Digital marketing: key learnings from Digitalium, 2019

Instagram, YouTube, SEO, LinkedIn, Facebook, email marketing, and digital strategy. Hot topics in today’s online world, and at the same time everchanging ones, with endless space for development, exploration, and learning. One of the biggest conferences (900+ attendees) in Romania around these topics is Digitalium, and we attended the 2nd edition. Speakers with a relevant and impressive background in each field took the stage. While not everyone impressed me, I did manage to take at least a few key ideas from each of them. In the lines below, a summary of my notes from each speaker. It’s advisable from time to time to disconnect from your daily job, see what others do, and get a fresh perspective on how you can improve your work.

Dan Knowlton – Instagram Advertainment: How To Market on Instagram in 2019

  • The advertising that works makes the consumer feel something, generate emotions, trust, it’s fun to consume and, in general, doesn’t look like an ad
  • That is why it is called advertainment: advertising + entertainment
  • A good case study: Unilad, university lads life, intended to bring entertainment during the tedious study hours
  • Instagram advertainment starts with (1) understanding your audience, really meeting them in real life to get to know them intimately, continues with (2) ‘getting’ and using relevant cultural situations these people relate to, (3) integrating your brand and these cultural situation in an entertaining way and (4) amplifying and optimizing your Instagram distribution through all the platform’s features
  • An epic of how to fail in all these: Microsoft’s Windows 7 watch party “global movement”. Watch it below, with funny comments from Izzy Nobre to make it enjoyable

Dan ranked the top 100 Digital Marketing influencers; he’s a social media marketer and a keynote speaker, and the co-founder of Knowlton Digital Marketing Agency, UK. 

Goldie Chan – LinkedIn’s Top Rules

  • Native video is the best way to organically grow your brand on LinkedIn, especially as it is such an untapped yet territory
  • Decide on one keyword you want to influence or rank on, and focus your thought leadership content around that
  • Don’t use more than three hashtags on your LinkedIn posts. It’s not Instagram
  • Tag friends to grow your follower base
  • Don’t add a link to the post when aiming to reach a high audience on LinkedIn. The link should on your first comment to the post, after 1 or 2 days from the post itself

Goldie, also called LinkedIn’s “Oprah,” is a digital marketing expert, keynote speaker, and a top LinkedIn video creator, featured in Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Fast Co., & many others.

Derral Eves – YouTube Superstars

  • Why did the #SquattyPotty commercial work so well? (see the commercial below)
  • YouTube’s goal is to make you stay longer on the platform; therefore its AI will track your preferences to predict better and better what is that you want to watch next 
  • YouTube’s AI tracks your preferences based on likes, what you view, what you skip, how long you watch something, whether you come back to continue watching or to watch again
  • To go mainstream, your video needs to include pop culture elements from its target audience 
  • The titles and thumbnails can make a video stand out, so these need to be tested all the time, and the video content needs to deliver on the promises made by the title and thumbnail
  • YouTube classifies the reasons people stay on the platform and watch videos into – see also the carousel below: (1) be inspired and entertained, (2) looking for instructions, (3) find out more about the products they are looking to buy, (4) learn, research and explore and (5) looking for recommendations of places to go to, for dinner or on holiday.

Derral is one of the world’s top YouTube and online video marketing experts, husband, father of five, geek, passionate YouTube expert, & Online Marketing strategist.

Kelvin Newman – How we can respond to the ever-changing face of Google Search Result Pages?

  • SEO features and rules change all the time, and this is visible on the search engine results page (SERP)
  • MOZ is the place to go to keep up to date in terms of SEO
  • 50% of the searches are zero-clicks ones, meaning they are more informational than transactional
  • HTML is the structured data that translates your website pages and tells Google what you have in there
  • A website will rank high only if it has good content and is trustworthy by Google’s rules
  • Some tools recommended to find keywords people use in their searches: Ubersuggest, and Answer the Public 

You can take a look at the slides Kevin walked us through at Digitalium:

Kelvin is the founder and managing director at Rough Agenda, the company behind BrightonSEO, a stupidly popular search marketing conference in the UK.


Early Game Venture invited six of their winning startups to pitch their ideas, and it was an inspiring moment to see how creative our peers are, in all domains. The startups were:

  • Underline: allows you to take a photo of the quotes you like to save from a book, turn them into text and have them in one place. Works the same with Kindle highlights, and it is entirely free. You can download it from (Google Play & Apple Store)
  • Bunnyshell: a web platform that allows you to easily take your app to the cloud and make it scalable based on needs
  • Watto: ultra-fast charging stations for electric cars
  • Adiem: collects our heartbeat information from wearables to synchronize it collectively to help us better integrate into groups and be more productive
  • Symphopay: integrating payments and loyalty programs for banks and retail
  • Roboself: if RPA is for big businesses, Roboself takes the same technologies (UiPath is a partner) turning them into a robotic personal assistant for small and medium enterprises, automating most of the accounting tasks for example

Jessica Best – The Good, the Bad & the Wow!

I think this was the talk I loved the most and found it useful. Moreover, it was about… email marketing! If all social media and paid advertising deal with putting your brand out there and convince people to go on the 1st date with you, email marketing is about the 2nd date. Where you already have the consent from a database that wants to hear from you, how do you turn them into clients?

  • ROI for email marketing can go up to $38 for each $1 invested
  • The anatomy of an email: subject line (first 25 characters are most important as that’s how much of the email title gets displayed on mobile, 80 characters max), pre-header, branded graphic header (no text on it, half-width), main message, CTA, supporting messaging and footer (where you put all the legal compliance stuff)
  • The Good:
    • Getting your message delivered, based on your brand’s reputation and your database permission
    • GDPR makes it all easy (you wouldn’t agree to that typically)
    • Set and follow a content plan to include a flow across all channels: campaigns, social, email, exciting pieces of content
    • Use data as the email marketing secret weapon, even if just from past emails
    • Test. Offers especially, see what resonates
  • The Bad:
    • Don’t start from scratch, use content you already have developed
    • Don’t use just one big image with all the text and offers on it. Most users have the picture showing feature turned off
    • Use Litmus to see how emails look on all client emails before you send them out
    • Your CTA should be a flawless, bulletproof button: text on a highlighted area with a link. No image
    • NEVER buy a media list. Pay instead for media building
    • Don’t ignore mobile users; in some countries, they make up to 50% of the readers. If your email doesn’t work on mobile, people delete it or even unsubscribe!
    • Do not send before doing a flight-check using spam filters
  • The Waw:
    • Pre-headers sell, especially when making a right combination with the subject line
    • Video is king, but do not embed it. Use a screenshot with a link
    • Don’t just sell via email. Tell stories
    • Journey-based emails drive ROI
    • Give your fans a megaphone, for them to become your ambassadors

On the pop-quiz below, most of the audience at the conference answered C. Still, A generated most clicks. Do you know why?

Jessica is VP of Data-Driven Marketing (email, mobile, customer marketing) at Barkley US, speaker, strategist, and lover of a good story. 

Andrew Pickering and Peter Gartland – How to Be Remarkable: The Unusual Yet Proven Path to Marketing Success.

  • Posting something isn’t always better than posting nothing
  • Better do something memorable in one place (90% of your marketing efforts), remarkably well, and keeping the 10% for experimenting
  • See what works and allocate efforts into building on that
  • Find the fun in your marketing

Andrew and Pete, international keynote speakers, authors, and YouTubers, are the multi-award-winning fun business duo who help small business owners scale their business so they can stop swapping time for money.

Randi Zuckerberg – Digital World

Randi is Mark’s sister, who helped him and the Facebook team since their early days with digital marketing. Her speech was cheerful, full of authentic stories, like the birth of Lives on Facebook, in a very entertaining style.

  • Being one of the only women in Silicon Valley at the time, Randi got into many meetings where she was expected to be a male (“helps being called Randi”)
  • In many situations, she asked herself “What would my male colleagues do?” to make better decisions, and alleviate shyness or the thinking that her ideas are stupid
  • Live is still the way to create scarcity with content. If you’ve missed it, it’s gone
  • She longed to sing on Broadway but managed to get there at some point. Dreams do come true
  • Her personal brand is “being awkward.”
  • In a world of digital everything, the best advice is to unplug from time to time

Randi is a speaker, host at SiriusXM, New York Times bestseller, DOT Complicated radio show, EP at DOT TV Show, founder of Sues Tech Kitchen, creator of The Fairy Fail, of Facebook Live and a mom.