This Minnesotan was fortunate enough to catch a short winter break to attend and speak at the Pubcon South Florida Interactive Marketing Association (SFIMA) summit on February 24th & 25th in beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Below are just a handful of nuggets from the sessions. There were many, many compelling sessions and I obviously couldn’t attend them all, but these are the best takeaways I received.

 How about some Dashboards!

Analytics was a popular topic at Pubcon (as usual). Jenny Halasz and Jarret Streiner each gave excellent presentations on the art and science of dashboards. A few of the more notable insights include:

  • Always avoid data overload. There’s so much data available and it’s your job to distill it down to a digestible level, so use simple charts instead of pages of data.
  • Always start here:

How did people get to your site?

What did they do while they were there?

How and why did they leave?

  • There are great resources out there for building dashboards. Check out for some great templates to use.

Jenny even invited the audience to “steal one of her Google Analytics tricks”:

  • Log into Google Analytics
  • Click Here
  • Select the account to apply it to




Katy Katz gave a fantastic presentation on the value of storytelling. Some bottom line insights that apply to marketers and storytelling include:

  • It’s human nature to listen to stories
  • Storytelling helps you cut through the clutter and noise
  • Stories build memories which help people remember your brand
  • People don’t buy “what you do”, instead they buy “why you do it”

Personally, I can attest to the power of a good story. I show what I think is a compelling graph and no one will remember it. Tie the statistics in with a great story and it’ll not only be remembered, but repeated.

Lots of Options for Tools

>Keyhole – Real time hashtag tracker for multiple social media platforms

TrueSocialMetrics – Measure real active engagement of users on social media pages

Try My UI – Site and user interface usability testing

Userlytics – Site and user interface usability testing

Usabilla – Usability and feedback for websites and apps

Validately – Site and user interface usability testing

Hotjar – All in one heatmaps, recordings, form analysis, polls, and surveys

Social Chorus – Tool to help firms promote and manage employee engagement

Key Insights & One Liners

“People fumble through analytics like teenagers in a parked car”

Courtney Herda (@courtneyherda)


“Consumers are far more likely to make a purchase after a video”

– Michelle Held (@metrony)


“If you have any sort of manual action from Google (penalty), you did something to deserve it and should fix it”

– Marie Haynes (@marie_haynes)


– Rebecca Murtagh (@virtualmarketer)


“Your LinkedIn profile probably sucks”

– Matt Craine (@mattcraine)

Editors note: Checking mine now!


“We haven’t decreased the amount of time on desktop, we just also use mobile – a lot!”

– Lisa Buyer (@lisabuyer)


“Traffic Data is just an ego metric”

– Theresa Biacciocco (@teresabiacciocco)


“Stop doing 9/11 promotional tie in’s……you IDIOTS!”

– Simon Heseltine (@simonheseltine)


“If you don’t trust your employees to tweet, then you don’t trust your employees.”

– Scott Stratten (@unmarketing)


“Want to go viral? People spread emotion”

– Scott Stratten (@unmarketing)


“Stop trying to be FIRST!” Be RIGHT, first”

– Scott Stratten (@unmarketing)


“ROI can’t be measured if you don’t know where your investment went”

– Mana Ionescu (@manamica)


“Power of audience targeting: 2x CTRs, 1/2 CPCs, 2x conversion rates. One catch: volume is MUCH lower.”

– Larry Kim (@larrykim)


“My wife wanted cats. I didn’t. So we compromised and got 3.”

– Matt Siltala (@matt_siltala)


“If you have an article that goes viral, a high bounce rate is not necessarily bad because you got exposure.”

– Jenny Halasz (@jennyhalasz)

Pubcon started trending on Twitter

It’s no secret that the #Pubcon community is very active on social media. At about mid-day, it was fun to see it start to trend on Twitter!


Of course, trending on social media also has comes with a price (namely unwanted attention from spammers).


Epic Beards

Yes, there were beards. Epic beards. We’re talking beards that would put ZZ Top to shame (and yes, I’m jealous – doubt I could grow one like that)!


Left: Scott Stratten (@unmarketing)  Right: Matt Siltala (@matt_siltala)

Photo Credit: Melissa Fach (@seoaware)



Don’t forget Dave Snyder in the epic beard department (@davesnyder)

Photo Credit: Doug Haslam


It should be noted that these guys all had beards before they became the “in” thing and will continue to have them after the trend passes.


That’s a quick wrap. If you were at the conference, I’d love to hear some of your insights!