A few weeks ago, we did a blog series called a Tale of Two Turnarounds and in part 2, I mentioned using a programmatic marketing solution. Even in the industry, this is an often unknown strategy. This post is an effort to shine a light on what programmatic marketing is, why it’s essential in a good recruitment advertising strategy, and how agencies like KRT Marketing can help you navigate through this smarter way of filling your candidate pipeline.
A (Brief) History of Job Advertising
First, there were classified ads in the newspaper, which provided very little strategy, targeting, or tracking. Then came the job boards in which a posted ad stays up for 30 or 60 days. Job Board postings brought a new way to recruit jobs at a fraction of the cost; an ad that used to cost $2,000 was now $400, bringing big savings. However, over the last 20 years, a lot has changed in the way job-seekers look for opportunities. The best traffic comes in the first few days a job is posted, making the remainder of the posting period a waste. For this reason, some job boards began offering the option of “job slots.” Instead of purchasing postings, you would buy a number of slots and you could put whatever job you wanted in each slot. This allowed companies to “rotate” their jobs through the slots and keep the postings fresh. In the prior series, the company I highlighted rotated their ads every three days. If a company is not moving jobs in and out of those job slots frequently, they find themselves not getting the most traffic and value of those job slots.
In the mid 2000’s, companies like Indeed started showing up and things started to shift. This was when job boards realized that you could give ads away to drive traffic and search engine optimization. When volume and traffic increased they started charging for sponsored ads. This is really what blossomed all the free options for organic job listings. It’s why Workable (referenced in Tale 1) can offer to post to 18 job boards for free to drive postings for employers. Many solutions today have a free (what many refer to as “organic”) job listings, but they also offer sponsored paid listings. Most current ATS’s and job board distributors are built presuming a company has a direct relationship with job boards and is paying for slots or postings.
Enter the World of Pay-Per-Click / Pay-Per-Applicant
During the mid-2000’s, the general marketing world entered the mobile and personalized digital era where pay-per-click (PPC) advertising became well established. PPC allowed you to bid on clicks and only pay when someone interacted with the ad. In addition, because the digital world is increasingly invading the nooks and crannies of our lives, advertisers can now target who sees ads based on personal preferences, shopping habits, and internet browsing history.
The pay-per-click model has been brought into the recruitment advertising world with job boards offering similar options in the job advertising world. Some job boards have a PPC offering where you can set a daily budget that is gated by the number of clicks generated, while others do not. That is where Appcast (and other solutions like them) have come to the forefront. Appcast offers a network of job boards to the customer in a pay-per-applicant model. You get to set per-applicant bids by job and the system will then promote the job accordingly. This offers a far more compelling approach than needing to worry about each job board’s pricing model or needing to have relationships with every job board company. Direct management in today’s world also means you need to fully understand what’s going on and watch your spend closely. This makes it possible for investment to truly follow performance, and this is where solutions like KRT Marketing come into play.
Let’s Talk About KRT Marketing
KRT Marketing is a data-driven recruitment marketing agency that specializes in optimizing recruitment advertising strategy using tracking and analytics to measure performance. They are a boutique agency with big brand names, mostly F500 companies. While your typical recruitment marketing agency wants to own the entire brand strategy, KRT focuses on talent attraction through a pay-for-performance model, with strong analytics as a foundation. They have a team of data analysts focused on optimizing campaign spend.
Many agencies are still relying on manually managing a company’s social and recruitment strategies. KRT takes a different approach. They believe in “data all day, every day.” In our digitally driven world, understanding and tracking every valuable KPI is crucial. That’s where KRT shines. Their staff is able to fine-tune your recruitment advertising by monitoring daily what most TA teams can only hope to think about annually, creating a “full-funnel” approach that measures all the way from clicks to hires. When it comes to programmatic job advertising, they leverage Appcast’s agency platform Clickcast. This allows them to manage all of the job ads placed and the associated costs for their customers. This means:
- You can get all of the cost benefits of programmatic marketing without having to be an expert. Just set your applicant targets and let your agency partner do the work.
- Your spend strategy is spread across a variety of channels and can change day-to-day with your hiring needs.
- You have someone acting as your watchdog – making tweaks daily if needed to optimize your budget.
The KRT Philosophy
I sat down with the KRT team to get a better sense of their business and how they run it. One of the many keys to their success was having a clear vision at the right time for the industry. “Ten years ago, programmatic was all the rage in consumer digital marketing world,” says Michelle Sargent, Head of Strategic Partnerships. “We knew it was going to go the same way with recruitment. We really wanted to put a stake in the sand and be the best at programmatic. So, we found the best data analysts and said, ‘Let’s be pioneers.’”
In their business, the KRT team has really striven for two things – collaboration and transparency. Sargent tells me, “With other agencies, you see a lot of division in responsibility. Here, the data analysts and account teams are all working together. We all see the dashboard. So it’s not just one set of eyes, it’s the brain and the eyes and the hands all working as one. And we keep a level of transparency with our customers and our publishers.”
How to Make it to the Big Leagues
In the “turnaround tale” I shared a few weeks ago, I highlighted how KRT leveraged Appcast’s Clickcast platform to fix that company’s recruiting woes. Appcast is specifically focused on helping optimize your job ads. Job ads are important – they’re what active job seekers look for and they drive a majority of your initial traffic. However, we all know that most applicants don’t convert. There’s a big opportunity right there for where traditional programmatic can kick in with website re-targeting and segmented marketing.
If you only know about PPC job ads, you haven’t gotten the full story when it comes to true programmatic advertising. In the world of job marketing, the scenario of repacking job listings (which I’ve referenced above), is hugely relevant. However, with digital advertising, it really does not apply. Programmatic marketing in general is about targeting ads in a PPC model by segmenting your audience and serving up digital content across the web. So does this even really apply to recruitment advertising?
Yes, bigtime! But it’s no longer about both the beloved and cursed “job ad.” It’s about running general ads to segments of the population to drive website traffic to a destination (usually your career site, but perhaps a specific page on your career site.) For example, you might run a campaign to college students in particular geographies driving them to visit your internships landing page. Or your business might be opening a new location in Peoria, IL and you want to drive folks in the area to apply for opportunities. It’s also about website re-targeting. Simply put, website re-targeting means finding the people who have visited your website but have not yet converted and inviting them to come back. A key arsenal for traditional marketers, website re-targeting is another huge and largely under-leveraged resource in the recruitment marketing world. For this, you would use a tool like Centro which is a general purpose programmatic marketing solution, not specific to job marketing and the world of job boards. Now you’re working in the big leagues along with the rest of the marketing world. But do you really want to learn all about Centro and how to use it? You certainly could. Or, you could just rely on the experts who do this all day. This leads me back to KRT Marketing who can implement and manage your re-targeting strategy for you.
So, you can leverage the shiny new tool when it comes on the market, or realize, like many marketing teams have, that the agencies who live in this industry are always going to have a leg up in terms of taking advantage of the latest technology. When I needed a solution for my struggling client, and I knew we needed to spend advertising dollars, I knew exactly who to go to. If you’ve got recruiting woes, do yourself a favor, talk to KRT Marketing so you can look like a hero too. Let the agency solve the advertising strategy so you can focus on brand, message, and core strategies for identifying, nurturing, and converting the best talent.
Here are a few tools KRT offerings that are worth reviewing as you explore your own strategy and needs:
- Media Assessment Tool: This tool helps you assess your maturity level in terms of your recruitment media strategy.
- What to Track: If you want a glimpse of their “point of view” when it comes to tracking. (See my rant on source tracking here!)