The Ardent digital marketing team traveled to San Diego last month for the annual Traffic & Conversion Summit (T&C) put on by Digital Marketer. Because there were so many different sessions to choose from, each of us returned home with different takeaways. Maybe you’ll learn something by reading about what we learned and discovering new resources we plan to explore further. From three team members, in their own words (by order of how they turned in the written version of their takeaways, so nobody can complain about favoritism):


As a content creator, one of the most compelling insights I received at T&C is invaluable for anyone who wants to effectively and quickly build a brand’s social media presence. Essentially, the importance of the audience’s point-of-view when producing content is unparalleled. Unless you really strive to get into the mind of the audience – their behaviors, their beliefs – your content simply will not resonate with them. But most importantly, you have to ask yourself: is this something my audience would be proud to share with their friends and family? Does this content represent some value my audience holds dear? Is it something they’d be proud for others to know about them? If the answer is no, you’re just screaming into the void.


One of the best things about conferences is their notoriety for presenting new tools and resources. As a bibliophile and aspiring nerd, I walked away from the Traffic & Conversion Summit with the following books on my to-read list and AI tools to learn more about:


  • Hacking Marketing by Scott Brinker
  • Lean Analytics by Harry Altman
  • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions by Dr. Dan Ariely
  • Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin by Loretta Graziano Breuning
  • Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover
  • Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins
  • Testing Advertising Methods by John Caples
  • The Wizard of Ads trilogy by Roy H. Williams
  • Automate This by Christopher Steiner
  • The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos
  • Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz (Anybody have a copy I can borrow? It’s almost $400 on Amazon.)

AI tools for digital marketing

  • Crayon Intel — essentially an AI spy that tracks your competitors’ online activity
  • Pathmatics — an AI spy to track social ads of your competitors
  • Phrasee — reads an email and recommends the subject line most likely to elicit an “open”
  • Acrolinx — an AI editor that can be trained to look for your brand’s tone and style (like it would be if could learn new things)
  • Sentient Ascend — A/B test exponentially faster with an evolutionary algorithm
  • Albert — adjusts digital ad spend for enterprises in real time
  • Growth Bot — a chatbot that talks to the analytics systems you already use (Hubspot and Google Analytics, for starters)

HT: to Ryan Deiss and Paul Roetzer for the resource recommendations


Video content is king. The days of pushing people to blogs or long form content to peak their interest in you are fading away. More and more, people are not clicking on links, but stopping to watch videos in their feeds or even being caught by surprise by a clever YouTube pre-roll ad. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, agencies are going to need to invest in video production, not just great blog content. Written words still matter for SEO, but they are losing their power as a marketing tool for the sale.

The age of the landing page may be coming to a close. You can pixel a person who watches your video long enough, no need for a landing page there. Now with messenger bots, you can have a native, on-platform interaction with a person and your brand, and they are giving you their messenger info instead of having to fill out an email form. You can also tailor the conversation to the specific person and increase conversions instead of making a landing page that only addresses a majority of visitors.

Everything is constantly in flux, so roll with the punches.