Search Engine Room - Sydney 2008 - Highlights - Part 1

Saturday, 11 October 2008

The Search Engine Room conference took place on Tuesday 7th October in Sydney at the Dockside, Darling Harbour gathering over 200 people around the theme of "Search and Beyond". After finding a bit of time to re-read my notes, here is a quick overview of what was discussed

What's the news in the online industry

The first part of the conference started with some industry trends with Foad Fadaghi and Michael Walmsley (Hitwise). No real surprises in these sessions, but it is always good to hear about the trends.
Both speakers emphasised on the growing share of social media in the industry landscape (only 14% of advertisers surveyed currently use social media marketing)and predictions of a slower growth in Paid search. The Paid Search segment should still reach $1 Billion in 2010 in Australia.
What was also interesting to hear is that many advertisers are "re-discovering" the power of SEO over paid search. 34% of advertisers surveyed have noticed an increase in cost in the paid search segment and are therefore looking for other approaches to get traffic. As SEO brings "free traffic", it makes more and more sense to advertisers.
A study conducted by Research International and Outrider also discussed some interesting trends about the origin of search traffic: People usually end up online after being exposed to an offline media. The most popular offline media that drive to the web are magazine (43%), television (42%) and word of mouth(41%).

Beyond Search: Social Media

Social Media should be the next big thing. Hitwise reported a 8.7% share of Australian traffic and social media display advertising has generated $40 Million in Australia in 2008. But it seems like the online players have not yet found the right monetization strategy,which slows down the adoption process.
Darren Rowse, from ProBlogger shared some interesting insights from his experience about social media. According to Darren, Problogger gets most of its traffic from social media. Basic SEO is essential, but most of Darren efforts are spent on content and social media, which seems to pay off quite well.
In a few words, Darren social media's strategy is based one of Chris Brogan Theory, where your website should be treated as your "homebase" and each social media profile you create would be treated as an "outpost". Based on the theory, you have to develop and expand your outposts which will bring traffic to your homebase (website). Pretty cool!

What about Mobile Search and the Iphone ?

What was quite surprising though is the lack of mention of mobile search and the Iphone. The only mention of the day was from Michael Wemsley who shared some of the first data collected by Hitwise from the Iphone users.
Based on the great adoption rate of the Iphone in other countries and the recent release of the device in Australia, it would have been great to know more on the topic...


Anonymous said...

thanks for the mention - it was an interesting day - but for me the best bit was the people I met, some great thinkers in the room with a great range of experiences to learn from.