently launched MobileMonkey – Chatbots for Marketers with No Coding Required! You now have chance to enable mobile messaging between businesses  and customers, sign up for free at