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 Fool.com 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) Ask.com. Sorry, Jeeves.

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