Sneak peek: Red Ventures at SMX Advanced

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SMX Advanced is one of the biggest digital marketing conferences in the country (and the world?) that brings together marketing experts who specialize in paid search, SEO, paid social, and other specialties. After a rigorous and competitive selection process, we’re proud to announce that our own Michael Elkins and Jacob Virgil were chosen as speakers at this year’s conference!

Read on to learn more about our speakers and get a sneak peek of what they plan to share at SMX Advanced.


Speaker: Michael Elkins

Role at RV: Director on our Global Paid Media team, which works across all businesses at Red Ventures. In his five years here, he’s been a big advocate for ACE (R.I.P.) and D&E testing, and he’s played a large role in building a universal testing strategy at RV to improve accuracy and intentionality.

What he’s presenting at SMX Advanced: “How digital marketers can leverage Google Drafts & Experiments to maximize performance in their accounts.”

What it means: Testing isn’t just the fun part of Paid Advertising; it’s incredibly essential to the evolution of accounts. Effective split testing is a two-pronged problem. First, you have to know how to technically implement the test. Second, you have to know how to pull effective business decisions out of your results.

Advertisers MUST look through the full conversion funnel in order to make sure the changes we implement are having the intended effects on our KPIs. Nothing gets me more amped up than when different parts of the funnel contradict themselves. (It’s like a puzzle…and I love puzzles.)

I plan to address both of these topics in my presentation. From a technical perspective, I’ll walk through the history of split testing in paid advertising, discuss the technical advantages of D&E, and then provide four tangible tests advertisers can immediately implement within their accounts. Throughout all of this, I’ll show you why it’s important to keep your business’ primary KPI in mind as you’re interpreting test results.

If that’s not enough, I also promise to deliver Pokemon, controversial sporting references, canine ad copy, and a pretty spiffy sport jacket.

Outside of paid search: Michael’s also been working closely with our Customer Experience team to optimize our mobile experience by decreasing load time and bounce rate. Historically, we have been primarily focused on how changes to our landing pages impact down funnel KPIs (call-in rate, profit per visit), but now we are leveraging Drafts & Experiments to measure the impact on up funnel KPIs (Quality Score, CPCs, CTRs) as well.

Fun fact: Michael’s passion for precision carries through to other aspects of his daily life. For example, he only changes his television and radio volume in multiples of 5.



Speaker: Jacob Virgil

Role at RV: Senior SEO Analyst

What he’s presenting at SMX Advanced: “Red Ventures Ranking Signals Study”

What it means: Jacob will dissect ranking signals and how they can help us predict a site’s organic ranking in Google, with a focus on using data science to determine the signals’ relative value compared to each other. There’s so much grey area in SEO, so he wants to try and shine a light on the subject.  He also was inspired by a similar annual study from Marcus Tober, in which he built correlations around a variety of ranking factors.

Outside of SEO: This year Jacob worked with our engineering team to rebuild our proprietary tracking software into a more effective, efficient, and useful software that we’re now beginning to roll out to all our sites here at RV.

Fun fact: When he’s not working to rank sites, you can catch him pretty much anywhere outside. He enjoys mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater kayaking, and running in his free time. When he’s not in the woods, he’s working with it; Jacob loves woodworking and has built benches and tables for his family.

Meet our speakers in person and learn more about how you can optimize both your SEO and Paid Search at their panels at SMX Advanced! If you can’t make it, follow our SMX adventures on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @RedVentures.


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