How Clicks Differ by PPC Source and the Impact on Your Recruitment Marketing Strategy


As someone who likely manages a recruitment budget, you’re probably aware of what does and doesn’t cost your department money in terms of recruitment marketing. Or rather, you probably understand the different ways to advertise jobs online and how the different job advertising pricing models work.

click pay per click

But, did you know that the “click” in your pay-per-click (PPC) media doesn’t always mean the same thing from source to source? It’s not uncommon for different PPC sources to define a “click” in different ways, and it’s critical for you to understand the differences. That’s because, without a full understanding of what constitutes a “click” on a given source, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re paying for and to understand the differences in important metrics--such as conversion rates and CPCs--that you might see across multiple channels.

While, for the most part, this revelation isn’t necessarily a bad thing and won’t have a dramatic affect on your current strategy, it may have an impact on the way you analyze the data behind your job advertising sources. Otherwise, without a solid understanding of your recruitment data, it can be nearly impossible to properly optimize your job ad campaigns and make smarter, data-driven decisions.

As we continue to get our free Recruitics Analytics dashboard into the hands of more and more recruitment marketers, we’ve had a number of clients ask us why certain sources have higher or lower CPCs and conversion rates on the same jobs. To help answer this question, we’ve put together this post to explain how “clicks” in your PPC media may differ from source to source, how that impacts other metrics like CPC (cost-per-click) and conversion rate, and what it means for your recruitment marketing strategy.

How Clicks May Differ by PPC Job Advertising Source

When you lack a centralized recruitment marketing analytics dashboard (like Recruitics Analytics), you’re forced to analyze data from your job ads that’s provided by each individual source you use. Time investment aside, another downfall of analyzing data this way is that each source could potentially be defining a “click” differently, as mentioned above. Simply put, a “click” from one source may not always be comparable to a “click” from another source.

For example, let’s compare three of the most popular and successful employment sites job seekers frequent today: Indeed, Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter.

First, some sources, like Indeed, typically charge when the “click” of the job listed in search results occurs, which then leads the job seeker to a job page either on your careers site or ATS. For our purposes, let’s call this a “Sponsored Job Listing Click.”

Second, some sources, like Glassdoor, typically charge for the “click” when an “Apply Now” button on a hosted version of your job description is clicked on, which is past the initial job search results page. [To further clarify, a job site that offers hosted jobs means that the job site has copied your job description page content onto a page within their site. That also means the job seeker has already clicked on the job in the search results page - at no charge to you - and has landed on this hosted version of your job description on that source.] For the sake of comparisons, let’s dub this type of click a “Apply Now Button Click.”

Third, some sources, like ZipRecruiter (specifically with their ZipAlerts email offering), may charge for a “click” on a job listing within an email alert, where the candidate has specifically signed up to receive job email alerts for that type of job. Here, let’s call this type of click an “Email Alert Job Listing Click.”

It’s worth noting, that the sources above may offer options similar to the others, but for our purposes we're focusing on each site's most popular PPC media. For instance, Indeed offers hosted jobs similar to the Glassdoor example above, and in that case, the Indeed “click” would be on the “Apply Now” button. On the flip side, Glassdoor offers sponsored jobs without the hosted job option, in which case your “click” would be more comparable to the Indeed example we use in this post.

[Additionally, sources rarely charge per “job visit.” We reviewed the differences between “clicks” and “job visits” last week.]

How Click Differences Between Sources Impact Other Recruitment Metrics

Where the “click” occurs is important to your overall strategy because of how you’ll be analyzing this data, especially as it relates to the analysis of your cost-per-click (CPC) and your conversion rates. And, more importantly, your understanding of these job advertising performance metrics likely also influence your future actions, like choosing which sources to advertise on and what your budget is for each source. That said, let’s briefly review the impact of click differences on your CPCs and conversion rates.

For sources that report “Sponsored Job Listing Clicks,” you’ll often see a higher volume of clicks in the source’s own reporting (or in “job views” in your centralized recruitment analytics dashboard), higher spend or total cost, lower CPCs and lower conversion rates. The data you receive from “Sponsored Job Listing Clicks” typically represents a greater interest in the job by the job seeker based on job title alone. However, this data doesn’t necessarily represent an intent to apply, as the job seeker has yet to read the job description at the point of the click.

On the other hand, for the sources that report “Apply Now Button Clicks” or “Email Alert Job Listing Clicks,” you may see an overall lower volume of clicks (or job views), lower spend or total cost, higher CPCs and higher conversion rates. That’s because the data behind these types of clicks often doesn’t represent job seekers that are only “generally” interested in the position. Rather, “Apply Now Button Clicks” and “Email Alert Job Listing Clicks” tend to represent a higher quality of traffic that carries a greater intent to apply, since these job seekers would have either seen your job description before committing to a click or have signed up specifically for alerts around jobs like the one they’re clicking on.

Differences in clicks alone don’t make one source better or worse than another, but it’s very important information to keep in mind as you analyze job performance data--especially at the source-level.

The Impact of Click Differences on Your Recruitment Marketing Strategy

Taking it one step further, let’s elaborate on how the click differences discussed above could affect your recruitment marketing strategy by analyzing an example of source-level CPC and conversion rates.

To start, let’s imagine that you advertise a job on Indeed with a $100 budget and you receive exactly 100 “Sponsored Job Listing Clicks” and 10 applicants. Because you spent $100 and received 100 clicks and 10 applicants, your CPC is $1.00, your CPA (cost-per-applicant) is $10.00, and your conversion rate is 10 percent.

Now, let’s imagine that you also advertise the same job on Glassdoor using the same budget ($100). This time, you receive only 20 clicks “Apply Now Button Clicks," but you also receive 10 applicants. Because you spent $100 here as well, and received 20 clicks and 10 applicants, your CPC is $5.00, your CPA is $10.00, and your conversion rate is 50%.

clicks pay-per-click

In this example, you spent the same on both sources and got the same number of applicants at the same CPA. So, for this job, both sources produced relatively equal results. However, if you were only analyzing the performance of these sources based on “click” data and CPC, you might assume that Glassdoor is performing "worse" than Indeed due to the lower click volume and higher CPC. Or conversely, if you were only analyzing source performance based on conversion rate, you might assume that Indeed is performing “worse” than Glassdoor in this case. [It's also important to note that higher or lower CPCs may not necessarily correlate to higher or lower CPAs, as you can see in this example.] But again, you received the same number of applicants from both sources, at the same CPA, so an analysis just based on these front-end metrics may lead you to make skewed budgeting decisions.

This is just one, of many, examples why it's so important to understand your source- AND job-level data, as well as their associated cost, at every step of the candidate funnel (through to hire), so you can make the most informed buying decisions.

[For more information on cost-per-click and other recruitment marketing metrics, download our free ebook, “The 2017 Guide to Recruitment Marketing Analytics,” here.]

How to Avoid Confusion Between Recruitment Marketing Metrics

If you don’t have a recruitment marketing analytics dashboard to standardize all of your data and ensure you’re making apples-to-apples comparisons between sources, then you might be misled by what the data is telling you.

It’s important to note that the examples above don’t “prove” that Glassdoor is better than Indeed as a source of applicant traffic, or vice versa. Rather, it simply shows why it’s so important for HR and talent acquisition professionals to understand their job ad data at a granular level, and it helps explain why certain data can differ dramatically from source to source.

To learn more about analyzing your job advertising data and about how you can avoid confusion between metrics by leveraging Recruitics Analytics, our free recruitment marketing analytics dashboard, sign up for a demo today.

Posted by Sal Trifilio

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