Ad revenue certainly isn’t dead, but it works differently now than it did during the print era.
Today’s audience development depends chiefly on high quality content, but also on appealing revenue development tools like job boards. If you rely on job boards for revenue development, and if you want to maximize ad revenue, you need to know your audience as a whole, and you need to know about the employers, job seekers, and advertisers who use your site. Employers visit your site to find employees, while job seekers know your site as a place with an effective, easy-to-use job board. Advertisers may peruse your site to determine whether it’s a place they would like to place ads. Appealing to all segments of your site’s readership is how you help ensure you’re maximizing ad revenue, job board revenue, and audience development as a whole.
Content Consumers, of Course, Come First
Your high quality site content is the foundation upon which audience and revenue development rest. Job boards and ads need this secure foundation so employers and advertisers can be confident your site satisfies and brings back existing traffic, while bringing in new traffic too. To attract high quality advertisers and keep your job board fresh and appealing, you need a healthy audience development plan that includes frequent updates, and great multimedia content tailored to appeal to your target audience. If you let content quality slip, you’re sure to see revenue from job boards and ads slip as well.
Addressing the Needs of Employers
Put yourself in the shoes of those you want to list on your job board. If you run a trade publication website, think about what employers in the trade want in terms of audience. Do they need a steady stream of entry-level job seekers, or are they looking for highly qualified journeymen or executive level job candidates? To address employer needs, you can offer readers targeted, regular email updates related to employers who use your job board. When readers sign up for these emails, they can indicate their career level in terms of experience and education level. That way you can pipeline emails from employers needing certain qualifications or experience levels directly to readers who are most likely to fulfill those needs. Webinars and white papers targeting readers at different phases in their careers also keep qualified job seekers around and more likely to browse your job board.
Addressing the Needs of Job Seekers
The web is full of job content that’s free. Other sites may not organize it well, but it’s out there for those who want to look. Therefore, it’s generally not a good idea to charge job seekers for viewing jobs on your job board. What you can offer job seekers, however, are services like resume analysis, special reports on the job market in your job board’s niche, and if you’re really ambitious, skills tests job seekers can pass to indicate to employers they have the chops necessary for a job. Additionally, it’s critical that your job board be kept up to date and clean, with no dead links, outdated job postings, and a steady pipeline of new job postings to keep job seekers coming back.
Addressing the Needs of Advertisers
Keep in mind that banner ads on your site are not the only services you can offer advertisers. If you do targeted emails or newsletters, you can offer advertising through those mediums too. Another thing you can do to win over high quality advertisers is provide them with the analytics they need to conclude that your site is a great place to buy ad space. If you use Google Analytics, you can download spreadsheets that help you pull in information that can be used in custom reports. If you’re not sure what you should include in your Google Analytics reports, here’s a nice primer that can help you get started.
Job boards and advertisers are important parts of many websites’ revenue development strategies. They provide information that’s of interest to your targeted audience, and with a well thought out revenue strategy, you can meet the needs of employers who need employees, advertisers who need views, and your site visitors who may be searching for a job. If you run a local news website, you can target your job board and some of your ads to the geographic region your cover, and if you run a trade publication website, you can target your job board and ads to the unique professional niche you serve. Done right, it can be a win-win-win-win situation for you, your readership, your job board, and your advertisers.