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5 Ways Professors Can Use Novela's Search Marketing Simulation

In digital marketing, theoretical knowledge is not enough. As educators, it's imperative to arm students with practical skills that transcend classroom walls and add immediate value in real-world scenarios. Novela's Search Marketing Simulation offers a unique opportunity to bridge this gap, within the classroom.

Below are five ways professors can incorporate our technology into their marketing courses.

1. Host a Live, In-Class Competition

Nothing brings a subject to life like a bit of friendly competition. Arrange a live session where students go head-to-head in optimizing a search marketing campaign for a fictional brand. This fosters a dynamic learning environment and allows for immediate feedback. The real-time analytics and metrics provided by the simulation add an extra layer of excitement, as students can see their strategies either paying off or requiring adjustment as they go along.

They can also learn from each other. Those that topped the leaderboard can share their strategies, while others can apply these tips during their next run of the simulation to increase their own performance.

Novela makes it easy for educators to run these competitions, too. You will gain access to an admin account that allows you to view each student's activity, along with a leaderboard that shows how everyone has performed. You can filter this to see who performed best against different metrics and export the data if you prefer to analyze the results outside of Novela.

2. Teach Different Concepts Across Multiple Weeks

The multi-faceted nature of search marketing makes it an excellent subject to dissect over multiple weeks. Novela's simulation can be broken down into different modules—such as customer insights, performance analysis, keyword selection, and auction-based bidding systems. Each week, focus on one of these components, allowing students to delve deep into each aspect of search marketing.

For instance, students can apply what they have learned about customer-centricity by running their own focus groups in Novela. They can ask questions to interactive personas and see how their conversations lead to deeper understanding of consumer needs.

Other professors have used Novela to teach the key concepts of data analytics. The Novela dashboard contains a number of detailed charts and metrics, which classes can analyze to develop new strategic plans. This all leads up to the "capstone" assignment of running the full simulation as a realistic digital marketing campaign.

3. Explore the Impact of Brand Reputation

Our search simulation offers various challenges such as "Trench Coats" and "Leather Belts," which serve as excellent case studies for discussing how brand reputation affects campaign performance. Students can explore how certain keywords and strategies work differently for products that have different brand perceptions, thus gaining a nuanced understanding of the role brand equity plays in digital marketing.

Users assume the role of a search marketer at the high fashion retailer, Haute Stuff. They will find that the brand's reputation for exceptional trench coats leads to higher Quality Scores and therefore, lower cost-per-click and higher conversion rates. However, the opposite can prove to be the case with leather belts, where the band is not so well known. Users must adapt and develop their strategic thinking skills to overcome these challenges, learning the key concept of brand reputation in the process.

4. Make Novela's Simulation an Assignment

Traditional assignments often risk becoming monotonous and susceptible to plagiarism. With Novela's simulation, you have an assignment that not only is impervious to generic answers but also demands creative, data-driven decision-making. Additionally, given the complexity and interactive nature of the simulation, it's a task that cannot be completed by AI or outsourced services, ensuring academic integrity.

Students can be graded based on their performance in the simulation, and many professors choose to combine this assessment with a written task. For instance, they will ask students to reflect on the choices they make, explain how they believe the search auction works, and suggest five ideas they would pitch to the fictional retailer's board to improve marketing performance. This has a much greater impact on knowledge retention than the repetitive application of abstract frameworks.

5. Use as a Basis for Peer Review and Feedback

Another compelling use of the simulation is to facilitate a peer review process. After students complete their search marketing campaigns, they can be tasked with evaluating the strategies employed by their classmates. Each student can present their campaign's performance metrics, followed by a discussion led by the reviewer, who has also had the chance to delve into the campaign's data. The reviewer can then offer constructive criticism and suggest potential improvements. This fosters a collaborative learning environment and allows students to think critically, not only about their projects but also about the work of their peers.

In larger classes, this can even be completed as a team exercise. Teams can be responsible for various aspects of the marketing campaign, from keyword selection to budget allocation. After running their campaigns, each team can present their results to another team for review and feedback. This not only cultivates teamwork but also introduces an additional layer of complexity, as students must consider how to communicate effectively to build a successful campaign. This real-world dynamic adds yet another dimension to the learning experience, making students more adaptable and prepared for the collaborative nature of modern marketing roles.


Novela's Search Marketing Simulation is not just an academic tool; it's an experience that moulds marketing students into agile, knowledgeable professionals. By adopting one or more of these approaches, educators can significantly enhance the learning experience in their courses, preparing students for the complex challenges they will face in the world of digital marketing.

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