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Why recruitment should move toward the land of programmatic job ads

As marketing departments have flocked towards performance-based ads — the world of recruitment hasn’t caught on in similar fashion according to a new paper by Aptitude Research. What’s in the way of mass adoption of programmatic advertising in talent acquisition?

Jasper Spanjaart on March 30, 2021 Average reading time: 3 min
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Why recruitment should move toward the land of programmatic job ads

Aptitude Research’s latest report on the state of programmatic job advertising has a clear and defined message: stop using traditional job advertising. “It’s expensive, inefficient and, at times, ineffective”, it says. “Recruiters must manually negotiate, purchase and monitor their advertising with different job sites. And the only way to increase their online presence is by spending more, but that comes without a guarantee that they will reach the right candidates.”

Moreover, according to the company’s research, an average of 40% of job advertising expenditure is wasted due to not adopting a programmatic model. But before we delve into possible benefits and pitfalls of programmatic advertising: we first need to answer a question that has long been answered by those working in a marketing sphere: what is it?

Programmatic advertising: a short history

The rise of programmatic advertising came paired with the entrance into a new era: the internet era. Three years after the launch of the World Wide Web, the first ever online ad banner was created by HotWired.com (now: Wired Magazine). As the downfall of print began — advertisers had the same simple desire to reach an audience. But rather than taking up space in a magazine, sales departments were busy selling space online.

But it didn’t move that fast to begin with, as the available ad space long outlasted the number of people willing to advertise. In an attempt to bridge the gap between supply and demand, ad networks were created. They were, in essence, platforms that pooled unsold ad space to advertisers at a discounted rate. It became the ultimate online bargain bin, but without any idea for those doing the bidding whether their ad would reach the right audience.

Think of the last time you went to a website to buy organic cat food for your Bella, but didn’t make a purchase. Then, on your next internet adventure, their ads are everywhere.

That’s where and when programmatic advertising first began. In an attempt to persuade former visitors of websites or new audiences to buy a product, companies are essentially involved in a Real-Time Bidding (RTB) war for ad space. Think of the last time you went to a website to buy organic cat food for your Bella, but didn’t make a purchase. Then, on your next internet adventure, their ads are everywhere. That’s the main form (90%) of automated, programmatic advertising.

‘A disconnect in TA’

Madeline Laurano, founder of Aptitude Research

To avoid a lengthy history lesson: in the years ever since, marketing and sales teams have flocked towards a concept wherein they don’t have to handpick every online banner — while talent acquisition has been slow to respond. Aptitude Research’s founder Madeline Laurano, recently spoke to podcasting heroes Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman about why that’s a problem moving forward.

“We don’t talk about it in the same way in talent acquisition. We focus on what it costs, rather than what it saves.”

“It is a core component in marketing, but a separate item in TA”, Laurano told Chad & Cheese. “That’s the first piece: the fact that it is not integrated in our TA strategy. The other piece is that marketing does a good job of showing its value. They deem it a cost-saving solution, and we don’t talk about it in the same way in talent acquisition. We focus on what it costs, rather than what it saves. There’s a clear disconnect there.”

‘Use marketing as a role model’

For recruiting purposes, programmatic advertising reduces the complexity, as Aptitude Research points out. Essentially, it provides a centralised platform to manage to your ad spend. With the usage of predictive analytics, historical data and information supplied by job seekers, it ensures that jobs are automatically distributed to the sites with the right audience, and the best chance of success.

To me, traditional advertising is the out-of-control model. It has no visibility, and when it doesn’t work, you have to spend more.”

Subsequently, performance is monitored and optimised in real-time to make sure that companies hit their goals, the research adds. “Companies that start using it, don’t go back to traditional advertising”, Laurano said. “The next point is about the loss of control — if they’re going to programmatic, then they say: ‘we lose control’. To me, traditional advertising is the out-of-control model. It has no visibility, and when it doesn’t work, you have to spend more.”

We found a big increase in job views, traffic to the site — all traditional advertising metrics — when using programmatic advertising.”

While 70% of Aptitude Research’s TA respondents stated that their own marketing teams use it, 63% said they aren’t working together with them. Above all — Laurano sees an opportunity for TA and marketing teams to work together. “They can benefit from seeing how marketing has done this, and use it as a role model”, she said. “It’s no longer a business case, it’s part of what they do. We found a big increase in job views, traffic to the site — all traditional advertising metrics — when using programmatic advertising.”

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Writer and editor at ToTalent

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