Students aim for clicks in the Google Online Marketing Challenge

MU students have a wide variety of courses to choose from to deepen their knowledge in future-oriented areas such as online marketing, and to apply it practically. In a cross-departmental teaching team, Assistant Professor Lyndon Nixon of the Department of New Media Technology, and Researcher and Lecturer Daniel Leung of the Department of Tourism and Service Management offer the enrichment course ‘’Google Online Marketing Challenge’’ for students to learn and practice online advertising in a real-world setting.

Using Google AdWords as a learning platform, students in this course first gain an in-depth understanding of the vital concepts of online advertising. These include but not limited to search engine marketing, landing page experience analysis, and optimization of online advertising structure. Once this solid foundation is built, students co-develop and co-implement online advertising campaigns for real world businesses over a three-week period making use of an advertising budget provided by Google.

This year’s course had two groups competing for clicks through multiple campaigns, each armed with a US$250 budget and their newly-gained knowledge. One group chose to promote Loft8, a small art gallery in Vienna specializing in young artists’ work, which had never used AdWords before. Their goals were to increase website visitors, brand awareness and newsletter subscriptions. Although they had the issue where there was no prior analytics to compare it to, the team successfully helped Loft8 generate 514,066 impressions and 440 clicks to their business website. During their campaign, the gallery hosted an exhibition and sold three paintings!

Another group put their effort into promoting The Oceans, a Vienna-based boy band creating English pop music and distributing their songs via YouTube and digital retailers. Their goals focused on facilitating brand awareness for The Oceans, and commercialising their services and products to new and returning audiences. Their campaign was highly successful, greatly increasing website and YouTube traffic.

‘’From the staggering achievement of our AdWords campaign, we can see that AdWords can effectively help The Oceans increase their presence and competitiveness in the online space among other comparable Austrian bands …’’ says the group.

Both groups conducted in-depth analysis of their efforts, considered other elements such as client and group dynamics, and laid out future recommendations for Loft8 and The Oceans based on their experience. The class culminated in group presentations and a sense of accomplishment having helped a local small business and an up-and-coming young band to improve their online presence and brand awareness!