About CASA

The Case for CASA - Content, Adwords, Social, Analytics

The case for initial core courses in an open curriculum for online marketing, appropriate for interns, working professionals, high school and higher education students.

The relationship of the suggested initial courses can be thought of as a diamond.

Content (digital storytelling) is necessary for any campaign, and informs both search engine marketing and social media marketing. Web Analytics then allows you to look at the overall performance.

Research and Rationales


The initial research attempted to answer the following question: what would be four courses that could have the most impact on helping learners find work or work better?

Here is a related list from LinkedIn – “The Top Skills that got people hired in 2013”:



(Update: See how 2014 data from LinkedIn confirms/broadens the approach.)

Based on industry analysis and experience, the suggested four course areas are:
  • Social Media Marketing: unquestionably a growth area.
  • Search Engine Marketing: the area of online marketing that produces the most revenue.
  • Web Analytics: an increasingly important area that businesses increasingly need to measure impact.
  • Content: content has significant impact on any ad campaign, including search marketing/SEO.
The following are some suggested course descriptions.

Search Engine Marketing
Learn Google Adwords. Google's annual 2013 revenues were 60 billion dollars, primarily from search engine marketing, and Adwords/Search Engine Marketing can be a valuable skill to have for any sized business or organization. It can also be a dedicated role. Course introduces search engine marketing, and learners work on live campaigns, and optionally can work towards getting certified. A Google Adwords Certification can be a competitive edge when seeking work in marketing.

Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing continues to grow and be an important area, as a dedicated role or skill set. Students learn how create and monitor the performance of social media marketing campaigns, with a focus on three main platforms - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Coverage also includes establishing and maintaining an organization’s presence on LinkedIn, and using tools such as Hootsuite, to post content to multiple networks (ex: Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn).

Other topics include social media monitoring, and looking at the performance of social media campaigns with built-in tools such as Facebook Insights and YouTube Analytics. Students gain an understanding of now just how to manage social media, but how to look at return on investment. This emphasis on ROI provides a competitive edge, and learners can also work on getting a social media certification.

Web Analytics
Web Analytics is becoming increasingly important to online marketers, as they seek to track return on investment, and optimize their websites. Students will learn about Google Analytics, starting with creating a blog, and monitoring the number of people who see the blog posts and where they come from. Google Analytics is one of the top tools, and Web Analytics can be a competitive differentiator in the job market, either as a skill set or as a dedicated role.

The course helps learners to view Web Analytics info and learn how to develop insights. Skills in this course connect to other areas, such as search engine marketing and social media marketing, and provide a "network effect", to help learners become more effective online marketers, and more employable. The course also includes optionally working towards Google Analytics certification. Like Adwords Certification, Google Analytics certification is doable, and it can help round out knowledge and help learners find work and work better.

Digital Storytelling and Content/SEO
This is an interdisciplinary course that focuses on helping learners to capture, preserve and share digital stories - essentially, to develop digital content. In the context of marketing, content is king, and for any ad campaign - you need content. Students learn how to develop content for supporting marketing campaigns (search engine marketing, social media marketing), and also learn the fundamental concepts of SEO - search engine optimization. This course can also be interdisciplinary, overlapping with communications and other areas. It begins with personal relevance - giving learners the opportunity to capture, preserve and share a "life story" from their family or community heritage.

Learners move on to consider how you can tell the story of an organization or company, and how to develop learning material, to boost the relevance of a website and support marketing efforts. Another concept that is introduced is "personal digital archaeology" - taking artifacts (ex: a VHS tape) and learning how to rescue them from obsolete media formats. Students have the option of working towards a basic Digital Storytelling Certificate.

Roadmap for Certification
The overall goal of the core courses is also to tie competency-based learning to certification and give learners the best chances, where they might find a dedicated role in any of the core areas, or combine the core areas together into a “multiple hats” role. For example, in online marketing, multiple hats roles often involve a mix of search marketing, analytics, social media -- and these invariably involve working with content; and the smaller the business, the more likely the employee would be involved in everything -- including developing content. So the more the learner can master in areas that are directly relevant to business needs, the better off they will be.

Connecting with certification is easier with Adwords and Analytics, as Google has existing certification programs. They are doable within a single course, because the certifications Google offers are around basic skills competency with the tool. With Social Media or Digital Storytelling/SEO, there are some certifications out there, such as Social Media Certification from Hootsuite, which has a free Higher Education program, and some options from Market Motive, which are more costly. One option is to research existing Social Media/SEO certifications; research will be ongoing.
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