Google Job Ads: A Programmatic Advertising Game Changer?

By: Kristen Boyle, Vice President of Marketing at PandoLogic

Google is in early-stage testing for sponsored job ads, and the industry is already buzzing. The arrival of these sponsored ads, also known as Google Job Ads, allows employers to put advertising budget behind their job postings on Google for the first time. These job listings will be pulled from a company’s feed and be served up as sponsored ads above the organic search results when someone searches for job-related keywords on Google. This gives employers the opportunity to advertise their jobs in the most premium inventory Google offers to maximize impressions and drive job seekers to their open roles.  

The sponsored job ads will only be served on Google’s search network for now, though the future potential is significant in terms of Google’s ability to promote job ads through all their networks and placements (think: Display, Gmail, YouTube, Discovery) to attract the right candidate even outside of their job search sessions.  

While there are still many unknowns surrounding when and how Google Job Ads will become available to the industry at large, this news presents an exciting opportunity for employers and tech partners alike to build Google Job Ads into recruitment campaign strategies and achieve new levels of effectiveness in sourcing talent. The level of impact that this new offering has on employers, job seekers, and programmatic vendors may vary, depending on how each group plans on embracing the change.

Employers and Staffing Agencies

Google Job Ads will be another tool in an employer’s and staffing agencies toolkit to attract the right candidates for job openings, better optimize recruitment costs, and improve recruitment strategy over time. By leveraging Google Job Ads, employers and staffing agencies can expect a much broader reach and increased visibility when it comes to attracting top talent. Upon submitting their Jobs feed and linking it to their Google Ads campaign, a company’s roles will be automatically served up to relevant job seekers based on Google keyword searches, providing the employer or staffing agency with increased engagement from high-intent job seekers. Pairing Job Ads with text ads and organic results served up on the SERP (search engine results page) not only allows a company to maximize their exposure across the whole page but also gives the employer or staffing agency a more comprehensive data set to understand and maximize performance. Adding Job Ads performance metrics to Google Ads metrics, such as impression share, click share, and ranking-related data, can provide the overall picture of their digital advertising strategy on Google. 

Google for Jobs
Image provided by Mark Parent

However, the rollout of this new offering will also mean that there will be increased competition for talent on Google as more companies move to leverage sponsored ads in Google’s job marketplace.  The sponsored job postings will be displayed in a carousel widget similar to the Shopping widget, which can showcase 15-20 jobs (up to eight of them will be visible on page load on desktop, up to three on mobile.) This means that there will be intense competition for limited real estate, making it difficult for smaller companies or those with limited resources to attract high-quality candidates. As a result, it is likely that Google Job Ads will come with a high price tag. 

As a result, employers and staffing agencies will need to be more strategic in their recruitment marketing efforts by ensuring that their job spend is optimized appropriately on Google as part of their larger hiring campaigns. Rather than blindly shifting spend over to Google Job Ads, employers need to take a more data-driven approach to their recruitment marketing efforts and use analytics to determine which publishers are delivering the best results. While no definitive announcements have been made by Google, it is assumed that experience running Google Ads campaigns will be needed for effective sponsored ad campaign management and access to Google Ads inventory. Employers and staffing agencies who lack sufficient expertise in this area will need to partner with a capable vendor in order to leverage this offering.

Job Seekers

Google Job Ads can make the job search process more efficient and effective for job seekers by providing them with relevant and targeted job opportunities that match their skills and preferences. Even before the launch of Google for Jobs in 2017, an iCIMS study reported that nearly 70% of job seekers already used Google to look for open jobs and research employers, demonstrating the integration between the job searching experience and users’ organic use of Google as their search engine of choice. In addition to viewing the job results that appear on the standard Google SERP (search engine results page), candidates will have dynamic access to open positions appearing in the Job Ads that closely match their filtered search parameters. Over time the search process and filter options will undoubtedly get more refined and sophisticated as Google leverages new data points to deliver the exact results individuals want.

Programmatic Vendors

The world of HR tech vendors and job advertising solutions is a highly integrated ecosystem. When a company like Google disrupts the space, it can serve as an inflection point for the entire industry—and force players to embrace the change or get left behind.  

Google Job Ads provides a wealth of strategic opportunities for recruitment tech partners and the employers that leverage them. Particularly for programmatic job advertising, Google Job Ads provides a new and powerful lever for programmatic partners to pull: the ability to make key spending decisions regarding sponsored job ad placement on Google allows programmatic partners to maximize ad spend and further optimize client campaign strategy and performance. The unique value of programmatic technology will become apparent now more than ever to help companies ensure they are using their recruitment ad spend efficiently on what is sure to be an expensive inventory. Alternatively, the emergence of Google Job Ads may bring into question the necessity for companies to have multiple agencies managing ad spend on Google, as it may be more efficient for brands to consolidate their media strategy under one agency. 

Companies can also leverage programmatic partners to safeguard against the impact that changes coming from Google or any other publisher might have on their hiring campaigns. As the industry potentially shifts in reaction to Google Job Ads availability, a programmatic strategy helps ensure that budget allocation is data-driven and optimized for an employer’s specific hiring needs. 


Google Job Ads have the potential to be a significant development within the recruitment industry. Employers and staffing agencies must adapt to the changes brought about by Google’s job platform and ensure their recruitment marketing efforts are optimized for maximum reach and performance. As the job market becomes more competitive, employers and staffing agencies will need to take a more strategic approach to recruitment marketing and use data analytics to determine which publishers are delivering the best results.

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