IMPAQT sponsors Google challenge class

IMPAQT, a Pittsburgh-based search engine marketing firm, has given a $1,000 grant to students competing in the Google Online Marketing Challenge this year to support their work in the competition.

The challenge is part of IST 402, a class in emerging technologies taught by Jim Jansen, assistant professor of information sciences and technology. The class brings together students from IST, business and communications and exemplifies the interdisciplinary mission of the College of IST. As part of the course and the Google-sponsored competition, students are creating keyword advertising campaigns for businesses.

To provide an additional incentive for the students, IMPAQT has provided the $1,000 to be distributed to the top three Penn State teams participating in the challenge. Regardless of their standing in the global competition, the three top Penn State teams will be awarded cash prizes of $500, $350 and $150, respectively, to be divided equally among team members.

“With students from five colleges and 13 majors in the course, the students are working in multidisciplinary teams, using a sophisticated technology platform, to help small businesses compete in the online economy,” Jansen said. “Courses like this are one way that universities can be relevant in their local communities. IMPAQT’s willingness to support the students is a great example of academic/industry cooperation.”

Michelle Sharp, a Penn State alumna and account group manager at IMPAQT, recently spoke to the class about the company’s culture and strategy for search engine marketing and optimization. She tailored her advice to paid search campaigns, which is what the students are developing in the challenge.

“It’s really about making sure you first understand what the client is trying to achieve, and from there, make sure you get the most you can from what you have to work with in terms of budget and other constraints,” she told the students.

At IMPAQT, Sharp manages teams that create and manage complex search engine marketing and optimization campaigns for a wide variety of clients in the retail, financial services, education, pharmaceutical and other industries.

Thousands of student teams from around the world are competing in this year’s Google Online Marketing Challenge. Last year, a team of Penn State students took first place in the Americas region and, as their prize, had the opportunity to visit Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. The Challenge was conceived in 2008 by Lee Hunter of Google and Jamie Murphy of the University of Western Australia.

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Pittsburgh, IMPAQT is a privately held full-service search engine marketing firm. The company utilizes data-centric solutions and resources, advanced analytical and decision support, data management and convergence methods to serve its clients.

Last Updated March 19, 2009