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Google AdWords Picks the Final Four Champion

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Okay, so it’s not AdWords directly who’s picking the winner, but I put together a new statistic to rank each and every team in the NCAA Men’s Tournament by some of the metrics that matter in PPC: namely search volume and cost per click.  It’s as if the RPI was replaced by a Google Pricing Index (a totally made up statistic created solely for the purposes of this exercise).  Which team in the field of 68 would spend the most money in Google if you bid on all of the schools via Google AdWords?

Here’s a quick explanation on how the bracket was calculated:

Each school was run through the AdWords Keyword Tool in two different forms: first as (School Name) (School Mascot) and then again as (School Name) Basketball.  As an example, our beloved Indiana Hoosiers were searched first as Indiana Hoosiers and then again as Indiana Basketball.  I took the estimated monthly search volume for both queries, averaged it out, and then multiplied it by the average cost per click that Google estimated the phrases would return for them.

After an exhaustive (and exhilarating for a nerd like me) run through Excel, Google AdWords’ bracket has been filled out.

Without further ado, your 2013 Final Four Champion: The Oregon Ducks!

After a Cinderella trip through the exceedingly difficult Midwest region, Oregon topped Miami in the championship game to claim the title.  Here are the stats of the winners of each region:

Oregon Ducks

  • Monthly searches – 151,950
  • Approximate CPC – $1.10
  • Google Pricing Index – 166385

Miami Hurricanes

  • Monthly searches – 68,300
  • Approximate CPC – $1.95
  • Google Pricing Index – 133185

Florida Gators

  • Monthly searches – 84,300
  • Approximate CPC – $1.22
  • Google Pricing Index – 102,425

Wisconsin Badgers

  • Monthly searches – 39,700
  • Approximate CPC – $1.17
  • Google Pricing Index – 46,251


I’ve taken the liberty of entering this bracket into PPC Chat’s tournament on ESPN to see how Google does.  If the only thing that comes out of this is a bunch of PPC professionals besting Google’s prediction of a 12 seed running all the way to a title, then it’s still a net win.  (And yes, I recognize that Google is in no way actually affiliated with this bracket and it was assembled by some schlubby manager in the midwest, but I’m still going to feel a tiny bit good if my personally selected bracket does better).

If you’re curious, I’ve pasted the results of each region below.  It favors bigger schools, as you would anticipate seeing that it was based on search volume.  As someone who has long championed the underdog, it was cool to see a final four without any one seeds at all.

How’d Google do?  You think Oregon can replicate this in real life?

Midwest Region


West Region


South Region


East Region


Final Four

final four

About the Author

Sean Quadlin

Sean Quadlin spends his time optimizing, strategizing and pontificating as an Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing and a blogger at PPC Hero, focusing primarily on lead generation. He has a particular fondness for Microsoft Excel and the English language. He studied English at Northwestern University. When he's not at the office, you can find Sean watching a surprising breadth of both high- and low-brow television. Find him on twitter @SeanQuadlin or on his Google+.
  • Sam Owen

    Oregon won big today – I’m scared Google knows what’s up

    • Sean Quadlin

      Pittsburgh was a miss, as was Akron. But I think AdWords would be happy with the day 1 results.


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