It's known—or should be by now—that Google remains the dominant force in online advertising. While often thought of as a tech company due to its investments in a wide range of technology—internet search, mobile phones, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, and health technology—Google’s main business is online advertising. In 2020, the company generated almost $183 billion in revenue. Out of that, over 80% came from Google’s advertising business, which includes the ubiquitous Google search engine, Google Maps, YouTube and other properties.
According to eMarketer, Google has been the market leader in online advertising for over a decade. For 2021, it was expected to command an estimated 29% share of digital ad spending globally.
But what does all of this mean to recruitment marketers, and how can recruiters benefit from the massive advertising infrastructure Google has put in place? In this article, learn about how Google advertising can benefit their recruitment marketing plans, as well as best practices and statistics relating to Google advertising.
The first area that recruitment marketers—or, indeed, any marketers employing Google—need to understand is Google Search Ads. Audiences see these regularly, and most marketers are familiar with them.
Essentially, when a hiring professional types something into the Google search engine, they're given a list of results. This is called the search engine results page, which is sometimes abbreviated and referred to as the SERP. This shows both the organic and the paid results.
Google processes over 5 billion searches per day, and its Search function is Google’s most lucrative unit. According to a recent CNBC article, in 2020, Google generated $104 billion in “search and other” revenues, making up over 70% of Google’s ad revenue. (Note: This figure includes revenue generated on Google’s search properties, along with ads on other Google-owned properties like Gmail, Maps and the Google Play app store).
The way it works is that advertisers can bid on search keywords— or the specific words and phrases that lead their ads to show up in users’ search results. Advertisers can choose from different bidding strategies that Google offers. If their intent is to generate traffic to their site, they might use cost-per-click (CPC) bidding. In this scenario, the advertiser pays when someone clicks on their ads. Bidding involves the advertiser choosing a maximum spend that they want to pay for each click ahead of time, and every time an ad is eligible to appear for a search, an auction algorithm determines whether the ad shows up, and if it does, in which position.
For advertisers, Google Search is basically the foundation for any other Google advertising they may decide to implement, and it starts with the keywords they utilize and the targeting they use.
Google Search Ads are the ads that advertisers pay to place on Google’s search engine pages, and are the ones that show up at the top of nearly all searches. From a recruitment marketer’s perspective, these are ideal for recruiters who are looking for active candidates, as well as those who are looking for a direct response, which could also include lead generation. Google Search Ads are also great for getting the word out about hiring events and other promotions.
Google Ads is the paid search platform where advertisers—in this case, recruitment marketers—bid to have their ads show up online. These ads are eligible to appear on search engine results pages, mobile devices, and on websites. Google Ads reaches 80% of Internet users in the United States; this makes the sheer size of their ad network the biggest differentiator over Google’s competitors. As a recruitment marketer, it also represents their biggest advantage, since it gives them access to 80% of the top prospects and candidates online.
The Ads network gives the opportunity to be seen across a wide range of online venues. The variety of formats gives flexibility as far as where to place ads, including:
Google Ads essentially represents two networks, the Search Network and the Google Display Network (GDN). On the Search Network, businesses place text ads to be shown in the search engine results. On the Display Network, businesses place display ads to be shown on the huge network of participating sites. Display ads are the visual banner ads seen on advertising-supported sites across the Internet. According to Google, the Display Network reaches over 90% of global internet users on over 2 million sites.
Google Display ads allow for video and image ads, which are far more compelling and captivating compared to standard text ads. As hiring professionals go up the recruitment funnel and utilize GDN and tactics available from Google products in the upper funnel, they gravitate away from the standard text ads toward areas in which they can say more about the organization via display—digital banner ads and video. This is where branding opportunities come into play, since the ads are much more interactive with a customer user base.
Hiring professionals can further refine their ad campaigns through Google Audience targeting. This type of targeting addresses the segments, or groups of people with specific interests, intents and demographic information. For the purposes of this discussion, these segments will include job seekers with various other attributes. Google will then show a company's ads to people who are likely to be in the categories that have been selected.
With each of the display options Google offers, a company may choose different ones for different purposes, or for different use cases.
Google Display ads are the least expensive means to get the branding across, and the cheapest means of serving ads through impressions. The CPC costs tend to be low, depending upon the industry a company is in and the timing. For example, CPC costs have been running somewhat higher lately for nursing jobs and healthcare-related roles due to COVID, but this is likely to be a transitory phenomenon.
While the Google Search Network (the keyword based strategy) costs the most, it also adds value in that it converts the best and provides ample branding opportunities. Since Google processes so many searches, when a company puts itself in the mix of those (5 billion a day) searches, it significantly expands its audience and reach for job advertisements.
Another unique and value-adding component of Google Search is that it can be used as a complete marketing funnel channel in itself, capturing the attention of candidates all the way from the initial awareness stage, down to the consideration and conversion phases. This can be achieved through different kinds of campaign setups, primarily when it comes to targeting. Depending on the specific need or objective, a recruiting company might focus on market, interest or in behavioral-based targeting, or they might decide to implement retargeting and remarketing for candidates that have already interacted with the business.
With respect to branding opportunities, the goal of Google Search is to show up in that top spot in the search results. Candidates looking for jobs are actively searching in that area, and Google’s algorithms are continually refining their results. So if a company that’s recruiting has their brand's name out there, and their ad copy, then that brand name has the potential to show up in the top results again and again—which is great branding. It amounts to an excellent way for candidates to not only become familiar with the brand, but also to follow through and interact with the brand and complete a conversion.
This article shares best practices regarding Google advertising campaigns for recruitment marketers previously in this space, such as rigorous review of ad copy, continuously updating keyword lists, and taking advantage of keyword matching type. And of course, Google itself provides extensive best practices guidelines for marketers.
From a recruitment marketer’s standpoint, there are tried-and-true strategies that best utilize the various properties Google offers. A few are near no-brainers, but because they do get overlooked; others are aspects that recruitment marketers don’t necessarily always think of:
Account creation. When hiring professionals set up all ad accounts, make sure to know everything has been done correctly and they’re set up properly. Check and re-check.
Account management. Manage campaigns scrupulously; be sure that everything is running smoothly and make any changes or optimizations that are necessary. This typically involves keyword creation and building out those keyword strategies.
Remarketing. This is always a good idea. Most of the experts in the industry agree that remarketing is essential for recruitment marketers, particularly when it comes to the Display network. Costs tend to be lower, and hiring professionals are keeping people engaged.
Discovery campaigns. Google Discovery Campaigns help advertisers reach up to 3 billion customers across Google feeds. This campaign type helps to deliver highly visual, personalized ad experiences to people who are ready to discover and engage with a brand—all through a single Google Ads campaign. There are also Discovery ads that run on YouTube (one of Google’s lucrative properties).
Visually rich Display ads are essential. Spend some thought, planning and time on creatives, whether they’re banner or video ads. Google’s ad layouts rely on machine learning to build and showcase assets, so the more precise and clear the message, the more engagement hiring professionals are likely to get.
Google Search and Display Ads. Google Search is a high-conversion driving tactic. Although it can be used across an entire marketing funnel, it is typically used as a bottom-of-the-funnel tactic. So if conversions and leads are what recruiters are looking for, they'll definitely want to include this in their strategy. The ad units and ad copy are widely customizable, and professionals have a lot of control over the verbiage they want to use and how they want to present a company.
Finally, paid search gets faster results than just relying on search engine optimization (SEO) and organic results. Of course, if hiring professionals are paying for an ad, it's far more likely to appear right at the top of those search results. So, paid search and SEO along with taking full advantage of Ads and the Google Display.
Network are great tactics to use hand-in-hand. If your company is interested in setting up or refining its Google ad strategies, contact Recruitics!