How to Avoid Optimizing Your PPC Strategy to Death

How to Avoid Optimizing Your PPC Strategy to Death


[View the 2019 updated version of this post here: 5 Ways to Avoid Over-Optimizing Your Programmatic Job Advertising Strategy]

Performance-based advertising models, such as the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model, help talent acquisition professionals save budget dollars by allowing them to pay for their ads only when they perform. However, as we covered in a recent post, true efficiency in a PPC strategy cannot be achieved without optimization (you can read more on that here).

Optimization can take place in a number of ways, as the article linked above shows; however, there is such a thing as over-optimization--or when you’ve added so many optimizations to your strategy that they begin to suffocate your ads, and your ROI begins to shrink.

Since over-optimization can lead to a loss in candidate volume, inflated cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-applicant (CPA), lowered conversion rates and could even impact the ability for vendors to sponsor your job, we’ve put together the following list on how to avoid optimizing your PPC strategy to death:

  • Start from the top of the funnel: When adding optimizations to your PPC strategy, you’ll want to start from the top of the candidate funnel and work your way down. This means you should start optimizations at the first touchpoint a candidate has with your jobs: the click. If you can optimize your campaigns so you’re only paying for as many clicks as needed to reach your desired number of applications, then you’ll immediately be utilizing your budget more efficiently. Once you’ve optimized your spend for clicks, then further optimizations can be made to your campaigns against application goals--such as lowering your CPA or increasing your conversion rate. Finally, once you’ve optimized against your application goals, that’s when you can start optimizing against further funnel metrics like interviews, phone screens or even hires needed.
  • Take a “baby steps” approach: When you first start to dig into your job-level data--using an analytics solution like the one Recruitics provides to its clients--chances are you’ll find a number of issues that you’ll want to fix all at once. Don’t. Rather, take the “baby steps” approach of making one optimization at a time. Doing so will allow you to better understand how your optimization has affected the efficiency of your strategy. Make too many optimizations at once, and you’re left playing a guessing game if one or more optimizations had an unwanted or unexpected effect on your strategy.
  • Avoid micromanagement of jobs: Just because you can see job-level data doesn’t mean every job needs an optimization. In fact, one PPC best practice is to group your jobs together and sponsor them in a single campaign because jobs often tend to perform better in groups. When you run a PPC strategy for a single job, said job will tend to struggle for traffic and will lack efficiency. This is because when your campaign segmentation is too specific, traffic will be harder to obtain and your CPA will noticeably increase.
  • Set appropriate budgets: Talent acquisition professionals are often trying to hire top talent as cost efficiently as possible. However, if you’re using a PPC strategy to advertise your jobs, then you’ll have to be realistic about your budgets. For instance, if you know your conversion rate is sitting at 10 percent--meaning that it would take 100 clicks for you to generate 10 applications needed for you to make a 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 10 applicants. The budget is simply too low and won’t generate enough clicks to hit your goal. Rather, use your job- and campaign-level data to better determine the exact budget it will take to hit your goal, and don’t spend a penny less or a penny more.
  • Gather as much data as possible: Optimizing your PPC strategy relies entirely on one key element: that you’ve collected enough data and analytical events to confidently use past behavior to inform new decisions--i.e. tweaks to your PPC strategy. With that said, it would be absolutely impossible to make a data-driven decision based on one click. And, since the amount of data needed to properly optimize your strategy will differ based on the company, the general rule of thumb is, “the more data, the better.” Furthermore, it’s also important to collect enough data over time, as performance will vary by day of the week, month of the year, and more, due to seasonality and trends.

Optimizing your PPC strategy based on job title, location or department, coupled with job-level analytics (such as clicks, applications and funnel metrics) helps give talent acquisition professionals tremendous power to produce amazing recruitment results.

To learn more about our job- and campaign-level analytics, and how you can leverage them to properly optimize your recruitment efforts, sign up for a demo today.

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