The Google Online Marketing Challenge Experience

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This week we completed our Google Online Marketing Challenge campaign for a startup business in Palo Alto, CA. It was a very interesting experience where I got a chance to work with other Stanford students, learning a lot about Google Adwords in general, the campaign also resulted in tangible business results to our client, making it a great success.

Online Advertising has a huge business potential with advertising sales growing at 20% annually, on any given day there is a great chance that one of the web pages we surf in the Internet has some form of advertisement, therefore its good to get a grasp of it and Google Online Marketing Challenge provides provides a great opportunity for students to work together as a team partnering with some small scale business to help them devise an effective online marketing campaign through Google Adwords.

More details about the challenge can be found here, if you are a business student, you should go for this at some point of time, you will receive funding from Google to carry out your campaign with rewards for top campaigns, let me share some of our experiences on this challenge with useful pointers at the end.

The Pre-Campaign Strategy report provides a perfect platform to plan things before you launch the campaign, most importantly the pre-campaign strategy report carries some points, therefore its imperative to have a clear pre-campaign strategy before executing it, the main focus of this report is highlighting more about the business you selected, their strengths, scope of improvement, the Adwords strategy you are planning (like CPC or CPM based Ads, Adgroups, CTR expectations, geo-targeting), once you have a clear-cut strategy devised for the campaign and document it, it will help a long way to launch a successful campaign.

Our Campaign was an exciting experience where we got a chance to play with Adwords from changing/pausing keywords, refining, revisiting and redesigning Ads, increasing/reducing bids, geo targeting based on Google analytics reports and so on, there are a lot of parameters which will give a meaningful measure on how your campaign was progressing, thanks to Google Adwords and Analytics report, our campaign strategy was three fold, Observe, Improve and Optimize.

The first week was focused on observing Adwords/Analytics data, experimenting with keywords, identifying top performing Adgroups and Keywords, the second week was focused on improvements where we applied some techniques to improve our campaign performance and the final week was focused on optimization where we focused on making the best use of our remaining budget by fine tuning our settings for maximized performance.

The Post Campaign Summary report not only summarizes your campaign, but it also includes a section on your learning experience from the campaign which provides a great chance to share your learning from the campaign like managing the campaign, difficulties encountered and so on, a very important report which carries a lot of weightage

Useful Pointers:

Student Guides: http://www.google.com/onlinechallenge/students_guides.html (all support documentation to help you with the challenge)
Submitting/Uploading your reports for Google Online Marketing Challenge: https://services.google.com/inquiry/gomc_report (Pre Campaign Strategy and Post Campaign summary report)

Hope you are raring to go ahead with the challenge, start now.

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