Search Insider Summit: It's All Fun and Games When You're Buzzing!

Last week was the 13th running of the Search Insider Summit, AKA -- as I once made the mistake of referring to it and and am still reminded by my wife every time I leave her and my three kids to go -- summer camp for search geeks.

As I had done for each of the last 11 outings, I tracked the official SIS buzz-o-meter to capture the focus of the content and jargon of the campers, er… attendees. This go-round proved to be quite buzz-worthy, even by SIS standards. Let’s just say it was DataPoppin’!

The tone was set by MC Chris Copeland, who used his unique blend of insightful sarcasm to call out hypocrisy in speakers and pick on the size -- as in market share! -- of sponsors. Fortunately, said sponsors fought back and Rob Wilk from Yahoo did a great stand-up -- yes, he was standing up! -- comedy sketch at the Day 1 dinner. As Jon Whitfield -- the man who needs no acknowledgement -- from MediaPost put it, “I went to a roast and a Search Insider Summit broke out!”



For my part, I also tried to keep the atmosphere light. Between my Search Insider Feud session and pop-a-shot schooling in the arcade, it was, indeed, all fun and games. I even made a new friend.

Before I share the top 10 buzzwords from SIS Captiva 2012, let’s flip through the yearbook and revisit the buzziest topics of previous summits.

November 2006

1. Branding
2. Integration
3. Engagement
4. Assists
5. Mobile, Local (tie)
6. Long Tail
7. E-mail
8. Click Fraud
9. Truthiness
10. Relevance

May 2007
1. Transparency
2. User-centricity
3. Content
4. Analytics
5. Community, Connection (tie)
6. Integration
7. Discovery, Personalization (tie)
8. Social, Mobile, Video (tie)
9. Funnel
10. Intent -
December 2007
1. Consumers
2. Universal
3. Big Agencies
4. Query
5. Facebook
6. Analytics
7. Recession
8. Mobile
9. Widgets
10. Transparency
May 2008 - Part 1 and Part 2
1. Google
2. Clicks
3. Social, Facebook (tie)
4. Integration
5. Conversation
6. Branding
7. Data, Analytics (tie)
8. Strategy
9. Twitter
10. Mobile, Local (tie)
December 2008
1. Google
2. Economy, Recession (tie)
3. Data, Analytics, Attribution (tie)
4. iPhone, Mobile (tie)
5. Microsoft
6. Relationship, Transparency (tie)
7. Strategy, Tactics (tie)
8. Bid Management, Quality Score (tie)
9. Omniture
10. Social
May 2009
1. Twitter
2. Attribution
3. Exchanges 
4. Last-Click
5. Bless You, Gesundheit (tie)
6. Economy, Recession (tie)
7. Free, SEO (tie)
8. Affiliates
9. Social, Mobile (tie)
10. Osprey
December 2009
1. Google
2. Crap, Suck, Puke (tie)
3. Attribution
4. Social
5. Agencies
6. SEO
7. Twitter
8. Metrics
9. Bing
10. Yahoo, AOL (tie)
April 2010
1. Intent, Targeting (tie)
2. Apple, iPad, iPhone, iAds (tie)
3. Mobile
4. Audience
5. Apps
6. Facebook, Social Media (tie)
7. Content
8. Attribution
9. Bark!
10. Digital Natives, Gen Next (tie)
December 2010
1. Google
2. Facebook
3. Like
4. Data
5. Bing
6. Mobile
7. Attribution
7. Display, Yahoo (tie)
9. Groupon
10. Funicular
May 2011 
1. Marketing
2. Google
3. Facebook
4. Twitter
5. Brand, Branding (tie)
6. Minority Report -
7. Bing, Yahoo (tie)
8. Love
9. SEO Rapper
10. Search
December 2011 
1. Google
2. Yahoo, Bing (tie)
3. Mobile
4. Apps
5. Siri
6. Social, Facebook (tie)
7. KITT, USS Enterprise, Watson (tie)
8. Global
9. Value
10. Bourye

April 2012

1. Google - the Big G has officially been the hottest topic at 50% of the SIS events to date. It seems there’s never a dull moment in Mountain View, and even Google’s dullest moments still rock the world of search insiders. Last week, much of the chatter about Google was around the “Penguin Update,” new ratings for Quality Score, and the launch of Google Drive.

2. Big Data - despite being a “boring” topic, Big Data was cast as king at SIS. Many sessions included so-called first- and third-party data players, and debate ranged from data attribution to data ownership. As David Rodnitzy of PPC Associates pointed out, “There’s a difference between data, data, data, and sharing, sharing, sharing.” D-Rod followed up with a blog post recapping his roundtable that underscored the challenges with data collection and analysis. Meanwhile, George Michie of Rimm-Kaufman kicked off his panel with a reenactment of Steve Kerr’s game-winning shot in the NBA finals to make a point about flawed attribution methodology. Go Bulls!

3. Yahoo - despite being a frequent Copeland target -- or perhaps because of it -- Yahoo made a fair amount of noise at SIS. It seems Yahoo’s “We try harder” approach to search is resonating with search marketers, if not with actual searchers

4. Bing - for those keeping score, the Search Alliance has been good to Bing. Facebook has also been good to Bing. ”Whoa” -- not that good. So it should come as no surprise that SIS was good to Bing, too. In fact, one of the highlights of the show was Lili Cheng from Microsoft FUSE Labs showing off -- a social search engine built from “scratch.”

5. Facebook - to understand the impact Facebook is having on the search space, we needed to look no further than the third round of Search Insider Feud, where 100 search marketers predicted Facebook would be the second most popular search engine in five years. And, if that weren’t enough, on the Day 3 Prieb panel, we learned that college students think Facebook ads are targeted based on search queries, which earned the hashtag #ifwecouldwewould.

6. Mobile - speaking of Feudal predictions, 69% of survey respondents said that, in five years, they will search from their mobile phones more than any other device. FWIW, 5% said they’d be searching from a chip in their brains.

7. Integration - multiple screens + multiple channels = multiple hurdles to true integration. But that didn’t stop us from talking about it until we were blue in the face. Make that blue in the tongue.

8. Voice - as we listened to William Tunstall-Pedoe of TrueKnowledge -- maker of the voice app, Evi -- and then asked Siri to find Evi for us, it became clear that the future of search literally had a voice. As for what that voice will be… 19 search marketers preferred Morgan Freeman, while 18 went with James Earl Jones, and 6 voted for Dennis Haysbert. 

9. SEO - SEO and its grown-up name, Content Marketing, got a lot of play at SIS. Between the BrightEdge-sponsored lunch and the Rio SEO-sponsored sunset, there was plenty of “illumination” around the value of SEO. 

10. Lady Chatwick - the vessel we boarded for the Day 1 sunset cruise was, as Copeland pointed out, similar to most women in Florida in that she’s old but still floats. And, boy, did the buzz swell around her!  Now here I thought Chicago was the windy city. Between the 30 MPH gusts and fast-talking guests, the Lady C. sure left us breathless and buzzed.

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