Title: Advertising academia with sponsored search: an exploratory study examining the effectiveness of Google AdWords at the local and global level

Authors: Don Turnbull, Laura F. Bright

Addresses: School of Information, University of Texas, 1 University Station D7000, Austin, TX 78712, USA. ' Department of Advertising, University of Texas, 1 University Station A1200, Austin, TX 78712, USA

Abstract: An exploratory study conducted in late autumn and early winter 2006–2007 investigates the purchasing of sponsored search advertising for a major US university|s academic department. The ad campaign used Google|s AdWord service with the goal of increasing awareness of the academic department and encouraging potential graduate admissions or admissions inquiries. A behavioural model of information seeking is suggested that could be applied for selecting appropriate types of online advertising for awareness and other advertising goals. The study found little overlap between traditional, commerce-oriented online advertising methods and a general awareness campaign, as evidenced by a low click-through rate to the targeted site. Insights for future studies include increased integration with server logs, targeted site query terms and alternative awareness strategies.

Keywords: sponsored search; online advertising; search engines; behavioural model; information seeking; electronic business; e-business; Google AdWords; web advertising; internet advertising; US universities; USA; United States; higher education; university ad campaign; academic departments; graduate admissions; increasing awareness; awareness strategies.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2008.018070

International Journal of Electronic Business, 2008 Vol.6 No.2, pp.149 - 171

Published online: 28 Apr 2008 *

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