• To provide students with a genuine and hands-on based learning environment for training online advertising skills and applying online advertising knowledge in practice;
• To foster students’ team-working mentality, ad-hoc problem-solving and decision-making capability;
• To develop positive liaisons among students, academic institutions and businesses in the community via collaboration;
Den StudentInnen soll im Rahmen der Google Online Marketing Challenge eine innovative und praktische Art des Fachbereiches der Online Werbung, sowie des technologisch-Integrierten Marketings möglich gemacht werden. Dabei werden Fähigkeiten in der Anwendung spezifischer Tools von den StudentInnen entwickelt und angewendet. Als Ziel soll das Verständnis der StudentInnen im Bereich der digitalen Technologie für die Werbung und das Marketing stehen. Auf Grund der Arbeit in Kleingruppen, werden, neben den erworbenen Fachkenntnissen, auch die “Soft Skills”, also die Fähigkeit der Studierenden im Team zu arbeiten und ihre Arbeit vorzustellen.
Online marketing in general and online advertising in particular has long been a “theoretically interesting” but “practically uninteresting” topic to students major in business or equivalent. The abstractive nature of this topic is one reason for this phenomenon. Another reason is that students often find it difficult to apply theoretical knowledge learnt from classroom in practice, given the fact that real companies are often not willing to share financial resources and business-related data with students for classroom training.
Considering that these inherent limitations also appear in our course “New Media & E-business Application” – in which its core objectives are (1) to develop students’ understanding of the key concepts and principles of e-business and (2) to ensure that students understand the evolution of networked information technology as well as its impact on corporate communication and collaboration – another two instructors of this course and I decided to incorporate activities of the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC) as class activities and a grading element of the “New Media & E-business Application” course.
In brief, the GOMC is designed to allow students to develop and run an online advertising campaign for a business or non-profit organization (hereafter called as client) over a three week period. Using Google Adwords as a platform with the USD250 Adwords advertising budget credited by Google, students will serve as professional marketing consultants who are advising their client on the best way to expand their online presence. To successfully complete the challenge, students have to finish the following seven steps:
• Step 1: Form team (with 4-5 members) and select a business as the client
• Step 2: Learn about the client & compile the Pre-Campaign report
• Step 3: Register for participating in the challenge
• Step 4: Access the Adwords dashboard and perform initial setting
• Step 5: Submit Pre-Adwords campaign report & requesting crediting
• Step 6: Run the campaign for 7 – 21 days
• Step 7: Compile and submit the Post-Campaign report
Throughout the process of finishing the above steps, “hard” knowledge – referring to online advertising practice, skills and tip which are crucial to achieve the success of their advertising campaigns – were introduced to students in lecture and exercise units including:
• Web analytics (e.g., sessions, pageviews and Bounce rate)
• Landing page analysis (e.g., system quality assessment)
• Search engine optimization and marketing
• Search advertising and display advertising
Apart from the above “hard” knowledge, students would practice and/or improve their “soft” skill in different steps unintentionally. For instance:
• During the process of learning about the client (i.e., Step 2), students would train their critical-thinking capability in the task of internal and external environment analyses. Their business communication skill were expected to be enhanced when they contacted and asked for information from client
• Once the campaign starts (i.e., Step 6), student-designed advertisements would start showing on the Google’s search and display network. The metrics and campaign performance would be generated in real-time. Students would thus need to analyze the metrics and react on a timely manner. In other words, data analysis, ad-hoc problem-solving and decision-making capability would then be applied and optimistically improved
• Given that students might take turn to (or jointly) monitor the campaign performance and optimize the campaign accordingly, their sense of responsibility, team-working mentality and even interest in online advertising by students and particularly those with low-involvement in other courses would be developed via hands-on practice
Drawing on the experience we gained from previous semester, we believed that the GOMC is an effective pedagogical approach allowing students to learn, apply and practice online advertising in a real-world setting. Unlike other student competitions that simulate real-world conditions, the GOMC empowers students to develop and implement online advertising campaigns for real (but not fictitious) clients using real money. Besides the benefit of having practicing opportunities, students could access and use up-to-date applications and tools embedded in Google Adwords (e.g., Ad simulators and Keyword Planner) via joining the challenge. This would be a huge advantage to those students who plan to work in the marketing or advertising field, since they have relatively more knowledge and experience than other applicants.