Snapchat announces keynote speaker for Benchmark 2019

Benchmark, the North of England’s number one conference for in-house search marketers, is returning on the 11th September for its fifth year, and do we have some news for you!

This year we are pleased to announce that our keynote speaker is none other than Sam Bevan, International Head of Emerging at Snap Inc.

Sam’s talk – Achieving business success on Snapchat- will cover some of the developments they have seen in the industry and will look at how businesses can work in both emerging markets and with new technologies.

Sam explains how businesses of all sizes can meet their advertising goals on Snapchat. He will encourage this year’s audience to learn more about the platform, audience, and ad products that make Snapchat a unique and effective place to grow a business.

In his time with the company Sam has seen Snapchat develop numerous tools that enable marketers to grow and communicate with their consumers in an effective way on the platform.

He will use his time on stage to show how to work across the continuously evolving and interconnected set of tools they produce, all of which share a common foundation for generating app installs, increasing revenue and exceeding customers’ expectations.

His session will pull on examples of different businesses of all shapes and sizes currently working with the platform.

About Sam

Sam joined Snap Inc. as the founding member of Snapchat’s Emerging International team in October 2016. Prior to joining Snap, Sam worked with SMB clients at both Google and Facebook. Sam brings a wealth of expertise in the digital advertising landscape and can advise on the strategies that can drive success across all verticals, for businesses of all sizes. As Snapchat’s Emerging International Lead, Sam can also help businesses in the region navigate new platforms and exceed their performance goals.

So whether you’re new to search, or an established professional, Benchmark will help to prepare you for the future of search and will offer you insights from some of the world’s largest digital service providers.

This year’s conference promises to be the biggest and best yet, thanks in part to sponsors like OnCrawl and Ahrefs – we’d love for you to join us! Apply for your place at Benchmark 2019 today!

Google I/O 2019 strengthens the push for structured data


Structured data is important – we know this. In addition to a recent Google Webmaster Blog, Google dedicated a talk at I/O 2019 to the topic – allowing Google to again push the importance of schema mark-up and structured data to the future of search

Aylin Altiok intro

Altiok began with an overview of how ‘Google has been helping users discover great content’ on more than a billion devices – covering how the typical user journey has changed over the last 20 years – including the emergence of the mobile device, smart speakers and digital assistants.

google assistant commute

Google’s motivation, she says, is to bridge the gap between that great content and these new devices. That – and not the desire to render click-throughs redundant and stealing traffic and content from brand sites – is why Google are implementing new rich results. For example, they are now allowing video to be included in recipe schema.

Altiok then moved on to offer use cases for the new rich result types – demonstrating them in action with a site built to show how to make origami flowers, and producing a “how to” carousel across multiple devices.

how to carousel

Will Leszczuk

Following the use cases from Altiok, Leszczuk talked about implementation – beginning with an overview of the schema.og project. He recommends live editing code using the Google tool Rich Results Test – which offers a preview of the possible rich result achievable (this is the successor – I found out through this video – of Google’s structured data testing tool, apparently I was a little behind on this). The live demonstration took only a few minutes to implement a basic how to JSON-LD mark up and preview it, which should set a few minds to rest.

rich result preview

Leszczuk also talked through some new Search Console reports – including ‘Enhancement Reports’ and ‘Unparsable Structured Data’ report abd a ‘Search appearance’ report for both the how to and FAQ types. Following this, he walked through some of the top level features of the FAQ rich result.

FAQ rich result preview

A braver man than I, Leszczuk then makes his third device switch in a single talk (the idea of one switch is terrifying) – demonstrating the ability of the Google Assistant to return the right answer from an FAQ both when the query matched a specific FAQ question and even when it didn’t match exactly but the assistant was able to infer a connection. He then proceeded to offer some implementation tips for the schema attached to both new rich result types.

FAQ schema tips

Aylin Altiok on YouTube ‘How To’ Templates

For those content creators that don’t maintain a website, Altiok says, creators can create a host of rich content on the Google Assistant. The latest of which is a ‘how to’ type – requiring only time stamps for steps and some description in a Google Sheet template – producing a step by step video guide available on a range of Assistant enabled devices.

how to template
how to steps
how to preview

While this is only available as an ‘Action’ at the moment – meaning the user will essentially have to know what they’re looking for in advance, it seems reasonable to expect that this will roll over in to search at some point in the future – most likely with the addition of the video element to the how to schema (as has happened with the recipe schema), though the main obstacle would seem to be the necessity to either split the video in to multiple sections, or create a way for the schema to refer to specific timestamped URLs as they would an image URL. As things stand, I find it difficult to imagine that summoning specific actions for this kind of thing will become widespread, but it really depends on how the UI evolves over the next year or so.

how to video tips

Will Leszczuk session recap

Leszczuk offers a recap of the talk at the end, but the summary of this summary is that: Google is trying to take the strain off the developer community at large, attempting to do so by using an easily implemented form of structured data as a bridge between your great content and a growing number of rich results.

Some thoughts

Without getting too tinfoil-hattish – I do foresee a time when Google will use the content on the web to build custom experiences for each of its users; essentially providing a unique web for everyone from content available throughout the massive, distributed database it has at its disposal. Rich results are the start of this – mining your content to provide in SERP experiences for the user. Whether this will force a revenue sharing model remains to be seen – especially as many YouTube creators will have monetised such videos and are unlikely to want Google lifting these videos with no compensation, and publishers more generally are likely to lose traffic as the rich results cover more and more aspects of the user journey.

However, unless things change, brands are going to need to ensure that they’re implementing structured data to take advantage of these rich results in the short term – aiming to build their relationship with their users in SERPs.

The whole subject is one which greatly interests me and developments are coming thick and fast – with more of search and digital becoming reliant on correctly structured data. A few things we can assume with relative certainty are – structured data is going nowhere for the time being and will only increase in importance. Beyond that, we just have to make sure we keep up to date and see where it goes.

Speaking of keeping up to date, you can come along to our Benchmark conference to hear from Richard Wallis – one of the founders of