The Must-Knows for Investors From SMX East

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We go the extra mile on our research at Inside Value. Literally. From riot-riddled Greece to our coverage of this week's Value Investing Congress, the Inside Value team is regularly on the road seeking an information edge.

This past week, I headed up to New York to attend the Search Marketing Expo in search of industry insider insights on two Inside Value recommendations, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) .

While social-media-savvy investors could have followed our notes in real-time on Twitter via @TMFInsideValue, and only Inside Value members get dibs on our full notes and takeaways, here's a rundown for our readers on some great insights I was able to pick up from SMX.

On Bing & Yahoo:
Industry players are hopeful that the new Microsoft / Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) Bing lovefest will ultimately result in higher returns on investment in advertising. But don't hold your breath. While I witnessed industry leaders gush about the potential around Google marketing innovations such as product extensions, sitelinks, and a host of YouTube options, I didn't witness any such excitement or buzz around specific Bing advancements. Google remains the darling of all the search-marketing gurus I encountered, and with good reason.

On mobile search:
Google's mobile searches have risen 500% from 2008 to 2010. While that's still a drop in the Google bucket, note that mobile search doesn't cannibalize desktop search -- it complements it. Google finds that mobile searches spike during lunch, evenings, and weekends -- when users are away from their PC's. Those incremental searches and their associated ad dollars will prove a boon as smartphone adoption rates skyrocket.

On Facebook:
Web marketers are excited about the potential of Facebook's unique targeting opportunities. The general vibe, though, was that returns on Facebook marketing are still too low to go whole-hog just yet. One cause among many: Marketers find that campaigns tire quickly with Facebook's sticky user base, suffering "ad fatigue." Still, while the dollars might lack sense in the here and now, there's a huge sense of optimism around the long-term potential of this channel as an alternative to Google and Bing.

On Apple:
There were few mentions of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) role as a player in mobile advertising. That's not too surprising, given that this was a search marketing expo -- but I'd expected at least a little buzz around Apple's iAd platform among this group of techie marketers.

On poor butlers:
For plenty of reasons, you shouldn't feel too bad for Apple. I heard not a single peep from any speaker, attendee, or busboy regarding IAC/InterActiveCorp's (Nasdaq: IACI  ) Sorry, Jeeves.

For more...
Check us out Twitter via @TMFInsideValue for more quick-hit notes, musings, links to insightful investing commentary, and real-time coverage of events like SMX East and this week's Value Investing Congress.

Joe Magyer is the advisor of Motley Fool Inside Value. He owns no shares of any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow Inside Value on both Twitter and Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Google, both of which are Inside Value recommendations. Google is also a Rule Breakers' recommendation. Apple is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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