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Gary Vaynerchuk’s Keynote – Traffic & Conversion Summit 2016 Notes

I was super excited for the privilege to attend the Traffic & Conversion Summit 2016 (as a sponsor). On the speakers’ list was Gary Vaynerchuk who I knew I HAD to see after reading his book “Crush It”.

On day 1 of the festivities, Gary ended the madness with his keynote speech. It was kind of an amazing moment witnessing him live. Admittedly, I was never a huge fan, though I had read his book. I remember feeling like the book was a bit on the fluff side, and when I watched his YouTube videos I just thought he was a very extreme character, to the point where it was a bit more than I could handle. I was not sure what to expect checking him out on stage. BUT, I’m really glad I stayed to watch his speech because he was hilariously entertaining and knowledgeable, and I definitely took away a few bullet points from his talk.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s Speech

Gary’s thing is he’s able to spot the next hot trend before it becomes popular. He built his Wine TV empire on YouTube, 2-3 years before YouTube was trending. In fact when he started, no videos had hit 1 million views at the time, and he hustled away though he saw no return financially or even socially until years later. He also talked about how he utilized Google AdWords before people even knew what Google was. At the time Gary was getting clicks on AdWords for a (now-laughable) 5 cents per click. These ads drove an extreme amount of traffic and conversions to his site, and it took an astounding 9 months before getting topped at his 5 cent CPC. If only we got to capitalize on AdWords before it got expensive!


The Next Big Thing?

So what does Gary think the next big thing will be? He claims: Snapchat.

Honestly? I can see that. In a world where attention span is quickly dying, Snapchat is a platform in which you’re actually forced to click a button to see what people have to say via videos and pictures. But since it’s the only way you can see what you’re missing out on, people will voluntarily click to check out the snaps and stories. Snapchat essentially capitalizes on the current FOMO & ADHD generation. Impressions aren’t as important as attention now.

Side Note: Gary’s Personality

Gary has this demeanor about him that is so blunt, cocky, and extroverted it takes you by surprise when you’re first seeing him in person. He was continuously cursing and yelling, making rude insults, and complimenting himself but it was honestly hilarious. This type of behavior can either go one way or the other for me, but during this speech I took it all positively and laughed throughout.

And another thing I respect about him is he hustled. He told some little anecdotes about his friend wishing he were Gary. And Gary’s response? “Remember when you went out to Jersey Shore and banged fucking chicks? I worked.” Gary would work from 7 AM to 10 PM 7 days a week. I respect that grind!

The Shift in Technology

Back to the meat of the keynote. Gary provided some alarming stats and questions on our obsession with our phones and smallness of our attention spans. He asked if we’re normally within arms reach of our phones and the majority of the room had their hands raised. And he asked if we watch TV on our own decided time (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) and the same response occurred. Gary also stated that 53-54% of our phone attention is on social networks. That’s huge!

Social & mobile are winning big now and are looking like the highlights of marketing in 2016.

Gary day trades attention. Attention is the game. And he believes Facebook is great at attention arbitrage. He was claiming that he was going to buy Facebook stock after the speech. Why? Because Facebook bought Instagram, Whatsapp, has Messenger, and attempted to buy Snapchat at $3 billion at a time when people thought the amount was way too high. They also launched Facebook video and Facebook live. They’ve grabbed as many social networks as they can and they knew to go mobile as soon as possible. Clearly, Mark Zuckerberg knows his shit.

We’re “living through the biggest shift in technology”, Gary says. And “the market doesn’t give a fuck” if we’ve finally caught up to the popular trend, and the next big thing changes. It’s constantly shifting, and it can be a bad thing if you’re not trying to adjust. But it can be a great thing to know that there will always be something new and you can capitalize on it once it’s out. Know your emerging markets and platforms and meet your consumers there rather than have them come to you.

Gary’s analogy:
Now, phones are the TVs of the 1960’s.
Now, TV is the radio of the 1960’s.
And Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram are analogous to CBS, NBC, ABC, etc.

History likes to repeat itself in this way. Gary says he doesn’t read much, but he studies history. Essentially, learn what has worked in the past to understand what will work in the future.


After the talk, a few people started walking out but was met with Ryan Deiss and Gary yelling “You’re missing the best part. Sit the fuck down!”

Q&A Gary Vaynerchuk Traffic Conversion Summit 2016

Ryan Deiss and Gary Vaynerchuk

A bunch of people lined up for the 4 mics placed around the room and started asking question after question. FYI – the talk was supposed to end after an hour around 6 PM but ended up lasting until 7 PM.

Since a lot of topics were covered, I’m just going to write down other important takeaways from the speech:

  • Billboard ads have gone up 12%
  • 2015 – the act of fast forwarding through commercials have declined – but it just means people are too lazy to even do this and would rather pick up their phones in the meantime.
  • Width is cute, but depth is everything – he bought an e-mail ad on a e-mail for $20k in 1997 hoping he’d get a ton of sales as there were 1 million people on their e-mail list. Only got 6 sales from the ad.
  • Make bets, invest, and build a brand.
  • Someone asked – how do I market my wine website if I’m not as extroverted as you? He responded saying authenticity is important – just be yourself.
  • How to sell books? Gary thinks sometimes the non-scalable way is good for selling. He used to individually e-mail his entire e-mail list to get sales on his book.
  • Ground Signal app is good for finding influencers.
  • & Afterschool are products to keep an eye on.
  • Stop counting the beans when it comes to branding – invest in creative. Brand yourself.
  • Instagram is best for e-commerce sites selling physical products


It was great watching Gary Vaynerchuk live – he definitely left a more positive impression on me! Did you attend the summit and hear his speech? Let me know what you think!


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