Last week saw the annual spring migration of search geeks down to Florida for the Search Insider Summit. After attending theprevioussevenshowsandtrackingthebuzz, I had to turn the reigns over to Frank Lee of The Search Agency for on-site buzz tracking -- which is very scientific, mind you -- and settle for remotely monitoring the #mpsis tweet-stream.
Below are the top ten buzzwords dropped by conference attendees, with some context for each one from Frank -- and a little added commentary from me -- along with the tweet I think best captured the sentiment.
1. Intent, Targeting(tie). As Graham Mudd from comScore said, "Engines are getting much better about using intent for serving results and giving advertisers the ability to target." In general, there was lots of talk about the need to focus on consumers and the intent of their behavior. In turn, targeting that intent has become critical in all media buys and creative messaging, regardless of channel.
@vikramsomaya: Sounds to me like search and intent are being used interchangeably here and in great, broad Pollack-like, silo-busting strokes.
2. Apple, iPad, iPhone, iAds (tie). Everyone in Captiva kept bringing up the "i" words. Clearly, Apple is becoming top of mind for search marketers. For what it's worth -- and in his case, that's usually a lot -- Steve Jobs seems to think Apple is better positioned than Google to help consumers navigate their mobile devices. But the Big G ain't going down without a fight.
@viking2917: will apple build one? RT @stefanweitz: Increasingly seeing 'meta-apps' using search/service APIs as future of search.
3. Mobile. For the first time, no one spoke about mobile -- or opportunities via new devices like the iPad -- and said lack of volume was a prohibitive factor. Everyone seemed to agree that new mobile devices and ad platforms have officially made mobile advertising a viable contender for ad dollars. It's usually this time of year that loyal Chicago Cubs fans proclaim, "This is our year!" Perhaps, the same can now be said for mobile. (But, in the case of mobile, it's really happening.)
@chiefmartec: mobile: same keywords -- totally different content and format than desktop - Craig MacDonald
4. Audience - YouTube has become the second-largest search engine. Sure, most of the queries are not commercial in nature, but Chris Copeland from Group M Search said it best: "You have to go where the fish are." That's likely what Google was thinking when it ran its first Super Bowl Ad.
@westportdad: YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine! Yes, lots of people search for dancing cats
5. Apps. No, we're not talking appetizers here, although, as always, the grub at SIS was plentiful. Rather, in keeping with the theme of mobile and Apple, apps were top of mind along with their application to search. Matt Kain from The Search Agency shared his point of view that "desktop search does not work on mobile" because of 1) screen size -- "fat thumbs and squinty eyes"; 2) the "slouch factor"; and 3) You're on the move and you want information "now, nearby and specific." Kain thinks these variables will fuel the rise of "niche-vertical apps with unique data input" -- e.g., camera, GPS, voice. Kain wondered whether the next thing might be what he calls "meta-apps" -- mmm, combo platter -- and offered as an example Siri, a new app covered by Derek Gordon that selects the best of available third-partner data and APIs to provide a simpler user experience.
@chiefmartec: Approliferation -- expect a proliferation of apps, but there shouldn't have to be a separate app for everything -- meta-apps @loveday
6. Facebook, Social Media (tie). There's no doubt that marketers are taking social media -- and, specifically, Facebook -- seriously. Although still in its infancy (relative to Google et al), Facebook is driving strong performance for many SIS attendees. One attendee (hint: he's contributing to this column) reported that his firm is spending 20% of what it spends on Yahoo Search with Facebook. Don't forget buzzword #1, though. Success on Facebook, specifically with its PPC platform, requires understanding user intent and optimizing for that experience.
@brainvat: douchebag (n.) - highly opinionated person accustomed to vocalizing their opinions via social media
7. Content. As search engines get wiser about site relevance and users become savvier about their expectations, marketers must focus on the content of their site. Rob Garner from iCrossing preached about the importance of keeping content fresh but pointed out that "the average website is updated only every 2-5 years."
@JennMilks: Consumers, like the data, are holistic and non-linear. Design search with this in mind - i.e. Death to the 10 blue links.
8. Attribution. Attribution modeling was another hot topic and now has cracked the past four SIS Buzz-o-Meters running. Roger Barnette from SearchIgnite suggested this three-step process for creating an attribution model: 1) Define channel prioritization. 2) Define exposure distribution. 3) Gain insights and apply.
@clickequations: BTW: You are using an attribution model today even if it's just last click. Question is how long you want to keep the wrong one?
9. Bark! With the new conference format featuring TED-like presentations, speakers were granted five-minute and 18-minute slots. And these limits were strictly enforced! When the dog started barking, your time was up. Unfortunately, Ben Hanna from Dex One Interactive found this out the hard way when he ran into an overly aggressive pit bull. As Olivier Lemaignen from Kodak Gallery proclaimed, "This is the closest I'm gonna get to speed-dating for the rest of my life." He was referring to the time limits, not the dogs. (We think.)
@D3R3K: The barking dog sound is a very subtle reminder that your time is up
10. Digital Natives, Gen Next (tie). Just what we needed. Another buzzword to describe today's youth. There was lots of chatter about Ball State's research study that focused on Millennials and their device usage and media consumption patterns. The future of marketing success is clearly rooted in Gen Next. The only question is, what will keep them buzzing?
@micahn: Best quote this morning! "Everyone gets a trophy generation." Millenials what do you think?