Buzzing In The Blizzard At The Search Insider Summit

Last week was the 14thSearch Insider Summit. This semiannual gathering of search geeks in ski town is always full of hot topics and cold weather -- but this time, we outdid ourselves on all fronts.

In his opening remarks, MediaPost chairman Ken Fadner announced that this SIS was the biggest yet in terms of attendees and sponsors. But, as emcee Rob Griffin reminded us, it’s not size that matters but how you use it. 

Indeed, the number of participants was directly proportionate to the number of topics covered. In short, we went long. As fresh powder capped the hills (and iced the sidewalks), the conversations (and conversants) were sent sprawling.

To commemorate the biggest SIS to date, I give you the biggest Buzz-o-Meter to date – a full top 20 list of the buzzwords dropped like they were hot in Park City.



But first, let’s take a look back at the Buzzword Bingo results from the past 12 shows to put last week’s buzz in context.

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
2. Big Data
3. Yahoo
4. Bing
5. Facebook
6. Mobile
7. Integration .
8. Voice
9. SEO
10. Lady Chatwick

December 2012

Data – big data, small data, blue(kai) data, green(plum) data… data was poppin’ everywhere at SIS. Throughout the show, folks like Heather Dougherty from Hitwise, Eli Goodman from comScore, and Rich Stokes from AdGooroo showed us how a little data can go a long way.

Intent - as you can tell by the wide range of buzzwords dropped at SIS over the years, the scope of this event creeps well beyond search. At the root of search is consumer intent, which has made search the most popular and profitable online media channel for marketers. But how can marketers get more of the good stuff and scale intent? As intended, many of the sessions dove into this question with answers ranging from dynamic landing page optimization to whether or not you’re wearing shorts while playing Xbox.

Google - ever omnipresent, the Big G was most definitely in the house at SIS. And while folks fawned all over Google’s every move, there was quite a bit of floral, too. 

Yahoo - not sure if we were all just being polite to one of the headline sponsors (lord knows that hasn’t stopped us in the past) or if it’s the fact that they’ve put the sizzle (reel) back in search, but Yahoo(!) was mentioned in almost every breath, as Google was.

Bing - the new branding must be paying off, as nary a Yahoo was yodeled without a Bing backbeat. YBN? Why be not? Just don’t call it a search engine. Or an app. Per Duane Forrester, Bing is a “service.” Ring any bells?

Social - lots of chatter about Facebook and its potential to co-opt/disrupt search. And lots of talk about the influence of social signals on search. But mostly just a lot of SIS attendees being social.

Mobile - more and more search activity is being mobilized. So more and more of the conversation is being spent on how marketers can mobilize their search efforts. From device targeting to bespoke landing pages, the call for custom mobile campaigns was loud and clear.

Content, Creative (tie) - Forrester’s Joanna O’Connell led a panel on the “Everlasting Importance of the Creative” -- which reminded us that the art and science (more on those buzzwords later) of storytelling is paramount to the picture. Just don’t pirate it… arrrrr!

Context - not to be outdone, context emerged as a critical piece of, well, context when placing content and creative.

Retargeting - this topic boomeranged back to the forefront every couple of sessions. Sometimes we were just horsing around, though.

Apps - the bacon-wrapped shrimp at High West were quite tasty but vertical apps such as Amazon and Yelp seem to really be putting food on the table -- and stealing from the SEM bread basket.

Brand - what a difference a brand makes. It should win a Grammy.

Keywords – per Robin Simkins of Zenya, mining head and tail terms for campaign optimization is like “catching the tuna without killing the dolphins.”

Art, Science (tie) - turns out you need both sides of your brain to succeed in search. Who knew?

F*ck, Sh*t (tie) - our potty-mouthed emcee wasted no time dropping his first f-bomb about 15 seconds into his introduction -- and things just went to sh*t from there.

CMO - from the stories we heard from most attendees, the c-suite is fully engaged in SEM. Although there does still seem to be a holdout here and there.

Privacy - all that data awesome-sauce we talked about came with a prescription of privacy anxiety.

RTB - will we see real-time bidding on search results pages? Don’t hold your breath.

PLA - ‘tis the season for Google Shopping. So PLA got lots of play.

Kimchi – sorry, you just had to be there.

See you in the spring, when we’ll be catching a buzz in Key Largo, Hilton Head, Bermuda or Puerto Rico!

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