May 24, 2018

May 24, 2018


Jindal Students Fly Past Competition at Google Marketing Challenge

Senior lecturer Alex Edsel poses with two members of the Jindal School team, Amber Myatt MS16 and Kelly Larrow Willbanks MBA16. Not pictured: Daniel Thai MS16.

Senior lecturer Alex Edsel is with two members of the Jindal School team, Amber Myatt MS’16 and Kelly Larrow Willbanks MBA’16.

In an international competition that had both undergraduate and graduate students fighting for internet advertising clicks, a team from the Naveen Jindal School of Management has placed second among almost 700 groups in North America and 12th globally.

During the annual Google Online Marketing Challenge, the handpicked squad ran a three-week, $250 campaign for the American Birding Association in April, a prime bird-migration time when avid birders would likely be doing internet searches, said Alexander Edsel, senior lecturer in the Jindal School who oversaw the team.

Edsel, director of the Jindal School’s master’s in marketing program, said the team compiled 21,375 keywords — a huge number — and their campaign ultimately encouraged viewers to click on the ad 406 times.

“The United States is the most competitive (online advertising) market, often costing 40 percent to 60 percent more than other countries, so the team was in the most competitive arena,” Edsel said.

The team’s click-through rate was 5.58 percent; the industry benchmark is 2 percent. The cost worked out to about 62 cents per click, which would qualify it as a good buy for most advertisers.

The Jindal School team included recent marketing graduates Amber Myatt MS’16 and Daniel Thai MS’16, and Kelly Larrow Willbanks MBA’16.

Myatt said selecting the American Birding Association was strategic in two ways. Because it is national, the association provides a larger audience reach, she said. The team also wanted to work with a nonprofit so it could compete for the social impact award. The team ranked as a finalist globally in social impact.

Myatt, now an associate account manager at Research Now, said her team decided its primary target audience would be retired bird enthusiasts who would wake up early in the morning and research the birds they would be searching for that day.

On the weekend, the campaign performed well in the morning, as the team had expected with that audience, Myatt said. But, during the week, the campaign performed better in the afternoon and evening.

Edsel is on the lookout for top marketing students who have taken his digital marketing courses to form high-performing teams for the spring 2017 Google Online Marketing Challenge.

Google AdWords launched in 2000 and is Google’s main source of revenue. Organizations as diverse as universities, hotels and pet-food makers use AdWords to promote their services and products. It is an auction-based method that savvy advertisers employ to reach their target audiences locally, nationally or globally.

Media Contact: Jeanne Spreier, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4759, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]

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