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Sample 5 Demonstrating Technology

Google Adwords Campaign

Description: For the class “Seminar in Applied Information Systems for Information Specialists” which we referred to as “Online Marketing” I worked in a team of three to participate in the “Google Adwords Challenge” - a national educational competition sponsored by Google in which student teams work with a local business or non-profit to run a digital advertizing campaign with a budget provided by Google. Our Spartanburg-based team selected the local Arts Partnership and its physical plant the Chapman Cultural Center. We ran an Adwords campaign for three weeks to advertise a concert the Chapman Cultural Center was putting on with the bluegrass band Balsam Range. We worked extensively with Google Analytics, the Google Adwords platform, and the Google Keyword Research tool.

Google Adwords Campaign Summary (PDF)

Analysis: Though I had some very limited exposure to Google Analytics previously, I considered this my opportunity to dive into learning Google Analytics as deeply as I could. I pushed hard create a goal funnel that could measure when a ticket was purchased and could backtrack where exactly that ticket purchaser had come from. I worked to install new analytics code with the company that built the Chapman Cultural Center’s website and provided them with documentation about a method I researched extensively. My hard work did not ultimately pay off in the kind of measurement I sought, however. At the end of it we were unable to determine whether or not our advertising had influenced a single ticket sale. But from a learning perspective, a difficult road and ultimate failure in our business objective probably taught us more than if we had met with success. Our learning goals were to become comfortable with Google Adwords, Analytics and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools; to learn and apply universal principles of marketing; and to learn to scientifically measure and assess the impact of particular marketing techniques. We felt that we met each of those goals.

Reflection: At the beginning of the project we hoped to implement a plan our client could realistically continue to utilize after the challenge was over. This evolved into simply discerning whether Adwords was appropriate for our client. It was an important lesson to realize that just because you have a tool or a specialized set of knowledge, that does not mean it makes good business sense to apply it for a given organization - especially a small, resource-strapped and understaffed nonprofit. I learned so much about marketing with this project. The promise of hard numbers, of proof of the effectiveness of your methods, is very alluring, but illusory. Some of the most effective marketing methods simply can’t be measured. Other marketing methods offer reams of data but sometimes the effort to obtain that data, to wade through it, and to make sense of it, can exceed the reasonable budget of effort your organization can afford and it makes most sense to simply do more and measure less. None of these lessons quenched the profound curiosity I developed about Google Analytics, however; in fact, when it became apparent that this knowledge would help me in my professional capacity at Converse College I went on to get a certification in analytics for higher education. I also used my knowledge to run other digital advertising campaigns including Facebook ads for Converse.