Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ASIS&T 2008 - Google on-line marketing challenge: A multidisciplinary global teaching and learning initiative using sponsored search

Panel with Bernard Jansen of Pennsylvania State University, Mark Rosso of North Carolina Central University, Dan Russell of Google, Brian Detlor of McMaster University.

The Power of search and the web - Jim Jansen's slides, Mark Rosso presenting.

Search drives on-line activity. Search drives over 5 billion monthly queries in the US. People are spending less time with their family, the TV and less sleep.

Looking at the search marketplace, Google has over 60% of the market, with no other company having even half as much market share. On-line marketing is a large business, and keyword advertising is the fastest growing advertising business. Google earned 16 billion from advertising, mostly keyword advertising. The sponsored links are the main drivers of revenue and are the business model of all search engines. Key differentiator is that it is targeted, pull aligned and has the lowest acquisition cost of any advertising.

The Google on-line marketing challenge was a world wide project. The challenge consisted of 1) register the class 2) recruit the client 3) Students develop a pre - campaign proposal 4) Students run a 3 week AdWords campaign 5) Students develop and submit a post campaign summary 6) Google judges teams on a algorithm to narrow to 150 teams 7) Academics judge teams on written reports 8) top ten teams fly to Google headquarters.
A campaign consists of one or more ad groups. Ad groups should be based on a theme. Each ad group has a set of ads and keywords that generate the ad. Each keyword has a bid, how much are you willing to pay for that keyword. For each keyword you supply a matching criteria - exact, partial, broad, negative.

Ads display, the rank and the cost per click depend upon: keywords in query, ad title and text must be relevant to query, content of landing page must be relevant to query, past click through rate, bid on keyword, other configurable factors.

The Google on-line marketing challenge - experiences from the course. - Mark Rosso presenting.

Public school, evening MBA program completed as part of a Management Information Systems course. Class consisted of 10 students, so two teams entering the challenge. Clients were a small law firm and a African American cultural center. Entered into the course as a experiential learning opportunity and to answer common criticisms of MBA IS courses, too theoretical and not adequately conveying "know how". Students took from this class real world experience in on-line advertising will work, or not work. The on-line advertising did not really work for the cultural center, as they were not selling anything on-line and did not have a way to measure the value from a click. It did bring home the need to coordinate their projects with the information systems function. Both teams conflicted with client scheduled web site outages. It also brought home how the design of the web site impacted advertising costs. The cultural center had a single page design that kept them from targeting a page for the ad. The law firm did not have this same challenge.

The Google on-line marketing Challenge: an outside commentator's opinion. - Brian Detlor presenting.

Three main wins - Students love the challenge, they get job offers. Teachers love it, Students are engaged and there are real world evaluation of student work. Participating businesses love it, they get free work and a chance to screen potential employees.

Brian's school does other experiential learning courses, but not this specific one. He sees some challenges, but thinks it is worth while.
Google on-line marketing challenge: a view from inside - Daniel Russell (the search quality, User Experience Research, Ads Quality & Search Education person)

www.gomcha.com is a social networking site for the challenge. Place for the students to continue to work together. Google wanted to do was teach students the in and outs of marketing in the internet age, giving them real world data on what is good, what is bad. They should also understand how web readers look at + understand web pages. Plus they begin to understand the consumer versus reader psychology. They wanted to inject these ideas, about how large the search marketing market is. As an example, specific keywords are better than generic keywords. Negative keywords are important to learn as well - when not to bring people in. Ad quality is about the same as Search quality. Having good sponsored links will cause users to see it as valuable. Search query length in the US is typically 2 words. Most queries are multiple words.

Web Site Optimizer allows you to do trade offs between multiple versions of pages. This allows you to understand and optimize your conversion rate. You can do this with only text changes, or larger site changes. Nice tool for learning how your site works, our EY.com team should leverage this.
The impact of the study was that the students left with a better understanding of the web ecostructure.

Advertising & Awareness with Sponsored Search - donturn@ischool.utexas.edu.

An Alternate study. Examine the idea of advertising for awareness of the UT iSchool. Ads for graduate studies, not driven by click through revenues. They developed an ad campaign to evaluate the Google Ads application. Goal was to build on models of web information seeking as part of the larger web experience.

Planned global & local search campaigns using statement and question ad copy for comparison. About 208000 impressions, 200,000 global. 160 click through rate (CTR). Their average position was 4th. The best click through rate was on the local campaign. The statement ad copy out performed the question ad copy. Gave them a large dataset from sponsored search services and tools. Start to understand more complex search tasks is of growing importance.

Gave an example of how words matter. Changing the word on the link from Sign up to Start using caused a 5x improvement in conversion. This has interesting connotations for our work on site design and metrics. We need to track button clicks, and be able to change things fairly quickly, so we can determine which links work and which do not.

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