Wednesday,
September 20, 2017

Wednesday,
September 20, 2017

Category:

Jindal School Teams' Google Marketing Campaigns Really Click

GMOC

From left: Kelly Larrow, Manali Walvekar, senior lecturer Alex Edsel, Aiswarya Chandrasekaran and Kuang Hsuan (Alicia) Keng.

Four graduate marketing students in the Naveen Jindal School of Management placed in the top 2 percent of the more than 1,700 students who competed worldwide in the 2015 Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC). A second Jindal School team placed in the top 4 percent.

Four teams in a digital marketing class taught by Alex Edsel participated in the competition. The competition took place in the spring and summer. Winners were announced this fall.

The teams had just three weeks and a $250 budget to launch an online Google AdWords marketing campaign. They were required to submit details of their campaigns throughout the challenge while showing the keywords and ads used to drive results for for a business or nonprofit organization they were allowed to choose.

“The optimizations made throughout Google AdWords can be done through literally dozens of different settings and thousands of keywords, and thus, there are hundreds of possible campaign combinations,” said Edsel, director of the master’s in marketing program and senior lecturer in marketing. “There is a lot of thinking that goes into the optimizations, and all four teams did a fantastic job with some teams exceeding an overall 9 percent click-through rate — just under the 10.9 percent click-through rate that the overall winner had — and peaking some days toward the end at 20 percent click-through rate. The industry average, according to Google, is a 2 percent click-through rate.”

Members of the team that placed in the top 2 percent worldwide are Kathleen Callison, Aiswarya Chandrasekaran, Kuang Hsuan (Alicia) Keng and Manali Walvekar. The team also was named a top-five finalist in the U.S. and Canada in the AdWords Social Impact Challenge. The team partnered with the Dallas Zoo, hoping to improve its AdWords conversion rates using the Google AdWords tool during their three-week online campaign.

This was a really interesting experience. It’s hard to truly know how to do a search without trying it out like this. It really gave us a hands-on experience in not only coming up with keywords and ads, but really learning how to optimize the campaign.

Kelly Larrow,
MBA and marketing grad student

“We chose the Dallas Zoo as the ideal candidate for the project, considering the fact that they had a beautiful website and a very strong social cause that they were very enthusiastic about. When we approached them, they liked the idea and our excitement about working with them and agreed,” said Walvekar, an MBA student who expects to graduate in December and recently accepted a job with Expedia as a senior search marketing specialist.

Chandrasekaran said the team did so well because of its comprehensive research before the event, daily monitoring and constant improvisation throughout the campaign.

“The biggest challenge was that it required complete dedication every single day for the three-week period because even an hourly dip could affect the performance of the campaign,” Chandrasekaran said.

Members of the team that ranked in the top 4 percent are Tyler Ginsberg, Kelly Larrow, Amber Myatt and Dara Stork. The team partnered with the Dallas Aquarium and was named a semifinalist in the Global AdWords Business Awards and was among the top 15 teams in the U.S. and Canada.

“We came up with hundreds of keywords to target in search advertising. It involved coming up with keywords, placing them into ad groups and writing the ads as well as setting the targeting parameters. Throughout the campaign, we monitored the keywords for performance and optimized as necessary,” said Larrow, who is working on an MBA and master’s in marketing and plans to graduate in May.

“This was a really interesting experience. It’s hard to truly know how to do a search without trying it out like this. It really gave us a hands-on experience in not only coming up with keywords and ads, but really learning how to optimize the campaign,” she said.

This is the third year Edsel’s students have participated in the GOMC.

“Ninety percent of the graduate teams have scored in the ‘strong’ category, which is the highest level, short of the finalists,” Edsel said.

Media Contact: Jill McDermott, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4951, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]


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