The Google Online Marketing challenge seeks to turn college and business school students into search marketers (in most cases local). We wrote about it when the program was announced. Google says that there are now 724 teams in the US (two weeks before the competition begins) and there appear to be many around the globe as well.
This is a brilliant idea on many levels:
- It creates a local force of SEMs around the globe
- It generates buzz for search marketing and local search in particular
- It will create exposure for AdWords in local markets and a word-of-mouth “ripple effect”
- It will help expose college and business students to SEM
- It will create some great learning for Google in the reports that are generated (and more buzz when the winner(s) are announced)
Here’s how it works according Google: 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 February 10th, 2008, and May 24th, 2008. 5. Global and regional winners will be announced in July 2008.