Executive Summary Campaign Overview: For our AdWords campaign, we reached out to Central Texas FIRST® in order to help increase traffic to their website: centraltxfirst.org through a 3-week period from April 13 – May 4, 2012 and a budget of $250. The ultimate goal of the Central Texas FIRST® AdWords campaign was to grow participation levels and sustain organization recruitment through the low season and increasing awareness by driving new, engaged traffic to the website. We established 3 main desired objectives for our campaign, a) reaching 12 clicks and 200 impressions a day, b) reaching a CTR of .06% and, c) maintaining an ad position between 1-6. Our strategy involved creating four campaigns: JR FLL/FLL, STEM, FTC, and Volunteers. Key Results: Through the campaign, traffic for Central Texas FIRST® was increased by 108 clicks in just 21 days during what would have been otherwise a slow period. Our goal of 12 clicks per day was not met, but this could be attributed to the high cost of relevant keywords due to high competition. The Traffic Estimator Tool allowed us to exceed our goal of 200 daily impressions, receiving 604 impressions per day. Through constant monitoring and adjustments to budgeting and ad copy, we managed to get a better CTR as our campaign developed. Our budgeting adjustment also helped our ads maintain an Avg. Position of 2.7. Keywords such as “science projects” and “robotics summer camps” demonstrated to be successful for gaining both impressions and clicks to the site. Conclusions and Future Recommendations: Although not all of our objectives were met, our team deems our AdWords campaign an overall success. Through our successes and failures we were able to come up with key insights about the target audience of our campaign that became of value and will be of value to Central Texas FIRST® in the future. We recommend CTF maintain AdWords in a pulsing method during their competition times or when they have a clear call to action. We also discovered the importance of relevancy and ad copy to the success of AdWords campaigns. Relevancy along with an established call to action will bring in more traffic to the website, allow for a more engaged audience and provide a way of measurement through conversion. Finally, a major insight we gained from our campaign came from our most successful keywords and Ad Groups. It is clear through high impressions and CTRs that there is a need for parents who are in search for STEM related programs, especially for their young daughters. CTF should definitely capitalize on this during their competition period by using AdWords to advertise their Lego competitions in order to reach their goal of increasing female participation rates.
Industry Component Campaign Overview: For our Central Texas FIRST速 AdWords campaign, our overall goal was to grow participation levels, especially from females, and sustain organization recruitment through the low season and increasing awareness by driving new, engaged traffic for Central Texas FIRST速 through increased traffic to centraltxfirst.org. In order to measure the success of our campaign, we established 3 major goals: a) capture an average of 12 clicks and 200 impressions per day, b) have an overall CTR of .06%, and c) maintain an ad position between 1-6. Our campaign consisted of 4 campaigns, all targeted at the different programs CTF manages, and 16 Ad Groups, with their relevant keywords. Operational Details: Our campaign was scheduled to run from April 13 - May 4, 2014. However, due to budget depletion the campaign was only active for 21 total days from April 13 - May 2, 2012. During the campaign window, ads ran consecutively 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. The campaign initiated with 16 Ad Groups, but due to low CTRs, 4 total Ad Groups were paused throughout the 3 weeks. This was done after we realized the paused campaigns were not relevant to the time period we were working with. Instead, we concentrated our budget and focused our energy on Ad Groups that showed success in the first few days, through high search volume and CTRs. The budget was monitored daily in order to ensure no one campaign was running out the money too fast. Daily monitoring also allowed for the adjustment of the budget to distribute it across the campaigns based on average daily clicks and the CTR received by each campaign. Through this strategy, more money was allocated to the campaigns that were driving success. Table 1 shows the total cost per week for each campaign. Table 1: Actual Budget Spent by Week and Campaign Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Campaign Total
JR FLL/FLL $43.34 $73 $56.28
FTC $0 2.62 $0
Volunteers $0 $0 $0
STEM $7.96 $42.45 $23.48
Weekly Total $51.30 $118 $79.76
Each team member was responsible for monitoring the status of the campaign on a daily basis. Reporting tools and the Keyword Tool were used in order to identify any changes needed to ensure the success of the overall campaign. For the most part, major changes were made with the consensus of all team members involved.
Evolution of Campaign Strategy: Week One – Building Blocks: During Week 1 of our campaign, we began with the budget initially planned and all active Campaigns and Ad Groups. The first few days started off slow only leading to a couple of clicks per day. Through constant monitoring we noticed a few of our keywords were “Below the first place bid” and decided, as a group, that the budget needed to be adjusted. This was the first major change we made. Our initial budget was set too low for the words that would get us the most impressions, so we increased the budget of good quality words such as “science projects” and “girls science programs.” This change led to an increase in clicks and impressions, ending the week with 29 total clicks and 3,503 impressions. Week 2 – The Heavy-Up: We were excited as we entered Week 2 with positive results, however, we were well below our goal of 12 clicks per day and wanted to modify our campaign further in order to increase our CTR of 83%. As a group, we realized that a main issue with our campaign was message relevancy. Although we had created various campaigns with satisfactory Keywords, most were not being clicked because of the lack of relevancy to our audience. For example, we initially created an Ad Group targeted at college volunteers, but with further discussion, we realized that the months of April and May are low in volunteer search for college students. This prompted our second major change to the campaign: pausing irrelevant keywords and creating a new Ad Group, with a new landing page, under each campaign with a more relevant message. Many of the keywords under our Volunteer Campaign were paused, although the campaign itself was not completely eliminated since we agreed that having a couple of clicks from this would not hurt our budget. In addition, Ad Groups promoting kids summer camps were added under each campaign and budget was set high for these keywords, in order to drive in more traffic. Through this change, we saw an increase in impressions by 21% and our clicks by 93%. Due to the high cost for the first place position of some of our keywords, our Avg. CPC for Week 2 increased to $2.11. Week 3- Coup de Grace: By Week 3, we had a good idea on what keywords and ads were performing at a better rate than others. Therefore, our concentration turned to spending the remaining $83 on our account on those campaigns that were doing well. We increased our bids for certain keywords, some up to $4 in order to get a higher position for our ads. We also monitored those ads that were performing at better rates in order to ramp up their frequency shown more. By May 2 , our balance ran out and we ended Week 3 with 23 more clicks and nd
3,894 more impressions.
Key Results: Campaign: Overall, the campaign met and exceeded some of our initial goals set at the beginning. We did not manage to meet our goal of 12 clicks per day, gaining only an average of 5 per day. However, our ending 12,095 impressions exceeded our goal of 200 per day, giving our campaign an average 604 impressions daily. During the 3 week period all our Ad Groups managed to maintain an average position between 1 and 6, which was success metric established in our goals. Below is visual representation of our Pre-Campaign goals compared to our actual results. Table 2: Goals vs. Actual Performance Pre-Campaign Goals
Actual Campaign Results
Our top 2 campaigns were the JR FLL/FLL and STEM groups. The JR FLL/FLL campaign brought in the most impressions and clicks, increasing from 2, 759 impressions and 26 clicks in Week 1 to 9,753 impressions and 86 clicks at the end of the 3-week period. This campaign did see a slight decrease in CTR, dropping from 94% to 88%. This drop however, is due to the limited budget remaining in our balance running into Week 3. Although our second most successful campaign, STEM, only brought in a total of 1,726 impressions, it saw an increase in CTR from .59% in Week 1 to 1.22% by the end of the campaign. We attribute the success of these campaigns to our efforts in adding relevancy and adjustment of budgets to increase our overall ad position. Addition of our “FLL Summer” Ad Group helped increase our campaign’s impressions and clicks, making it our second most successful Ad Group along with “Girls FLL.” Out of our initial 16 active Ad Groups, 5 were paused throughout the 3 weeks due to low impressions and irrelevancy. This focused our concentration on those groups that were proving successful to the campaign. From the remaining 11 active groups, all gained impressions throughout the campaign, with the lowest being our “Volunteers Summer” Ad Group with only 5 total impressions. In addition, 7 out of our 11 active Ad Groups gained at least 1 click. These clicks came from our chosen Keywords. The Keyword Tool and Traffic estimator were a great influence in the way our group selected our keywords. We began with a total of 188 keywords and a few negative words. However, as the campaign continued and through monitoring, we realized that many of our keywords were irrelevant and not gaining enough impressions. Therefore, we deleted or paused a few of our
selected words. In the end, only about 12 of our keywords received multiple clicks and impressions and so we dedicated our budget to those. Overall, our more general and broad keywords performed the best during the campaign. The tables below summarize our metrics for our top 2 campaigns and Ad Groups and their respective keywords. Table 3: Summary of Key Performance Indicators by Week for the Top Two Campaigns Campaign JR FLL/FLL
Week 1 2 3 1 2 3
Clicks 26 42 18 3 13 5
Impressions 2,759 3,657 3,338 508 816 402
CTR .94% 1.15% .54% .59% 1.59% 1.24%
Avg. CPC $1.67 $1.74 $3.13 $2.65 $3.27 $4.70
Avg. Pos 3.2 2.4 2.3 2.7 2.8 3.3
Table 4: Summary of Key Performance Indicators for the Top Two Ad Groups and Keywords Ad Group
Science projects “science projects” child activities
Robotics summer camp Engineering summer camp Science summer camp
Conclusions: In the end, our campaign performed up to our standards. We had a slow start with hundreds of impressions but very few clicks. As our team began to learn the practical ins and outs of AdWords, we managed to gain a total of 108 clicks for Central Texas FIRST® in just 21 days. Due to high competition among the keywords relevant to our non-profit, CPC increased as the campaign proceed, however high relevancy of our keywords improved our CTR, ending at .89%. Future Recommendations: Google AdWords helped increase traffic to our organization’s website. If Central Texas FIRST® wants to continue to use AdWords in the future, we recommend they use it in a pulsing method. It would benefit CTF more to run AdWords when they have a clear call to action, such as needing volunteers to register for an event, wanting to recruit mentors or participants or when they want to promote an event. Due to the fact that the competition season is over for CTF, our campaign had a difficult time having a clear call to action that we could use to measure conversion. Therefore, we focused mostly on traffic and CTRs for the site. A trend obvious in our campaign was the high click through
rates for our Ad Groups targeted at young women. One of the goals of Central Texas FIRST® includes increasing female participation rates across all 3 of their programs. Our campaign definitely demonstrated great potential in helping achieve this goal, through the high impressions and CTR of our campaigns targeted at girls. To continue with this forward momentum, we advise CTF to run several campaigns aimed at this very receptive audience, before their competition season begins. Insights: We identified three key insights during the course of this campaign that can be applied not only to our non-profit, but also to all organizations that hope to assemble an effective AdWords campaign. 1) Timing. Running ads for after school programs at the end of May, for example, did not work for us, because our audience is not looking for this at the end of the school year. Had we run this exact campaign in late July or early August, we may have met more success, since our audience would be receptive to this time-sensitive “event,” the beginning of the competition season. Once we made these ads targeted toward Skillpoint’s upcoming summer events, we were met with a complete turnaround. From this mistake, we learned that AdWords is most successfully used when there is a specific event or important period, in the organization. 2) Message Relevancy. Our second most successful keyword, “robotics summer camp,” yielded an ad that had those exact words in the copy. This brought in an audience of Google users who were searching for exactly what CTF had to offer, but didn’t know of its existence. As obvious as it may seem to incorporate exact keywords in our limited message, it took us a few days to figure out that beating around the bush wasn’t necessarily the best way to reach the right audience, although it would have made sense for the budget. It is important to identify quality keywords that result in desired action, and appeal to this message in the ad copy. 3) Message Specificity. Our most successful keyword, “science projects,” with an ad targeted to girls, is a perfect example of how sending a message that seems to speak to a more targeted user, yields more click-throughs and the potential for more action. Keywords such as “girls science” and “girls math” in the same ad group yielded similar success. This goes to show the importance in not only knowing your audience, but showing your audience that you know them. Sending a more relevant and thus engaging message is a foolproof way to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of breaking through the clutter of competing advertisers.
Learning Component Learning Objectives and Outcomes: When we started the Google Online Marketing Challenge, none of the members of On Point Media had used Google AdWords. Naturally, the first thing we expected to learn from the Challenge was how to utilize this tool to create and continually analyze our online marketing campaign. This challenge is also one of the first times as students we got to utilize actual money to implement a campaign. We looked forward to handling actual dollars and all hoped to learn how to effectively manage this money to make it last through the 3-week period and distribute it effectively to gain the most benefits for our client. In order to really understand the performance of our campaign, we hoped to get acquainted with Google Analytics, a platform that none of our members had used before. Overall, our group feels like all our learning objectives were met and we came out with more knowledge than we expected. Through the challenge we learned how important it is to create campaigns that are relevant to your target audience at that moment in time. During the competition, we realized how important various Google tools such as the Traffic Estimator and Keyword Tool are to implementing a successful campaign; reliance on these tools was unexpected but welcomed. As a group, we managed to monitor our $250 budget and learned how to distribute it across our campaigns to gain the most impressions and clicks for fewer dollars. An unexpected outcome of the campaign was the constant monitoring required for the overall AdWords campaign, the budget and even Google Analytics. Our group learned that in order to get the most effective results, members have to monitor all numbers carefully to make sure we are not running low on money too fast or wasting dollars on irrelevant clicks. As a team, we successfully learned how to navigate both Google AdWords and Google Analytics in order to display the ads that we felt were most appropriate and effective, as well as how to monitor the expenditures and adjust cost per clicks for each keyword as we tracked where most of the activity was coming from. We discovered that not every part of every campaign can be successful, and because of that, we had to cut out a so that we could focus our time and energy into the ones that were getting positive results. By putting our campaign planning skills into practice, we learned a lot about often overlooked aspects of planning such as interpersonal relationship management, media payment models, and how incorporating social media can be a useful addition to a clientâ€™s business. In addition to learning about the strategic processes of running a campaign, we also learned how to deal with real-life situations when working with a client and when working as a team to meet the clientâ€™s needs.
Group Dynamics: As a team, we faced interpersonal and intergroup challenges due to the complex and subjective nature of preparing a marketing strategy. Communication and scheduling were two of the biggest variables that the team’s ability to operate seamlessly. Several tools, such as GroupMe texts and Google Docs, were used to keep the group updated as well as all of our documents organized. Client Dynamics: Since Central Texas FIRST® is a local nonprofit, they very supportive of our efforts. Jessica Galfas, the operations manager, gave us access to CTF social media and website analytics to help us gather more information for our campaign. Since Jessica had a busy schedule, we expected to have a difficult time trying to contact her. However, she met with us whenever needed and returned email messages promptly; we were pleasantly surprised. The only problem we encountered was that we did not have access to registered users’ emails of Central Texas FIRST® to send them email blasts. To solve this, Jessica sent the email blasts and made sure we approved the messages before they were sent. In the end, we had an extremely supportive client and it was a fulfilling experience for us to help a local nonprofit. Future Recommendations: If we could do anything differently to improve our campaign strategy, we would have made a worthy attempt to be AdWords certified beforehand. This would have allowed us to be more efficient with our campaign choices, including starting with fewer campaigns in the first week to see how well they would perform. We believe that more involvement with the client and our attendance at their events would have been beneficial to really understand their mission. In the future, we would recommend creating an accountability system for the team to make sure everyone is making adequate contributions, as well as a hard schedule for team and client meetings so that everyone is kept up-to-date on each step of the process and can work together to generate the insights needed to steer the campaign on the right track.
Impact Statement Nonprofit Verification Information Central Texas FIRST®, Centraltxfirst.org 201 East 2nd Street, Suite B, Austin, Texas 78701 Jessica Galfas Social Impact Central Texas FIRST® is a nonprofit organization that benefits the city of Austin by getting kids involved in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) community. There are three different programs for Central Texas FIRST®: Jr. FLL, FLL, and FTC. The first program is Jr. FLL: Junior FIRST® LEGO® League. Jr. FLL is a program for students ages 6-9 and they participate in designing and constructing a LEGO® model, which varies each competition. The foundation of this program is to apply real-world math and science problems to get students interested in STEM. The second program is FLL: The FIRST® LEGO® League. This program is for children, ages 9-14, to learn critical thinking, teambuilding and presentation skills. FLL teams also apply math and science concepts to research, design, build, and program autonomous robots using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology. The third program is FTC: The FIRST® Tech Challenge. The FTC is a hands-on robotics tournament for high school students. Students design, build, and program robots with the help of coaches and volunteers. The robots are then able to compete in a competition. The program allows students to develop problem solving, organizational, and teambuilding skills. AdWords Design The goals for Central Texas FIRST® include getting more students involved with STEM (especially girls) and getting more volunteers, coaches and sponsors. Our AdWords campaign design included four different campaigns: Jr. FLL/FLL, FTC, Volunteers, and STEM. The design intended to do a few things. For the Jr. FLL and FLL campaign, the main target were parents seeking an afterschool activity or an education program for their child. The FTC campaign aimed at high school students interested in science and technology, looking for different ways to further pursue their interest. The Volunteers campaign actively looked for students and adults interested in helping out the community by volunteering or donating any time or money to Central Texas FIRST®. Lastly, the STEM campaign was designed to attract potential sponsors, coaches, or participants that were involved in the STEM community.
Campaign Results The Jr. FLL/FLL and STEM AdWords campaigns were the most successful campaigns. The Jr. FLL/FLL campaign netted 86 out of the 108 clicks and generated 9,754 out of the 12,097 impressions. The STEM campaign received 21 clicks and 1,727 impressions. The FTC campaign received 1 click and 556 impressions. The Volunteers campaign received 0 clicks and only 60 impressions. The AdWords campaign averaged 600 impressions per day, 5 clicks per day, a .89% click through rate, and an average position of 2.7. AdWords Campaign Impact Central Texas FIRST®‘s mission is to get more students involved with STEM. With that being said, the AdWords campaign was designed to bring more students, parents, volunteers, donators, and sponsors to the webpage. The campaign was limited to Central Texas cities because Central Texas FIRST® is only interested in local site traffic due to the fact there are plenty of FLL programs throughout the United States. The AdWords campaign received over 100 clicks and 10,000 impressions, which created more brand awareness and encouraged the youth of Austin to spend their time and energy, especially in the upcoming summer months, on educational programs such as the STEP UP Summer Camp. Advice Since Central Texas FIRST® is a small, local based nonprofit, we believe that they should only use Google AdWords whenever they have a clear call to action, such as recruiting more volunteers or participants before an event. Since the competitions for Central Texas FIRST® are seasonal, CTF should not use AdWords in the offseason, which is in the summer. One of the goals of Central Texas First includes increasing female participation rates across all 3 of their programs. Our campaign demonstrated great potential in helping achieve this goal. As a result, we advise CTF to run several campaigns during their competition time aimed at girls when the message would be more relevant.