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50 Most Admired Companies of The Year 2018

An Interview with Duff Ferguson, and Joe Livingston Amplitude Digital Inc. Agency Partners: ‘We Take Pride in Building a Team that Loves What They Do, and Our Clients’ Results Reflect That.’


“Organizations succeed and flourish when you build a culture of positivity, recognition and teamwork.”

In today’s competitive market, it is impossible to succeed in digital marketing without having a well-travelled website. Online business accounts for a huge chunk of revenue these days. In many niches, buyers prefer to purchase the product with the most visibility and reputation, not necessarily the cheapest price. If you want to get a piece of the pie, it is not enough to rely on a website with a nice interface. You must focus on growth hacking strategies, and make yourself visible on Google.

For that, we turned to the experts.Amplitude Digital Inc. is a leading SEO and PPC search marketing agency, based in Los Angeles, California.

The company is a two-time recipient of the Best SEO & PPC Agency in Los Angeles award, recognizing its efforts in Search Engine Optimization, Paid Search, Google Shopping Ads and Remarketing.

Why? The company’s combination of technology and talent excels with performance-based strategy and high-touch communication. Their clients generally engage in long-term profitable relationships that result in better visitor traffic and stronger sales. Every month, Amplitude’s SEO team reacts to the latest Google algorithm changes while the PPC team tests new campaign ideas.

Since its inception, Amplitude Digital has helped leading brands such as Toyota, The Official Hollywood Sign, Spafinder, Experian, McKesson and Costco get better results from search. Clients depend on Amplitude’s search experts, analytic methodology and real-time data dashboards to keep ahead of the competition.

The company was founded in 2004.

Duff Ferguson, Amplitude Digital Founder/Partner and Joe Livingston, Partner spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Rewind: Taking Flight

Duff Ferguson: Even as search engines and digital marketing evolve, one thing about us remains constant – the team we assemble. We hope to succeed and flourish by building a culture of positivity, recognition and teamwork. Bringing out the best in our employees, so they can bring their best to the clients we serve. 

The company has had the same mission for 15 years, though the Internet has changed quite a bit over that time. We’ve always helped great companies build more qualified traffic and revenue online, using the best tools available at the time.

We’ve been fortunate to have over a 96 percent retention rate with our clients, so we’ve been profitable throughout our history, including the 2008 market collapse. Because of that stability and forward movement, we’ve been able to provide ever-expanding opportunities to our employees so they can grow too in their careers.

With the introduction of machine learning and Big Data, Amplitude acquired ecommerce agency Konnect Digital in 2015. The melding of Konnect’s analytics and ecommerce strength along with Amplitude’s classic marketing strategy has proven a successful formula for both B2B and B2C clients.

Technology: In Full Swing

We heard the call for Big Data loud-and-clear a few years ago. Today’s powerful ad platforms require a lot more demographic data than ever before to truly get the best from them. And by the best, we mean more sales, more downloads, more customers, and a more efficient ROI. Recognizing the need, the team went out and developed a proprietary tool called Amplitude Audience Intelligence™ from that need. Now we use it with every client.

Serving Customers Better: A Terrific Treat

Our clients love to hear case studies about successful campaigns, especially if they haven’t yet been discovered by their competitors. Our first major client was (and still is) the Hollywood Sign Trust, which maintains and protects the historic iconic sign on the hill overlooking Los Angeles. Their goal was to outrank highly-ranked hiking sites in Google that showed illegal routes to the Sign leading through private property and dangerous environmentally-sensitive slopes. Today, thanks to our continued efforts, the easiest to find hiking information now comes from the Hollywood Sign Trust site itself, which gets hikers to the best possible views without annoying the local community or wasting law enforcement resources. The high visibility of the Sign’s website online has led to increased community engagement and therefore more funds are being raised to maintain this famous landmark.

In addition, many of our clients come to us with Google penalties or spam link issues that kill site traffic because their previous agency cut corners with black hat techniques. As Google evolves, those tactics no longer work and they suddenly fall behind again.

Our approach is to future-test strategies and build solid, defensible areas of Google search strength for the clients. We love quick wins when they are available, but we are always thinking with a long-term perspective so our clients’ monthly investment in search marketing accrues even more value over time.

Amplitude Digital: Focusing on Client KPIs

Joe Livingston: We deliver clear, trackable economic results (more qualified traffic, more sales, better engagement, higher visibility and more) that are too-often lacking or hard to track when a company spends on SEO and PPC. If we can’t show each client strong growth in qualified, profitable traffic or a good profit on a media spend, we’re just not doing our job. Every client has their own KPIs they care about, so we adjust our whole strategy around them specifically and show the results they care about.

Most clients come to us because they found us on Google or received a recommendation from a current client. On Google, we’ve developed strong relevance and authority around search marketing both locally in Los Angeles and around the country. This means we often show on the first page when clients are researching the best firms out there. Some of this search engine visibility is the result of well-tended ‘white hat’ optimization over the years, mostly our reputation stems from the success of their campaigns over the long term.

Investing in People and Animal Rescue

Together as a company, we’ll continue to invest in our people and technology. As mentioned above, we’ve been lucky to enjoy a high retention rate, so our clients tend to stick around and engage with us long term – as long as we can maintain and build on the ROI they have come to expect.

In addition to a passion for digital marketing, we have a lot of energy at Amplitude for animal rescue, so we encourage our employees to get involved with paid volunteer time and matching donations. We also support animal rescue in disaster areas and several employees have adopted pets from shelters.

Amplitude Digital Leadership: A Brief Background

Duff Ferguson, Founder/Partner: Duff Ferguson is the founder of Amplitude Digital. In addition to serving as the company’s chairman, Duff is responsible for directing the strategy, operations and sales & marketing functions.

Duff began his career in New York City leading global communications for two of Wall Street’s largest asset management companies before being lured to Silicon Valley to build a digital presence for a Fortune 15 healthcare giant.

The success of this work led to the founding of Amplitude, which later acquired Big Data ecommerce agency Konnect Digital in 2015.

Duff is proud that his company supports local music and film, foster kids, architecture, history, as well as animal rescue. He is a sought-after speaker on business strategy and entrepreneurship at conferences and colleges in Los Angeles.

Mr. Ferguson received his B.A. degree in History from Haverford College. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.

Joe Livingston, Partner: : Joe Livingston joined Amplitude Digital in 2015 with the acquisition of Konnect Digital Media, an ecommerce agency he founded in 2013. At Amplitude, Joe oversees all digital media efforts including PPC, SEO, and conversion rate optimization. With 20 years of online marketing experience, Joe has worked with organizations in a range of verticals, including Costco, PayPal, AOL, Microsoft, American Greetings and Target.

From 2010 to 2013, Joe worked closely with Google on beta testing and was recognized for managing multi-million dollar search and display campaigns, being invited to speak about display advertising at Google’s national conference.

Joe has also served as a consultant for the 35th Director of the United States Mint, Philip N. Diehl, and in 2003 was a recipient of CUNA Marketing Council’s Diamond Award.

Joe received his MBA in Marketing at Eastern Illinois University’s Lumpkin College of Business. He lives in Los Angeles with his Labrador-mix dog Rizzo, a shelter rescue now living his best life.

“Sometimes even global icons need a little assistance attracting the right visitors online. We help clients like The Hollywood Sign with digital marketing and creative services that build credibility while efficiently generating new traffic and revenue.”