MediaPost Blogs – Search Insider

by Aaron Goldman

Next week, many of my friends and colleagues will be descending upon Captiva Island, Fla. for the biannual Search Insider Summit. I had been very much looking forward to joining them but, alas, the best-laid plans of mice and men often find their cheese has been moved.

Unfortunately, this means I won’t be able to keep tabs on the Buzz-o-Meter but Frank Lee of The Search Agency has kindly agreed to keep his fingers on the pulse of the Capitva buzz in my stead.

In today’s column, I’ll share the results from the past seven summits to see what trends we can identify and help people “skate where the puck is going” or, more appropriately, “sail where the boat will be” in Captiva.

November 2006 – Palm Springs
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 – Bonita Springs

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 – Park City

1. Consumers
2. Universal
3. Big Agencies
4. Query
5. Facebook
6. Analytics
7. Recession
8. Mobile
9. Widgets
10. Transparency

May 2008 – Captiva Island

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 – Park City

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 – Captiva Island

1. Twitter
2. Attribution
3. Exchanges
4. Last-Click
5. Bless You, Gezundteit (tie)
6. Economy, Recession (tie)
7. Free, SEO (tie)
8. Affiliates
9. Social, Mobile (tie)
10. Osprey

December 2009 – Park City

1. Google
2. Crap, Suck, Puke (tie)
3. Attribution
4. Social
5. Agencies
6. SEO
7. Metrics
8. Bing
10. Yahoo, AOL (tie)

For what it’s worth, here are my predictions for what will have folks buzzing in Captiva:

1.            Google. Per my last column, I haven’t been the only one learning from Google these past few months. Whether it was the Nexus One launch, ill-fated rollout of Google Buzz, Super Bowl ad, policy in China, or continued acquisition spree, Google’s been busy and marketers have been scrambling to figure out what each move means for them. I expect SIS Advisory Board member John Nicoletti, Google’s head of agency operations, to be a popular man in Captiva.

2.            Mobile. This topic has been a fixture on the Buzz-o-Meter. In fact, it’s the only buzzword to appear on every single list since I began doing them. Every six months, we convene and discuss whether or not this will be the year of mobile. Perhaps 2010 will be the year — what with the Apple Quattro acquisition, delayed Google/AdMob deal, growth of Google’s Android platform, and rumored iPhone rollout on Verizon Wireless.

3.            iPad. It will be interesting to see — or, in my case, hear about — how many people show up in Captiva with iPad in tow. It will be even more interesting to see what impact this device will have for search marketers, since it represents a new content consumption and Web browsing experience.

4.            Bing/Yahoo. With the Bing-powering-Yahoo-search deal clearing regulatory hurdles, the path to execution is clear — but it will likely to take a good year or two until full integration is complete. As Search Insider Chris Copeland noted, both companies aspire to greatness in search. Whether they can achieve it, and just what it will take, is likely to be a hotly contested topic in Captiva. Meanwhile, the shifts in market share — that have all of Bing’s gains to date coming from Yahoo — have immediate ramifications for search marketers.

5.            Ted. No, this doesn’t refer to a specific conference attendee. Rather, this edition of SIS presents some changes to the format, with the advisory board taking a page from the TED playbook and mixing in short and long-form presentations along with the requisite talking-head panels. This should enable a deeper dive into the topics and foster more engaged discussion.

6.            Social/Twitter/Facebook. Surely, the intersection of search and social will bubble up in Captiva as it did in December in Park City. Whether it’s in regard to best practices for marketers leveraging these channels or best practices for attendees sharing the happenings at the summit, social will be top of mind. As I learned last time when showing live tweets during my Search Engine Idol session, the commentary from the crowd — ahem, @telerob — can be quite colorful.

7.            Data. There’s always discussion at SIS about ways to leverage search data. This time around, it looks like the conversation will go beyond optimization and attribution to how search data can inform broader marketing initiatives. It’s time to milk data for all it’s worth and make Brent Spiner proud.

8.            Integration. This topic seems to ebb and flow as various companies make waves in the space. To date, it’s cracked the Buzz-o-Meter three out of seven times. With the recent announcement that technology providers like Clickable, Kenshoo, and Marin Software are now integrating Facebook PPC ads into their SEM campaign management suites, I expect integration to be batting .500 after Captiva.

9.            App-ssistants. A term coined by summit emcee Gord Hotchkiss, app-ssistants refer to applications that act as personal digital assistants and, quite possibly, represent the future of search. This thread is one explored recently by Search Insider Derek Gordon and likely to resurface onstage at SIS.

10.        Hulu/YouTube. Day Three of SIS closes with a reprise of one of the best-received panels from Park City 2009 — a group of students sharing how they consume media and the role of search in their lives, facilitated by reps from Ball State’s Center for Media Design. In December, we heard how these millennials rarely watch traditional TV in favor of online video from Hulu and YouTube. However, these platforms are converging and it’s really just a matter of screens. What does this mean for how people search? Once again, the answers will come directly from the source.

To all those headed to Captiva next week — safe travels, enjoy the show, and watch out for beer showers!

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