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SASCon 2017 – A playful take on search and social


SASCon 2017 – A playful take on search and social

Last week, the Engage Web team made its annual trip up the M56 to Manchester to attend SASCon 2017 – an event filled with information, sweets and Jon Burkhart’s ginger balls.

Burkhart opened the conference this year, having been given the graveyard slot of closing it two years ago. His talk was centred around how curiosity can help you to improve yourself and your company in the workplace, and that it can have great effects on success. Burkhart demonstrated his points in some very interactive and entertaining ways which included throwing cards and his handmade pig-headed trophies across the room. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for Jon to get out his Nerf gun, as I’m sure that would have been very entertaining.

Jon presented an interesting slide at the beginning of his presentation, which I’ve included below:

SASCon Image 1

It details statistics for the events that happen on the internet in one minute in 2017, and some of them are quite staggering. For example, 900,000 people log in to Facebook each minute, 4.1 million YouTube videos are watched and 156 million emails are sent. This highlights the importance of communication and how social media has shaped our online behaviour. Burkhart was quick to point out that nearly a million swipes are made on dating site Tinder each minute, before asking if any of the audience were guilty of swiping during his speech.

Another thing I took from this one was that the most spoken language in the world was Emoji, thanks to the rise of social media and mobile platforms. After his presentation, Jon kept popping up throughout the day as a form of entertainment, inviting delegates to his dodgeball competition, which kept getting postponed due to health and safety reasons!

Even before the start of day 2, he was there creating ‘Pig Pong’, an unusual take on table tennis that saw the traditional paddles replaced by rubber pig toys. An interesting way to start the day!

The final talk of the conference was delivered by David Norris from Snapchat. This was a very interactive talk that encouraged all users to play around with the picture-messaging platform. Norris had even created a filter on the app especially for the event:

SASCon Image 2

The talk presented some interesting stats, which demonstrated the year-on-year success of the company. For example, Snapchatters spend more than 30 minutes a day on the platform, which is up from last year when users spent an average of 25 mins a day snapping away. Furthermore, three billion Snapchat messages are sent on a daily basis. As well as this, 46% of its user base is unique to the platform, with this percentage of users not being found on other networks such as Instagram.

Another interesting point presented in this session was that Snapchat uses some out-of-the-box metrics to measure success. One of the main ones the company uses is ‘measure by play time’. This metric measures the average length that users play with the different filters and lenses on the platform. regardless of whether it results in a sent snap.

There was plenty to take away from SASCon this year. Personally, I took home 18 pages of notes, 10 bags of sweets and a somewhat unwarranted ‘legend of dodgeball’ status.

Alan Littler

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