What is the Global Online Marketing Academic Challenge (GOMAC)?

GOMAC is a worldwide competition open to any student enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate course at a higher education institution.

Student teams, in conjunction with an industry client, compete to create, run, optimize and report on digital marketing campaigns that include Google Ads advertising and that may include other digital advertising platforms or channels.

GOMAC participants will be judged by their own professors at the first level. In these preliminary evaluations, professors will select their top team(s) for official GOMAC evaluation. Professors are restricted in how many teams they can submit for official GOMAC evaluation.

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The Global Online Marketing Academic Challenge (GOMAC) aims to substitute the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC), which Google discontinued in 2017. In an effort to continue to offer students a similar hands-on, practical learning competition in the digital advertising space, GOMC Academic Judges, panel members and other GOMC aficionados teamed together as the Global Online Marketing Academics (GOMA) in Fall 2017 to create the GOMAC.

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The GOMC, an AdWords (now Google Ads) challenge sponsored by Google, ran for 10 years and was discontinued in the Summer of 2017. In an effort to continue to offer students a similar hands-on, practical digital advertising competition, GOMC Academic Judge Panel members and other GOMC aficionados teamed together as the Global Online Marketing Academics (GOMA) in Fall 2017 and created the GOMAC.

The GOMC used an algorithm and written reports to rank teams while the GOMAC uses professor recommendations and written reports. The GOMC had technology and trips as part of the prize package; the GOMAC does not offer these prizes but does award certificates for select participants. Google funded the GOMC ad spend. GOMAC participants must find their own funding for ad spend. The GOMA community is in no way responsible for funds associated with running Google Ads or any other campaigns.

In 2018, Google created a new Online Marketing Challenge, the Google Ad Grants Online Marketing Challenge (OMC). While many of the professors on Google’s Global Academic Panel are also part of the GOMAC Organizing Committee, both Challenges are completely separate. Similar to the GOMC, the GOMAC is not the same as Google’s OMC and is not affiliated with it.

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GOMAC provides students with a hands-on learning experience with the Google Ads platform and other digital advertising platforms. This is your chance to work with a real company, spend real money, and accrue live website traffic. You compete against students from around the world to convince the judges’ panel that your campaign is the best!

The GOMAC is a great addition to your resume and a talking point for job interviews. In addition to practical digital advertising and consulting skills, you’ll learn valuable teamwork and communication skills. Although not a GOMAC requirement, many students also elect to become Google Ads certified before or after the competition.

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The Global Online Marketing Academics (GOMA) community runs the GOMA Challenge. GOMA comprises Academics from around the world who have digital marketing education experience and includes members of the GOMC Global Academic Panel and supervisors of GOMC winning teams. GOMA governs the GOMAC.

Professors with teams participating in the GOMAC and a few qualified volunteers judge the campaigns that are submitted to the Challenge.

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GOMAC would greatly appreciate your help with judging, administration, prizes and most anything else. Please email gomac-2019@googlegroups.com

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The GOMAC is not currently sponsored or funded. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact gomac-2019@googlegroups.com

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Direct your GOMAC questions to gomac-2019@googlegroups.com

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For 2017/2018, GOMAC is in its first iteration and will be considered a pilot.  As such, the GOMA encourages feedback and suggestions for improving the competition going forward.  We ask for understanding and patience as we work through any difficulties that may arise.

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The GOMAC is evolving and there may not be tangible prizes for GOMAC participants. We are working on this topic. As for intangible prizes, Regional and Worldwide Winners will be announced, promoted and recognized.

Semi-finalists, Finalists, Winners, and Honorable Mention teams will be able to download named digital certificate.

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Registering in the Global Online Marketing Academic Challenge

Any student enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate course at any Higher Education

Institution under the direction of a Professor affiliated with a Higher Education Institution, and over the age of majority in the country where they reside.

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Participating students must be in a team. The minimum number of students per team is three and the maximum is seven.

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No, unfortunately there is no mechanism to help students find teams to join for the GOMAC.

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Yes, all student teams must be affiliated with a registered professor.

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Students must be currently enrolled and under the supervision of a registered professor. Students may be in a course taught by the professor, in a club mentored by a professor, or in a group mentored by the registered professor.

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Professors involved in the competition may act as mentors, provide guidance or include the GOMAC in their course curriculum. There are varying acceptable degrees of professors involvement. No professor may participate as a GOMAC team member.

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All student teams must be signed up under the direction of a professor who is registered in the GOMAC.

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No, only students currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate course at any Higher Education Institution at the time of registration are eligible to participate in the GOMAC. The student(s) may graduate over the course of the competition.

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The number of teams entered per institution is at the discretion of the participating professor. From all the teams registered for the GOMAC under a specific professor, the professor will nominate the team(s) they wish to put forward to the subsequent GOMAC judging round.

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No, you do not have to be certified, nor have Google Ads experience, to participate in the GOMAC.

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Teams can register after their professor completes their registration. For more information on registration process, please see: GOMAC Registration.

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Yes, your team can have students originating from different institutions as long as all team members are enrolled in a course or an educational project in the professor’s institution.

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No, unfortunately participation is restricted to students enrolled in higher education institutions.

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You are eligible to participate in the GOMAC as long as you were not a part of a past GOMC or GOMAC winning team. Teams that also participate in the Google’s OMC (Google Ad Grants Online Marketing Challenge) are encouraged to participate to GOMAC. In fact, you can submit the same non-profit project at both the OMC and the GOMAC.

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Participating in the Global Online Marketing Academic Challenge

Students can source client companies or non-profit client organizations by developing relationships in the business community, reaching out to local Small Business Centres and Business Accelerators, talking with their school’s alumni office, or cold calling suitable companies. For more information about the Challenge, students can refer prospective companies to the GOMAC Website.

Unfortunately, the GOMAC Organizing Committee cannot provide assistance in sourcing clients, answer client questions, or liaise with clients in any way. The GOMAC organizing committee is not responsible in any way for the student-client relationship.

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All companies are eligible for the GOMAC but some suit the competition better than others.

With a small Google Ads budget it will be important to source clients whose searchable keywords have an affordable cost per click given the spend. Companies in the finance, insurance and legal space, as an example, typically have higher cost per clicks for relevant keywords than others.

Both for profit and non-profit organizations are eligible to participate in the GOMAC.

Companies who have participated in the GOMC or GOMAC  can participate as long as they were not a part of a winning team.

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Yes, you can work with a non-profit organization who is the recipient of a Google Ad Grant.

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Yes. A new Google Ads account for the GOMAC has to be created. Only new Google Ads accounts will be judged for this competition. Exceptionally, if students are working with a non-profit organization who is a Google Ad Grant recipient, they may use the existing Google Ads account associated with the Google Ad Grant under the conditions detailed in the GOMAC Terms and Conditions.

Companies with existing Google Ads accounts can either pause their campaigns while the student GOMAC campaigns are running or they can run simultaneously as long as both accounts do not collide in the same Google Ads auction.

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Yes, but they cannot have been a part of a winning GOMC or GOMAC team.

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It’s important to consider the cost per click of keywords that your team will bid on. If you’re working with a company with expensive keywords, this will be difficult with a low budget. Financial, insurance, and legal companies often see high cost per clicks. To research keyword cost per clicks, use Google’s Keyword Planner.

When deciding whether to work with a company in the GOMAC, students should ensure the company understands the timeline within which the student team needs to operate and is willing to work within them. The client should have a clear understanding of what to expect from the project and what they will receive at the completion of the project. They should know who is funding the advertising costs and how payments will be made. A contract or letter of understand between the student and client can help solidify an agreement between both parties.

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Student teams are required to submit slide decks. No written reports will be accepted.

For more information on writing Pre and Post-campaign decks, please see: Writing Campaign Reports

For information on the GOMAC’s detailed timeline, please see GOMAC Timeline.

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English. The judging committee will take into account that not all student teams are 100% fluent in English and that this should not penalize student teams.

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For teams to be evaluated, accounts must spend a minimum of $25USD on Google Ads during the campaign period. No maximum limit will be provided;judging will consider how the budget was optimized (regardless of its amount). There are no budget restrictions for other marketing platforms/channels.

For teams to be considered in the evaluation process, accounts will have to accumulate impressions for a minimum of 7 days and a maximum of 21 consecutive days on the Google Ads platform using any element of the Google Ads platform students find relevant for their campaign(s).

Within the 21 consecutive day maximum students can run their GOMAC campaigns also on marketing platforms other than Google Ads (Facebook, LinkedIn etc.). Students decide how many days within the 21 days period they will run the campaign on the other platforms/channels. Students can continue their GOMAC campaign on Google Ads and other platforms/channels beyond the 21 days. For the GOMAC evaluation, students can report no more than the maximum 21 consecutive days of the GOMAC campaign.

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You can run ads on the Google Display Network as well as any other available digital networks.

If you’re working with a non-profit organization funding this project through a Google Ad Grant, note that  other restrictions apply, such as not using the Display Network.

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Absolutely! Campaigns can use any additional digital marketing platforms/channels (e.g. social media like Facebook, Twitter) to enhance their campaigns and achieve their clients’ goals. Teams must,  however, spend a minimum of $25USD on Google Ads.

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While conversion measurement is not a required GOMAC component, successful campaigns often hinge on optimizing the cost per conversion. When possible, every digital campaigns should endeavor to track goals.

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Winning the Global Online Marketing Academic Challenge

Not all participating GOMAC teams are listed in the GOMAC Ranking table. To be in the GOMAC Ranking table, your professor must put your team forward to the Nominee category. Professors are restricted in the number of teams they may nominate for further GOMAC evaluation (see “Team numbers per professor” and “Team number per judging committee“ in the GOMAC Judging Process).

A professor must help in the judging process for his/her teams to be eligible to enter the GOMAC Nominee evaluation.

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At the preliminary level, professors evaluate their teams using their own criteria, in addition to the official judging rubric, to nominate those for official GOMAC judging.

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To be eligible for the GOMAC judging process, student teams must follow these guidelines:

  1. Submit Pre-campaign decks (using Google Slides) at least 24 hours before the start of campaign (start date based on the first impressions). Pre-campaign decks must contain 5-10 slides.
  1. Execute campaign(s). The Google Ads campaign(s) must receive impressions for a minimum of seven calendar days and for no more than 21 consecutive calendar days.
  1. Connect their Google Ads account to Google Data Studio for reviewing purposes. For more information see “Google Data Studio Reports” in the section “Writing Campaign Reports” of the GOMAC website.

Submit Post-campaign deck (using Google Slides or Google Data Studio) by the competition deadline. Post-campaign decks must contain 15-20 slides.

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At the preliminary level professors with teams participating in the GOMAC should use the common rubric and their own criteria to rank their teams in nomination for the official GOMAC Ranking.

Once professors have selected the team(s) to be nominated, they should follow the GOMAC Judging process instructions.

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