Search marketing strides: the takeaways from MediaPost Search Insider Summit.

Panel: Biometrics and Search: How Marketers will use the Data, MediaPost Search Insider Summit, May 4-7 2016, Key Largo FL.

I had the opportunity to attend the MediaPost Search Insider Summit in Key Largo, Florida last month, and what an experience it was! Aside from minor travel issues en route to Florida — a red eye seemed like a good idea until I was stuck on the tarmac in Dallas for most of the night…luckily all 5’1” of me was able to “stretch” out over the two seats in my row and to get some sleep…and I found out that constant lightning emits just enough light to make it possible see through the sheets of rain coming down during a horrible storm on the drive from Miami to Key Largo — I finally made it safe to the beautiful Ocean Reef Club.

The conference was a great experience and I took away a lot about search engine marketing. Some takeaways from the summit:

Takeaway 1: We can talk like real people.

According to Bing data, 25% of queries are natural language based. And this theme grew throughout the conference: natural language queries are the future. This is something I have noticed at home. My 2 ½ year old son taught himself how to use voice search on his YouTube for Kids app. When he gets bored, he searches for “something else” to which YouTube gives him…something else. The speaker noted how we have come full circle from when Ask Jeeves (who differentiated themselves by promoting users to ask natural language questions) came onto the Search Engine scene in the late 90’s.

natural language queries are the future.

Takeaway 2: We can lay off a little.

Another theme that weaved itself through the conference is the increasing importance of marketers helping a user along their journey as opposed to shoving it in their face. As we are officially in a world where mobile traffic is larger than desktop traffic, it is more important than ever to keep the user experience in mind. With multiple devices comes more data; we need to use this data to inform the experience we are serving to our users and to give them the best content/message at the right time, in the right place. Are we sending a mobile user to an app download page because it’s the “thing” to do? In some instances, does sending them to a mobile landing page that will give them the answer they are looking for quickly make more sense? Big data is here, it’s real, and when used with thought and intent it can make or break your campaign (in other words, it’s time to make a real investment into an analytics team if you haven’t already).

Takeaway 3: We can always learn something new.

The next couple of days were filled with amazing speakers and great content from the top search marketers in the industry. Some interesting facts I picked up from the three days:

  • Windows 10 is running on over 270 million devices — with Bing as the default search engine. Looks like Bing is making strides to be a solid search competitor.
  • Over 75% of Hotwire’s traffic is from mobile devices.
  • 47% of Facebook users have never interacted with Facebook on a computer.
  • Many advertisers are using multiple attribution models within their search campaigns.
    • Even more common, internal finance departments using a different attribution model than campaign optimizers.
  • Many advertisers noticed an increase in organic traffic when Google removed ads on the right hand side of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
    • One advertiser saw a 18% CTR lift for ads in the 4th position.
47% of Facebook users have never interacted with Facebook on a computer.

Takeaway 4: Conferences are a great time to have fun, too.

Of course there was no shortage of networking events throughout the three days, the highlight of which was the deep sea fishing trip. We caught 2 good size fish: a Mahi Mahi and a big Tuna (And by we, I mean I sat on the boat and drank a beer while others reeled them in). Once we got back to the dock, the captain gutted and skinned them (and I managed not to pass out). He sent us up the dock to the restaurant and in we walked with a ziplock bag of fresh fish, they seared it ever so slightly, sliced it, and served it…the best tuna sashimi I have EVER had!  And the company wasn’t bad either 🙂

Overall, it was a great three days filled with thought provoking content and great conversations. I hope to find myself back at a MediaPost event soon!