How Can Recruitment Advertising Be More Like Regular Advertising? (Part II)

In my previous post [READ PART 1 HERE], I wrote about how far the recruitment advertising industry is from the regular online advertising industry. Just look at this ”Display LUMAscape” to see a visual map of the ad tech industry (viewed by 2.3+ million people).

The ad tech industry has hundreds of products and players that provide different functionality and benefits to advertisers. Most of the services are interconnected or have a high degree of synergy between them. In general, they provide greater efficiency for the daunting task of getting people to view and click on ads.

RELATED: How Recruitment Advertising Can Be More Like Regular Advertising

And what do we have for recruitment?

Thousands of disparate job boards that are disconnected from the larger ecosystem, ATS that are disconnected from everything, Job Ad Distribution (JAD) companies that address challenges of manually posting on multiple job boards, and the poor employers who depend on these inefficient systems.

But there is hope! It is called programmatic advertising and it is something that has been around for 15 years.

Programmatic advertising is managed via machine-based algorithms that calculate and execute the best course of action in real time. In simple words, it is a way to promote specific ads over others, based on their actual performance and the advertiser’s CPC bid.

It means that not all jobs are made equal. In a world of CPC and real-time bidding, the software ”knows” where (and how) to place the job ad on the candidate’s search result page. The advertising ”real-estate” is limited and not everyone can display their ads high enough, especially for jobs where there is high competition for talent. In such cases, the highest payer gets the highest ranking and therefore the job seekers’ attention.

Bidding Wars

On Google, search result ranking does not reflect how much advertisers paid to have their link on Google search. It is all based on the relevance of the ads to the search keywords.

However, a few of the top links are sponsored (and are visibly distinct), as well as the ads on the right bar. There you see the result of a bidding war between advertisers. They all know that very few people look beyond the 1st or the 2nd page.

But if you are on Indeed, there is much more to ranking than just relevance. Indeed makes money from jobs that are sponsored. Not only do they give priority to jobs that bid the highest, but they also have other considerations to the ranking of a job (for example, corporate clients get higher priority over job boards).

Transparency of Sponsored Job Ads

One of the most important challenges for programmatic advertising is overcoming the inherent inequality of the job advertising landscape when sponsored jobs are silently mixed in with non-sponsored jobs. Such sites lack transparency. The advertiser is never sure that everyone is given the same treatment – even if they bid the same. Therefore, they often tend not to trust the system and ultimately may abandon it. Google struggled with this for years but finally cleaned up its act (now sponsored jobs appear visually distinct).

In addition, when you have more than one CPC-based site to campaign on, you run into complex issues of running programmatic campaigns across search engines. You want to make sure that you are paying the lowest CPC across all possible sites, yet generate quality results.

In the online advertising world there aren’t as many choices. You have Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook and Twitter plus thousands of media sites, but they are accessed primarily through ad networks.

But in the recruitment market you have dozens of job search engines.

They don’t work the same way and none provide APIs that would enable advertisers or technological tools to campaign on them in real-time.

I believe that our market is bound to change in this direction and ultimately deliver more efficiency and transparency just like the traditional advertising market.

In my next post, I will discuss what can job boards do to benefit from programmatic advertising on their own job sites.

Gal Almog has 20+ years of management & entrepreneurial experience in the technology industry. Gal founded RealMatch in 2007 with inspiration from his wife Shlomit who is a recruiter and an HR Manager.

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