The 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016

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A couple of weeks ago, I heard a barber say you’re only as good as your last haircut. In marketing, this couldn’t be more accurate — using last year’s tactics just won’t cut it. Surely, you’re staying up to date on the latest marketing trends with blog posts, AMAs…

A couple of weeks ago, I heard a barber say you’re only as good as your last haircut. In marketing, this couldn’t be more accurate — using last year’s tactics just won’t cut it.

Surely, you’re staying up to date on the latest marketing trends with blog posts, AMAs and webinars. But sometimes, in order to level up, you need to step away from your desk and get a front-row seat to the action.

people having fun at Unbounce’s CTA conference
Knowledge learned in the flesh will help you reach new heights in 2016. Image via

With so many digital marketing conferences to choose from, we’ve selected the top marketing events we think will inspire and educate you in 2016.

These marketing conferences cover a variety of topics: content marketing, conversion optimization, design, email marketing, entrepreneurship, innovation, mobile, performance marketing, search, social, growth marketing, video marketing and local marketing.

If you’re on a mission to get some real life knowledge and socializing under your belt, here’s an epic list of the 20 most thought-provoking, engaging digital marketing conferences 2016 has to offer.

Bonus: to help with you whittle down your conference wish list, we found out what people had to say about last year’s conferences.

1. MozCon: September 12–14, 2016 (Seattle, Washington)

MozCon Logo
MozCon Logo

MozCon promises three days of actionable sessions, speakers sharing first-hand advice and fun networking events that won’t disappoint. If you’re looking to get exposed to what’s new in SEO, CRO, content marketing and community building, don’t wait too long to sign up.

Bonus: Roger, the cutest and cuddliest robot, will be there to give you a hug.

What last year’s attendees said:

“Essentially turning SEO on it’s head.” @randfish on how our search #ranking is determined now vs. then. #Mozcon2015 https://t.co/azm5pUigYz

— Geoffresh (@Geoffresh) September 28, 2015

Me and Roger chilling #Mozcon #mozcon2015 #seattle #usa #seo #seoconference #roger #moz #robot #bigkid by paulbags pic.twitter.com/hdXirc9UpQ — Otherbots (@Otherbots) July 14, 2015

2. Unbounce Call to Action Conference: June 19–21, 2016 (Vancouver, Canada)

CTA digital marketing conference
CTA digital marketing conference

Our very own Call to Action Conference brings together experts in conversion optimization, pay-per-click, email, copywriting and UX design. If your goal is to become a faster, better and stronger marketer, we have amazing hands-on workshops that will expand your skill set and help you get there. Vancouver is at its most charming in the month the June, not to mention the parties and the swag are pretty awesome! Come pay us a visit in Vancouver.

What last year’s attendees said:

Wouldn’t you want all conferences to share their slides like this? https://t.co/XqeqstLKQ5 #ctaconf — AndraZaharia (@AndraZaharia) November 25, 2015

I love this, “Marketing isn’t a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions” @taliawoods #CTAConf2015 — Christie (@savourylife) September 14, 2015

Loved the @copyhackers session from #ctaconf Data can kill #copy innovation. And stop being lazy and shy. — Titus Capilnean (@titus_k) October 1, 2015

3. ConversionXL Live: March 30–April 1, 2016 (Austin Area, Texas)

CXL image 2016
CXL image 2016

ConversionXL Live brings the top conversion optimization experts in the world together to teach you all their processes and methods. Unlike other conferences, networking is underlined and emphasized so you can further your learning while building relationships with your peers. If you’ve read Peep Laja’s ConversionXL blog, you know this is one of the most informative blogs on conversion optimization out there. And if this is an area you want to dominate, ConversionXL Live is one of the best marketing conferences out there.

What last year’s attendees said:

BIG thank you to @peeplaja and all the #cxllive team for an actionable and inspiring conference. Looking forward to the next! — Laura Hanly (@lauhanly) March 13, 2015

“Conversion is a journey, not a destination.” – @TheGrok #cxllive — Jean-Marc Buytaert (@jmbuytaert) March 13, 2015

4. MARTech: March 21–22, 2016 (San Francisco, CA) and October 20–21, 2016 (London, UK)

Digital Marketing Conference Martech
Digital Marketing Conference Martech

As the name MARTech implies, this conference is for hybrid professionals that are both marketing experts and technology savvy. This event blurs the lines between marketing and IT and introduces conference goers to new technologies that will influence the data science, growth-hacking and digital marketing landscapes.

What last year’s attendees said:

“Technology must become a part of marketing’s DNA” @BrinkerScott #martech #martechconf — Joni Tillström (@Jonisan) October 20, 2015

Strategy and technology should be intertwined in today’s landscape to get the best out of both #martechconf pic.twitter.com/qYdDbIi6ol — Jack Kirby (@Jack_Kirby) October 20, 2015

5. Hero Conf: April 25–27, 2016 (Philadelphia, PA) and October 24–26, 2016 (London, UK)

Hero Conference
Hero Conference

Hero Conf is one of the top marketing conferences for marketers who want to focus on improving their PPC skills. This PPC theme allows for actionable takeaways focused on improving your strategy around paid ads and data on LinkedIn, Bing, Google, Facebook and more. A low speaker-to-attendee ratio means that networking and nightly events are both fun and informative.

What last year’s attendees said:

Omg @larrykim is f#@king hilarious at #HeroConf loving his three presentations :) — Oli Gardner (@oligardner) April 27, 2015

Could not be more impressed with the @Hanapin team for throwing such a fabulous #HeroConf and everyone of them is so friendly :) — Megan Ginecki (@megan_ginecki) April 27, 2015

6. WistiaFest: June 5–7, 2016 (Boston, MA)

Wistia image
Wistia image

WistiaFest delivers you three days of video marketing insights, data, analytics content and more from some of the industry’s top professionals from around the world. This is an important event for marketers who use video in their marketing efforts and want to see where the future of video lies, and who want to catch up with their peers at one of the best video marketing conferences.

What last year’s attendees said:

Just a great workshop in the last day of #wistiafest Lot of great takeaways for us to examine back at HQ. :) — SL3Productions (@SL3Productions) May 22, 2014

The more we use @wistia the more I love it. And I’m not just saying that because #WistiaFest was awesome. #video #analytics — Frank Conjerti (@fdc245) July 24, 2015

I got what I came to #WistiaFest for. A selfie with Lenny :) pic.twitter.com/avfXEzhDc9 — Austin Saylor (@austin__saylor) May 21, 2015

7. MozCon Local: February 18–19, 2016 (Seattle, Washington)

Mozcon local image
Mozcon local image

If you’re part of a local business and want to gain insights and knowledge on local SEO and other marketing tools, this is a great event that will feed your SEO and marketing hunger. MozCon Local will arm you with knowledge as well as tactical tips in the form of talks, workshops and cool networking events in lovely Seattle. What more could you want in a conference?

What last year’s attendees said:

Be a big fish in whatever pond you’re in. It’s not about business…it’s about community. @MikeRamsey @Moz #MozCon #Local — Ashley Oakes Scott (@AshleyOakes) July 14, 2014

Power of search graph for #local. @davidmihm Promote sharing not liking on #facebook and start driving check-ins & reviews #mozcon . — Jessie Low (@LowJessie) July 15, 2015

8. ad:tech: November 2–3, 2016 (New York City, NY)

Adtech image
Adtech image

ad:tech is an event held in eight countries that covers the changing landscape of advertising technology. The event is for marketers, brand strategists, agencies and publishers. ad:tech helps you navigate the evolution of key technologies and keeps you ahead of the curve so that you can drive innovation within your brand or agency.

What last year’s attendees said:

We had a great time at #adtechNY Enjoyed @jay_henderson‘s comments on tech and smart #innovation Cheers @adtech Bring on next year! — Reel Feed (@reelfeedtv) November 24, 2015

We went to @adtech last week and had 4 Incredible #Mobile Revelations #adtechNY https://t.co/pNgK8p7zpF pic.twitter.com/XU1dlYhwmp — Marchex (@Marchex) November 13, 2015

9. Marketing United: April 18–20, 2016 (Nashville, TN)

United image
United image

Marketing United is bringing some of the world’s top marketers to Nashville to share their tips, tricks and stories to help inspire you. Each session promises to be informative and exciting, not to mention the venue is steps away from great food and music à la Nashville.

What last year’s attendees said:

When you get back to the office the Monday after a conference and you’re like OH GOD EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE. #MarketingUnited @emmaemail — Kayla Nicole (@kaylaaanicole) May 4, 2015

Is that @jaybaer I see :) RT @bekaiswright: Cannot express how awesome the #MarketingUnited conference was! … pic.twitter.com/AkHGHLuHAE — RochelleVeturisColes (@RochelleVeturis) May 3, 2015

If you didn’t attend #MarketingUnited, you didn’t get @emmaemail‘s handy email guide. Im here for ya. (Part 1) pic.twitter.com/5dgNbUHegc — Danielle Eldredge (@DaniellEldredge) May 6, 2015

10. Advocamp: March 7–9, 2016 (San Francisco, CA)

Advocamp image
Advocamp image

If you’ve got customer growth and development on the brain then Advocamp is one of the best marketing conferences for you. Advocamp is the only conference that focuses on customer delight all while providing you with the tools to build a viable business strategy. Not to mention they take the conference’s name seriously and pair attendees into smaller “camp” groups. This is Advocamp’s second year, and it’s sure not to disappoint.

What last year’s attendees said:

#advocamp keeps delivering value to attendees :) Keith Ferrazzi’s Post-Conference Follow-up Tips http://t.co/YvB1ssLlMP — Jim Williams (@jimcwilliams) March 27, 2015

Congrats on a very successful inaugural #Advocamp @influitive Thanks for having it with us! :) — Hotel Nikko SF (@HotelNikkoSF) March 26, 2015

“You can’t have happy customers without happy employees” @FredReichheld http://t.co/NYlhYUiYfl #advocamp via @influitive — Perrie (@MktgGal) September 1, 2015

11. C2 Montreal: May 24–26, 2016 (Montreal, Canada)

C2 logo Marketing Conference
C2 logo Marketing Conference

C2 focuses on creativity and commerce by bringing together some of the most innovative thought leaders across various disciplines. Not only does creativity take center stage, it also makes an appearance after hours. C2 has created some of the most engaging and entertaining networking events all with the help of Quebec’s own Cirque du Soleil. Get exposed to innovation and creativity from all facets of the business world.

What last year’s attendees said:

#C2Montreal ~ social enterprise bridging the imagination gap… #LivefromEarth pic.twitter.com/mJTmIAkSMI — Terry Torok (@livefromearth) May 29, 2015

How C2Montréal Challenged Attendees to Take Risks http://t.co/2nsg5KO9bt @BizBash #eventprofs #C2Montréal #innovation pic.twitter.com/xjd38NsQ6Q — Business Solutions (@Disney_Business) June 25, 2015

12. Searchlove: May 3–4, 2016 (Boston, MA) and October 17-18, 2016 (London, UK)

Searlove Logo
Searlove Logo

This two-day event attracts some of the world’s top online marketing talent and covers a variety of topics from search, analytics and paid to content strategy and optimization. With actionable advice, tips and processes, SearchLove is filled with the information you need to push your career forward.

What last year’s attendees said:

I’ve learned that I don’t know anything about #SEO. Some brilliant ideas being shared @distilled #SearchLove2015 Time for a #Rethink — Chris Do (@theChrisDo) September 11, 2015

We had a blast at @distilled‘s #SearchLove London! Here are our musings, highlights, & tips: https://t.co/0PcLSeEzbI pic.twitter.com/ThJNq6kjER — Render Positive (@renderpositive) November 3, 2015

13. SXSW Interactive: March 11–15, 2016 (Austin, Texas)

SXSW logo
SXSW logo

Considered one of the top marketing events out there, SXSW Interactive has historically been the place to launch your product and boost your career. With a guest list brimming with the who’s who in the industry, this event is usually packed with stars from the digital world as well as Hollywood. It’s also one of the best conferences work on your networking skills. SXSW Interactive puts an emphasis on innovation and the changing digital landscapes. If you’re a startup or looking to launch your product, SXSW Interactive may be the place for you.

What last year’s attendees said:

SXSW15 Brain Food by @jaded_jasmine including monkey drones, flying cars and bonkers AI #sxsw #sxsw15 http://t.co/pNONiilVeO — Ben Cooper (@TreatYourself) April 20, 2015

Great @reddit meetup! Thanks to @loganWTF @loganfor cohosting and everyone who stopped by :) #sxsw15 pic.twitter.com/NA91UT0cdD — happysquid (@happysquid) March 15, 2015

14. Intelligent Content Conference: March 7–9, 2016 (Las Vegas, NV)

ICC Best Marketing Conference 2016
ICC Best Marketing Conference 2016

If you’ve been looking to improve your content strategy skills, ICC is that best marketing conference to help you up your game. With topics covering how to scale content production, reusing and repurposing legacy content and diffusion of content on different platforms, ICC is one of the most on-point content marketing conferences out there.

What last year’s attendees said:

“Serious doesn’t have to mean boring” – If only my university applied these guidelines on the course material :-) #intelcontent — Yorick Vingerhoets (@YorickVi) March 18, 2015

I love how @mark_f uses the term “content choreography” to describe how users move through break points in a website. #intelcontent — Carmen Hill (@carmenhill) March 24, 2015

15. Inbound: November 8–11, 2016 (Boston, MA)

Inbound logo 2016
Inbound logo 2016

Inbound’s four-day event has over 170 training sessions, five keynotes and lots of entertaining and fun activities at night. Past entertainment has included the likes of Amy Schumer and Janelle Monáe. With 14,000 attendees, the event is a huge opportunity to network and see some of the best professionals in the marketing industry.

Pro tip: Inbound is a huge event with lots of great workshops and speakers happening at the same time. Make a list of the events that you’d like to attend in advance to get the most of out of your experience.

What last year’s attendees said:

Eat failure for breakfast so you can dine on success for dinner. @motoceo @kristen_vaughn #INBOUND15 #DF15 — Jill Rowley (@jill_rowley) September 15, 2015

“The job isn’t to catch up to the status quo; the job is to invent the status quo.” -Seth Godin https://t.co/6KoODYljIr #INBOUND15 — Jewell D (@JewellD3) January 19, 2016

Woot @OScampington in the news! you saw him first @ #INBOUND15 (https://t.co/BbjdgopGCt) https://t.co/G7snOMm0mf — Laura Fitton (@Pistachio) January 26, 2016

16. Search Marketing Summit: May 30–June 3, 2016 (Sydney, Australia)

SMS logo 2016
SMS logo 2016

If you’re living down under or you’ve always wanted to visit, Search Marketing Summit is the number one event of its kind in Australia. This five-day event is packed with advanced workshops that cover topics from mobile, search and email marketing. Search Marketing Summit is a great way to update your skills and advance your knowledge in just a few days.

What last year’s attendees said:

Thanks #SMXSydney for an excellent week. Somebody please buy Barry, Briony and team a beer. Thanks @dr_pete @methode @JonasWeber_com #SMX — Sha Menz (@ShahMenz) May 14, 2015

All SSL Certificates are equal regardless of price for ranking purposes #smxsydney #smx via @WojKwasi >> good to know — Dino Quarin (@Dino_Quarin) May 15, 2015

Time to step it up

Attending conferences is important because they push you out of your professional habits and routines and expose you to new technologies, trends and people.

We’ve armed you with the a list of the best digital marketing conferences of 2016 that will provide you with the right tools and knowledge to level up your marketing game. It’s up to you to make the next move.

Your personal growth and that of your agency or company depend on it.

blog cta image
blog cta image
About Helen Arceyut Frixione

Helen is a Writer and Content Strategist at Unbounce. She’s worked in startup, agency and freelance environments. With a marketing background in social media strategy, community management and user acquisition, she loves using data to inform herself, but also enjoys the occasional animated cat gif. Find her on Twitter @haaf


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