Your programmatic strategy is likely driving the majority of applications coming in to your open jobs, so it needs to be managed carefully. But, programmatic job advertising is not a “set it and forget it” sort of campaign. True efficiency in programmatic job advertising cannot be achieved without optimization, but ROI from programmatic can also decrease if you optimize too much.
So, in order to improve the return of your talent acquisition efforts, it's vital that you manage your programmatic job advertising strategy without over-optimizing it and setting yourself up for failure.
Over-optimizing your programmatic job advertising strategy can lead to lower candidate traffic volume, inflated CPCs and CPAs, decreased conversion rates, and this could even impact your eligibility to sponsor jobs on some vendor job sites.
So, here are five tips to ensure you don't over-optimize while staying on top of your programmatic job advertising strategy for talent acquisition.
1. Start With a Top-Down Approach
If you want to optimize your programmatic job advertising strategy, you need to optimize from the top of your recruitment marketing funnel. When it comes to pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, optimize how much you're spending for each click and how many clicks it takes for you to get the applicants you need to make a hire.
While increasing your conversion rate or lowering your cost-per-applicant (CPA) is also important, this should come later -- you need to start with optimizing your clicks first. Once you've optimized the top of funnel, you can start looking at other metrics for optimization opportunities. If you only pay for the clicks that get you to your applicant volume goals, you'll stop wasting money on attracting too many candidates that you don’t need.
2. One Step At a Time
When you're starting to dig into the data you collect at the job-level, you may soon realize that you're drinking from the firehose. The amount of data that pours in and the number of optimizations you could try may overwhelm you.
So, it’s important to, take baby steps. There are a wide range of optimization opportunities that could be tested and analyzed,, but before you get overwhelmed, take a deep breath and look at one data point at a time.
By choosing one optimization at the time, this ensures that you have the time to check out whether your changes are working or not. When you make multiple changes all at once, it’s often hard to determine conclusively which optimization(s) produced the improvements in results. Much like any scientific experiment, you need control and to make one change at a time.
3. Don't Micromanage
While you might see inefficiencies popping up everywhere in your job-level data, that doesn't mean you should try optimizing every single job. Instead, consider grouping your jobs together and putting like jobs into one larger campaign. Job ads are known to perform better in groups, so doing this can help ensure your PPC campaign runs strongly and captures more traffic opportunity more cost-effectively.
On the flip side, if you take a programmatic approach where you're running a unique strategy for every individual job, you may struggle to get the traffic you need or your CPCs and CPAs may get driven way up. This is often an inefficient way to run a campaign, and you'll likely get exhausted quickly, either from lack of applicants or from trying to manage too many campaigns at once.
4. Set a Smart Budget
Talent acquisition professionals are often trying to hire top talent as cost-effectively as possible, and rightly so. With set recruitment budgets for the year, it is important to be efficient with your CPCs and CPAs.
However, when trying to hire top talent, you also have to be realistic about what your budgets are based on your hiring goals, especially as it relates to programmatic job advertising on CPC and CPA media.
For instance, if you know your conversion rate for a job (or group of jobs) is about 10 percent -- meaning that it would take 100 clicks for you to generate 10 applications needed for you to make 1 hire -- and if you know that you’re going to be paying about $1.00 per click, then setting a budget of $50 won’t get you to your goal of 100 clicks (or 10 applicants) to make your hire. In this case, your budget is simply too low and won’t generate enough clicks to hit your hire goal. Think about this on a much larger scale when trying to make hundreds or thousands of hires… if your budgets are not realistic, it will be very challenging, if not impossible, to achieve your overall hiring goals.
Rather, use your recruitment marketing analytics to better determine the exact budget it will take to hit your goal, and don’t spend a penny less or a penny more.
5. Always Look at the Data
When you're seeking to optimize your programmatic job advertising strategy, you need to ensure you have enough data from your recruitment marketing campaigns to make meaningful decisions. Analytical events are your guiding light when it comes to getting information about your next optimization or campaign change.
While every company has different hiring goals and objectives, when it comes to figuring out how much data is needed or what you can get from that data, you want to make sure the data is statistically significant. We don’t recommend making optimizations based on just a handful of clicks per job. You may want to wait until your jobs have 50 or 100 clicks each before making data-driven decisions, but generally, our rule of thumb for having enough data to optimize against is, “the more data, the better.”
Additionally, you want to ensure that you’re collecting this data and analyzing it over time as programmatic performance can vary by day of the week, month of the year, and more, due to seasonality and trends.
Your Programmatic Job Advertising Strategy Can Change
While it's important not to over-optimize your campaigns, your programmatic job advertising strategy is allowed to change. It will change with the job market and your hiring needs. It will also need to adapt to changing behaviors of candidates. Keep a close eye on the performance of your recruitment marketing campaigns, especially as you optimize, and make changes as you see fit for your specific business goals. Optimizing your programmatic job advertising strategy is a key component of producing amazing recruitment results.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can better optimize your programmatic job advertising strategies for more efficient and cost-effective talent acquisition.
[This is a 2019 updated version of our original post How to Avoid Optimizing Your PPC Strategy to Death]
Posted by Emily Tanner
Emily is the VP of Marketing at Recruitics. With over 8 years of industry experience, Emily has worked on both the client side and the business side of marketing, partnering with top enterprise customers on their talent acquisition and recruitment marketing strategies as well as developing inbound content marketing plans, paid advertising campaigns, lead generation initiatives for Recruitics. A true data nerd at heart, Emily finds joy in analyzing deep performance metrics and finding the story in the numbers. When not working on marketing strategies or in Excel documents, you can find Emily hanging with her husband and son and their 3 dogs.