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What is the Google Online Marketing Challenge?

by Patrick Cusumano   |   Dec 08, 2015

If you’re a pay per click professional or a marketing professor, you may have heard of the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC). Since 2008 it has provided students with a competitive introduction to Google AdWords and Google+.

What Is the Google Online Marketing Challenge

The GOMC is a global competition for college students in which they use Google AdWords and Google+ to advertise a business or non-profit organization. Students in graduate or undergraduate programs can form teams of three to six people and register for the Challenge through a faculty member. Teams must then find a business or non-profit organization for which to run an online marketing campaign.

Teams are granted $250 to use in AdWords over a three-week period. Students write a pre-campaign strategy report prior to the three-week campaign window and follow up with a post-campaign report. It’s a fantastic learning experience for students who have an interest in PPC or any type of internet marketing. It’s fast-paced and exciting, plus, there are plenty of prizes to be won if you make it through the judging process.

Students have the option of also competing in the Social Media Marketing, and Social Impact portions of the Challenge. The Social Media portion requires additional reports for the Google+ campaign the teams run over a five week period. The Social Impact portion requires a couple more report pages describing the social impact of their client. This is only an option for teams who are working with non-profit organizations.

Why You Should Care

Students, I can speak from experience, having participated just last year. Do it! It was the most exciting, educational and rewarding academic experience I’ve ever had. You don’t need to have any prior knowledge before you jump in. Participating in this challenge will give you an excellent introduction to AdWords and the world of PPC, and could help you discover a passion you didn’t even know you had. You’ll gain excellent experience working with a deadline on a budget-constrained project with a team, which is valuable for virtually any profession. If you’ve completed the challenge already, check out this great post on some of the PPC skills you should start honing next.

If you are a marketing professor, I wholeheartedly believe this is one of the best learning opportunities out there for your students. You can be the faculty advisor for multiple teams of students and help them register. Whether you do this on the side with interested students, or make it part of a course curriculum, it is a great chance for students to get real-world experience in digital marketing and working with real clients as a team.

Digital Marketing Professionals

The GOMC is providing opportunities for young people to gain awareness, interest, and experience in internet marketing. The industry has been expanding quickly and the GOMC is contributing to that. If the GOMC and other experiences like it continue to grow in popularity, fewer and fewer entry-level PPC employees will need to be trained completely from the ground up, or at least they will be able to learn more quickly and jump into analyzing and managing accounts sooner. Look for it on resumes.

Four of us here at Workshop Digital participated in the GOMC, and Morgan’s team won! Google sums up the whole experience with this video, featuring the professor and students from my alma mater, James Madison University.

Get more from your digital marketing budgets.

Our guide can help you decide how to build the best team to get the best results.

portrait of Patrick Cusumano

Patrick Cusumano

Patrick Cusumano has been creating and implementing comprehensive digital marketing strategies at Workshop Digital since 2015. As a Paid Media Lead, he helps businesses of all sizes and industries, crafting unique marketing plans for each one. He is passionate about driving excellent results and building relationships with clients.

Patrick has a B.B.A. in Marketing from James Madison University, where he began his digital marketing journey while competing in the Google Online Marketing Challenge.

In his spare time, you’ll find Patrick playing board games, reading Star Wars novels, or watching soccer or hockey with his wife and his friends.