Job Board Journalist: Sitting on Change – Job Boards’ Dilemma

Meagan Micozzi

The following post is based on a presentation at TAtechEurope by Terry Baker, President of PandoLogic. It details the preliminary findings of the 2018 TAtech-PandoLogic Global Recruitment Advertising Survey. It is the fourth and last in a multi-part series. To read my first post, click here; to read my second, click here; and to read my third, click here.

One of the key aspects that makes this Survey unique is that it acquires responses from BOTH Solution Providers (job boards, social media sites, digital media companies and other publishers) and Employers. This 360 degree perspective supports a comparative analysis of the two groups’ views of each other’s recruitment advertising strategies, practices and performance.

What did we learn in the 2018 Survey? Solution Providers are well aware of the trends in online recruitment advertising and the changes those trends signal in Employer purchasing behavior. At the same time, however, many Solution Providers have yet to internalize that understanding or use it to revise their business model. As a result, they run the risk of falling behind their customers as those Employers – small as well as large – adopt new strategies for sourcing talent.

The Survey covered four specific areas:
• Ad performance (which I discussed in my first post),
• Advertising products (which I explored in my second post),
• Product pricing (which I covered in last week’s post), and
• Programmatic ad buying (which I discuss below).

Programmatic Ad Buying

Views of programmatic ad buying within the talent acquisition technology industry have shifted dramatically in just the last two years. In this Survey (distributed earlier this year), a majority of Solution Providers (job boards, social media sites, digital media companies and other publishers) described it as the future of online recruitment advertising. A handful of respondents still thought of it as a fad and almost a third (30 percent) said it was too early to tell, but for the most part, the issue seems settled. Programmatic advertising is here to stay and will impose significant changes on the industry.

How fast is the shift to programmatic happening?

When Solution Providers were asked what percentage of their job ads they thought would be programmatically distributed in 2020:
• over half said either 25-50 percent or 50-75 percent,
• a quarter of the respondents said 75-100 percent, and
• slightly more than 20 percent said less than 25 percent.

Despite these strong testimonials for programmatic, however, over half (53 percent) of the Solution Providers that responded to the Survey do not currently offer programmatic ad buying. Intellectually, they get it, but from an operational perspective, they’re still grappling with what they should do to adjust, and how they can do so without killing the business they have now.

In addition, of those respondents that do offer programmatic, the majority seemed indifferent to its impact and aren’t even tracking the pace at which Employers are shifting to the new model. When asked what percentage of their ads are being run programmatically, most admitted they simply didn’t know.

They also seemed not to be pushing the option to Employers very hard. The largest single cohort of respondents said that they now post just 10 percent or less of their ads programmatically. Better than a third (35 percent) post 25 percent or less of their ads that way.

That’s leaving money on the table. When Employers were asked which recruitment advertising products they buy, almost two-thirds (60 percent) said programmatic ads.

Interestingly, however, when Employers were asked what metric they use to evaluate the job ads they post, the largest response by far was not one of the advantages normally associated with performance -based advertising – better ROI and no unneeded applicants. Instead, seven-ot-of-ten of the Employers responding to the Survey said their primary evaluation metric was the number of applicants an ad generates.

Moreover, despite some reports to the contrary, it seems as if Employers’ comfort with programmatic has not diminished their appetite for traditional duration-based job postings, which normally provide no throttle on applicant flow. A walloping 80 percent of the respondents reported that they bought those ads, as well.

It wasn’t a total vote of support, however. When Employers were asked which of the two types of ads they judged to be most effective (i.e., produced the best results for their money), over half selected programmatic ads over duration-based postings.

Finally, one of the greatest barriers Employers have consistently identified in their consideration of programmatic ad buying was their lack of knowledge about how to budget for the ads they post. They were uncertain of both what their total budget should be and of what bid levels they should set for specific ads.

Happily, in this instance at least, Solution Providers appear to have gotten the message. Better than 70 percent of the Survey’s respondents said they now offer recommendations for budgets and starting bids for programmatic ads purchased by Employers.

Food for thought,
Peter

TAprose and Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle are brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2018 events include:

• February 12-13, 2018 Scottsdale, Arizona USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on AI/Machine Learning in Talent Acquisition – the only conference totally focused on the capabilities and impact of AI/ML/NLP in recruitment. See you next year!

• March 13-14, 2018 Dublin, Ireland: TAtechEurope 2018 – the premier event for recruitment advertising and technology thought & business leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. See you next year!

• April 18-19, 2018 Las Vegas, Nevada USA: The TAtech Spring Congress & Meetup – a unique conference designed to maximize opportunities for B2B networking, trending topic discussions and the exploration of partnerships and business opportunities.

• June 5-6, 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying – the only conference totally focused on the technology and applications of programmatic ad buying by both publishers and advertisers.

• September 26-27, 2018 Bourbon Street New Orleans, Louisiana USA: The TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum – the Global Economic Forum of recruiting, this event brings together thought & business leaders from job boards and all other talent acquisition technology solutions companies.

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