Conquering the Google Ads academic challenge

North Metropolitan TAFE Graphic Design students have just completed the 2019 Google Online Marketing Academic Challenge.

The Global Online Marketing Academic Challenge (GOMAC) is a unique opportunity for students to experience and create online marketing campaigns using Google Ads. Under the supervision of Graphic Design lecturer Brendan Hibbert, 37 North Metropolitan TAFE Advanced Diploma students developed digital marketing campaigns for real clients in Perth and Melbourne.

The 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, optimise and report on digital marketing campaigns that include Google Ads. Whilst it involves mostly universities around the globe and is firmly established in marketing curriculum, North Metropolitan TAFE offers this within the graphic design course.

“Students come with no knowledge of Google Ads and have to develop and refine campaigns using real money for real clients”, said Brendan. “The system is quite complicated and it takes years of training and professional practice to master it, so this is definitely an immersive experience.”

“This gives students better all-rounder knowledge to stand out in the industry and to operate all aspects of their own businesses”, Brendan said. “Students discover the importance of relevance, density of keywords and carefully tracking actual search terms.”

Some of the clients represented this year included a Cabinet Maker in Mandurah; a fresh streetwear designer in Melbourne; Port City Cycles in Fremantle, Northside Caravan Repairs, a family run 4WD rental business and students even built a website for Conon Road Kindergarten in Perth’s south prior to starting the challenge to increase effectiveness and quality score.

“The businesses also benefit a lot from this project. They are mostly small family organisations, so each click is a potential customer who can bring them revenue” said Brendan.

Student Rebecca Rumball worked with a team of students promoting online Floral Design retailer, she explains “This was such a different experience in our design studies. It was another element of digital design that demanded an extra set of skills to our existing web knowledge. It was such a continuous learning experience.”

“We had to liaise with a real client who’s business goals and unique positioning offered real opportunities for growth and conversion. Understanding what she needed and how we could help really stretched our team and we realised how complex and advanced Google Ads as a online platform can be”

Students Callum Macrae, Muslim Al-Mohemmad, Joshua Calder were one of the best performing teams, developing a website ( and then sending relevant customers looking for before and after school requirements.

“Our client was ecstatic and extremely happy with the transparency of our learning. We were developing and sharing the knowledge as we acquired it, which made them even more confident in our abilities. We are certain we can now take these skills and apply it to other businesses.”

Students also enjoyed an insightful and advice laden talk prior to beginning the Google Challenge when Alex Gavalas, from digital marketing company Bonfire, who unpacked some valuable Google Ads techniques.

“Alex presented some brilliant case studies and has developed a new engaging presentation after supporting TAFE for three challenges in a row. It is becoming clearer each year where the gaps in understanding of pay per click advertising are. Things we all take for granted, but when studied, reveal startling depth”, said Brendan.

Results of the competition will be announced in September. Congratulations to all the Advanced Diploma Graphic Design students involved in this global challenge.