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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


AdWords campaign helps nonprofit

The Google MIS Eller Online Marketing Challenge Competition took place on Friday and the Flinnovation group came out on top for its work with the nonprofit group Casa de los Niños.

Each year, Google puts on the Google Online Marketing Challenge, which partners groups of university students with companies. The groups utilize the Google program AdWords and a budget of $200 to help local businesses create effective online marketing campaigns. This was the first year Google included nonprofit businesses in the competition.

“”Normally people use AdWords just to increase revenue,”” said team member Ravi Ram.

“”This year Google wanted to encourage people to work with nonprofits to see if their advertising could work in the sense that their company is … just helping them.””

Ram, a sophomore studying biology and math, said the group came together out of a common interest in business and data analysis and was effective in helping Casa de los Niños.

“”We looked at a lot of the things they do in terms of design processes that would help them increase awareness of what they do that would help them get more success than what they already have in place,”” Ram said.

Flinnovation is comprised of three students from the UA and three from Arizona State University, all interested in seeing the business advantages of an AdWords campaign. The group decided to partner with Casa de los Niños because of its strong mission statement, which vows to help children who are victims of child abuse.

Flinnovation’s work with Google AdWords helped the nonprofit promote Night for Children, a program for which Casa de los Niños partnered with a local restaurants and held percentage nights to help raise funds. The student group’s work also helped Casa de los Niños gain a 250 percent increase in volunteer sign-ups online for a three-week period.

“”Volunteer sign-ups was, I think, our biggest contribution to them,”” said team member David Ware, a management information systems junior.

In addition to this help, the group outlined what aspects of their business Casa de los Niños could work on in the future to be more successful, such as directing all marketing at a distinct audience.

Sudha Ram, a management information systems professor, helped form the Flinnovation group and also had her students from a business intelligence course compete to help them better understand marketing issues.

Cristie Street, a judge for the competition and managing partner for the business Nextrio, said that intelligence of Google AdWords is a critical tool that should be mastered by all students.

“”No matter what discipline … this will become a tool that you will have to master and understand in business,”” Street said.

Sudha Ram will offer a web and social media analytics class in the fall. The class will incorporate elements similar to those learned in the Google AdWords competition and is open to students of all majors.

“”If anyone is looking for a major skill to add to their toolbox, whether they’re graduate or undergraduate they should come take this class,”” Street said. “”If I could have had all of my employees go through this class I would have. It’s that marketable of a tool.””

On top of Flinnovation’s $450 prize, the group has its eyes on the top prize in the Google worldwide competition. A panel of academics from across the world will select the winning team based upon the group’s success in its campaign. The competition includes nearly 3,000 teams and the winning team will go to Google headquarters.

Flinnovation is also vying for the Impact Award. The award is judged on the group’s effectiveness in working with its nonprofit organization. If Flinnovation wins the top prize, it will earn $15,000 for Casa de los Niños.

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