Students Use Data to Help Local Nonprofits

UT student Jacob Tankersley has spent the fall semester using Google Ad Words for Nonprofits in order to raise awareness about The Restoration House, a local nonprofit that helps single mothers and their children get back on their feet. The organization offers transitional housing, ally teams, and family advocacy programs.
Tankersley is in an upper-level business analytics class called Search Engine Marketing: Paid Search Advertising Management and Optimization Strategies. The class was created by Julie Ferrara, assistant department head for business analytics and statistics in UT’s Haslam College of Business. It was one of the first courses to receive an S designation, which means it offers experiential learning based in service-learning.   

Tankersley and his classmates have learned the fundamentals of creating, managing, and optimizing online marketing campaigns using a set budget from their client to create Google AdWords campaigns.

Ferrara has spent her career helping organizations make data-based decisions. Now her students get to create actual campaigns and use the data they generate to make their campaigns better.
“I designed this class to ensure our students get hands-on digital marketing experience. Most undergraduate students haven’t worked with clients at this level,” she said. “I see the class as students not only learning how to create search engine marketing campaigns that help a nonprofit or only learning how to analyze search marketing data, but both.”
Tankersley, of Knoxville, a senior in business analytics, said he and his classmates have gained real-world client experience while doing something that benefits the community.


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