Stunning Performance by Mihaylo Students for a Global Social Cause

With minimal prior experience on Google AdWords and Google Analytics, Mihaylo students dove right in to learn the user interface and gain valuable marketing skills.

“It was the best marketing class I have had in my career as a student, and I am really thankful for the experience,” says marketing student Tobias Gutsche ’13.

Gutsche was one of many students that participated in a Mihaylo marketing class using GoogleAdWords to increase the overall awareness of a nonprofit organization by increasing traffic to the organization’s website.

Teams of four students each were tasked with creating advertisements for a company using Google ads. Each team had a $250 budget, selected an organization and consulted with the owner of the chosen organization to better understand the company’s objectives. The teams received training and support from Google representatives.

Team Members

From left to right: Chloe Wang, Carl Jiang, Tobias Gutsche and Brandon Heethuis

In fall 2013, impressive results were generated from one group of students in particular. The team included Gutsche, Brandon Heethuis 14, Carl Jiang ’14and Chloe Wang ’13.

The impressive marketing strategies performed by these students helped generate more than 1,000 new visits to the Travel2Change website.Travel2Change website page

Travel2Change is headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, and was founded by Thomas Kohler in 2011 to help create meaningful change. This organization has sponsored an array of projects all over the world. One project, “Hawaii Trash Trail,” raised awareness of trash pollution and promoted better waste management on the main island of Hawaii. Volunteers walked the 126-mile Belt Road Highway while picking up trash along the way.

The team wanted to support the value of this organization by contributing their expertise with this Google AdWords project. 

 “[The Travel2Change] goal is to give back to communities and to help people with fewer possibilities,” says Gutsche.  “Which is amazing, and has fascinated me since the first day.”

This organization hosts an online platform where people share their ideas and projects. They support travelers’ ideas to help enhance local communities all over the world. Travel2Change does not have the funds to support all of the projects presented on their platform, and they are supported mostly by sponsors. Before this Google AdWords project, their only form of advertising was through social media, like Facebook and YouTube.

The Mihaylo team’s main focus was to boost the traffic to the Travel2Change website and increase the amount of volunteers currently participating in the organization. Their original goal was to raise the number of visitors to the website by at least 15 people per week.

Their marketing strategy was divided into three campaigns. The challenge campaign used 62% of their budget and targeted people searching online for trips to Hawaii. The community volunteer campaign was their most effective campaign and showed that people interested in volunteer opportunities were more likely to click on the ad. The image campaign was the least effective of the three and focused on the ability of travelers to volunteer in typical vacation locations.

During the campaign they learned that flexibility and responsiveness were vital to a successful marketing strategy. They gained valuable marketing knowledge by constantly adjusting the different campaign elements throughout the 23-day project.

The results of their efforts brought outstanding numbers. The team increased the total visitors by 71.1%, and 42 new projects were created during the time they ran the ad campaign. The team generated more than 198,000 impressions and 1,973 new clicks on the website.

“Our campaign doubled the amount of volunteers for Travel2Change, which we thought would never be possible for the two-year-old organization,” wrote a team representative in a project summary they turned in for class.

This class, Marketing 353, is part of a four-year ongoing partnership with Google representatives, and is taught by Marketing Professor Catherine Atwong.

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