Last week, I attended the Stifel Internet Media and Telco Conference in New York and spoke on the Panel on Search and Social Advertising.   The conference was held at the Pierre Hotel, just across the street from Central Park.  The financial-centric event featured back-to-back sessions along with dozens of one-on-one meetings between Wall Street analysts and leading executives from the various industries including online gaming, data storage, and other relevant verticals.

The Panel on Search and Social Advertising, included well-known search agency leads Ben Kirshner of Elite SEM and Kevin Lee of Didit. We answered questions from the moderator and panel organizer, Jordan Rohan, Stifel’s Managing Director, Internet and Digital Media Research.   Rohan follows the top Web companies very closely and was interested in exploring the health of the industry from a top level as well as deep dive into specific topics related to search and social.

Google’s Enhanced Campaigns was one of the major issues discussed.  My two agency co-panelists shared some anecdotes of mixed client reactions to the change and how they have been counseling clients during the adjustment process.  Kirshner firmly believes that this switch will ultimately be good for advertisers as search spreads not only to mobile devices, but addressable television and other formats.  Lee, on the other hand, seemed to be a bit more skeptical on the short-term benefits as the forced shift on  July 22nd draws near.  However, we all agreed that Google’s move to allow for ad group-level bid modification was a good decision as it gives search marketers a bit more of the granular control that they have been used to having for years.

Other topics that were covered during the hour-long session included year-to-date SEM benchmarks and the efficacy of Facebook advertising.

All told, the temperature of the room with regards to digital marketing was hot-to-very-hot, a good indicator for all of us pouring blood, sweat, and tears into the space.