Universities rise to the Google Online Challenge

Announcement
January 16, 2008

Professors across the U.S. and the world have partnered with Google Inc. to introduce students to the world of online advertising and already 8,000 students are ready for the challenge.

The Google Online Marketing Challenge is a hands-on competition which will give undergraduate and post-graduate students direct experience with online advertising and marketing. Student groups will receive $200 to spend on Google AdWords™ advertising, working with a local business of their selection to devise effective online marketing campaigns. They will outline a strategy, run the campaign, assess their results, and provide the business with recommendations to further develop their online marketing.

Students will have three weeks to mastermind the strategy and will pit their marketing minds against thousands of students worldwide. During the three week period, the different student groups will have to submit two competition reports, one before they begin the Challenge and one after the campaign has ended. Entries will be judged by an international panel of professors and winners will be chosen based on the success of the campaigns and quality of the reports.

With 724 teams in the U.S. already registered for the competition, there are still two weeks left for additional universities to sign-up. The Challenge begins in February 2008 and is open to any higher education institution from anywhere in the world.

David Lawee, vice president of product marketing at Google said:

"As online marketing becomes a larger part of the overall marketing mix, we think it is important to help the world’s future business leaders understand the medium and the vast opportunity that exists online. By connecting university students with local businesses in their area we hope to give students great experience and help local businesses harness the power of the web to attract more customers."

"We set an initial target of 200 participating classes worldwide and are delighted that we have surpassed this target with 724 university teams in the US already signed up. Since there is no limit to how many teams can participate and there are still two weeks to register, we look forward to more universities signing up."

Ashish Goel, associate professor at Stanford University, said:

"In my opinion, the Google Online Challenge is an excellent and rare blend of business strategy and online marketing insight. This will lead to great discussions as students have to identify a business, devise an advertising strategy, and optimize their online campaign. This will encourage them to think both technically and in real-world terms. Both students and businesses benefit: the students get business experience, and the businesses get free online marketing. Having this practical hands-on experience is priceless in today’s business world."

The challenge works like this:

  1. Professors divide students into groups, who then receive free online advertising vouchers for Google AdWords worth $200.
  2. The groups or professors recruit a small to medium sized business, under 100 employees, who have a website but don’t currently use AdWords. Each group works with the business to set up an account and structure an online marketing campaign.
  3. During a 3 week competition window, the groups optimize and refine their campaigns. They will need to submit two competition reports – one before they begin and one after the campaign has ended. Entries are judged and winners chosen based on the success of their campaign and the quality of their reports.
  4. To accommodate students all over the globe, students can compete over any three consecutive weeks between the February 10th, 2008 and May 24th, 2008.
  5. Global and regional winners will be announced in July 2008.
  6. More details can be found at: www.google.com/onlinechallenge/index.html

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