Success for MSc E-Business & Innovation team in Google Online Marketing Challenge 2014

the MSc E-Business & Innovation student team

14 October 2014

A team of students from the MSc E-Business & Innovation have been ranked as AdWords Business Semi-Finalists in the Google Online Marketing Challenge, achieving second in the UK out of 57 teams.

The Google Online Marketing Challenge is a unique opportunity for students to experience and create online marketing campaigns using Google AdWords or Google+. Google provides a limited advertising budget of $250 and the students have to run an advertising campaign for a business or non-profit organisation over a three-week period.

The five students from the E-Business & Innovation MSc course were supervised by Dr Mark Rouncefield from Lancaster’s School of Computing and Communications. The team ran a Google AdWords campaign for Knowledge Partners Ltd and their new business stream National Park Traveller with Director Nick Truch. The main objective of the campaign was to create awareness of the business among online visitors searching for holiday options in national parks around the world. In addition to their second place in the UK, the team ranked 10th in Europe among 1139 teams and 28rd among 2500 teams globally. This outstanding result is due to hard work that demonstrated excellent AdWords proficiency and understanding of online advertising.

The five members of the team were: Juan Bastosfrom Colombia, Chun-Nien Yang from Taiwan, Li-Fan Chuang from Taiwan, Ioannis Vaganof from Greece, and Petar Trendafilov from Bulgaria.

Dr Casey Wilson, Director of the MSc E-Business & Innovation, said: “I’m really proud that the team did so well in such a competitive challenge. Their outstanding result is testament to their hard work and to the understanding they’ve developed of online marketing.”

The five participants described the benefits they got from this important professional experience:

Li-Fan Chuang mentioned the importance of the support from the client: “Knowledge Partners Ltd gave us the opportunity to design and implement an online advertising campaign for their new business stream National Park Traveller with the goal of attracting customers who have already decided to book holidays and were searching for a travel agency. In addition, we wanted to increase the brand awareness of the company.”

Ioannis Vaganof discussed the main goal of participation: “It was to better understand the process of online advertising. With different backgrounds and thinking styles, it was important for us to have the chance to complete one project with a real client, in a high-pressure environment, delivering in a professional manner. In addition, we wanted to cooperate together as a team, because we did not have the chance to participate in the same client-based project during the Masters degree.”

The most important outcomes were summarised by Petar Trendafilov: “All the members of our team feel pleased because during this month we developed many technical ‘soft’ skills. First, we understand better the important concepts of a Google search advertising campaign, such as landing pages, type of Ad Texts, the importance of bidding strategies. In addition, we learned many lessons of group working and stakeholder management.”

Chun-Nien Yang mentioned more technical details: “We created four campaigns, divided into 71 Ad Groups and 1295 keywords in total and during these three weeks we constantly reduced these numbers based on the number of impressions, clicks, quality score and the CTR. At the end of our participation in the competition, we had three campaigns and around 50 keywords active. Our key results indicate that the campaign showed continuous growth in terms of CTR, meeting the requirements of our marketing objective such as obtaining new customers and generating more impressions of the brand.”

Juan Bastos focused on the cooperation between the team and key results: “Our different experiences and way of thinking supported the whole process to achieve a campaign that had daily positive progress, which was one of our main goals. During the campaign, we divided our team to perform two major roles, an analytic team and an implementation team. With this distribution, we followed a cooperative process of ‘analyse-implement-monitor’, during the entire campaign.”