Staffing Companies: Increase Your Gross Margin with 3 Simple PPC Optimizations

Staffing Companies: Increase Your Gross Margin with 3 Simple PPC Optimizations


Any staffing company serious about increasing their gross margin understands that this can only be accomplished by producing more high quality applicants, submittals and placements on as small a budget as possible. This of course makes programmatic job advertising, using models such as PPC (pay-per-click) and CPA (cost-per-applicant), a powerful tool in the efforts to accomplish this goal.

However, even programmatic job advertising can (and should!) be further optimized to produce a greater ROI. It shouldn't be a "set it and forget it" type of strategy. 

Optimizing your programmatic job advertising spend essentially means trying to focus your budget on open positions that need the most support and restricting it to positions that are producing satisfactory results. In doing so, you’ll be utilizing your budget more wisely and eliminating wasted spend, which leads to more submittals and placements. This ultimately supports a staffing company's goal of increased gross margin.

With that said, here are three simple programmatic job advertising optimizations you can make today to better utilize your budgets and increase your gross margin:

  • Stop wasting clicks: The programmatic model helps ensure you’re only paying for actual clicks to your jobs, but here we want to make sure you’re only paying for as many clicks as you need. With PPC campaigns on job aggregators like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and the like, if you’re wasting clicks (in this case, paying for more clicks than you need) then you’re wasting money. In order to stop wasting clicks and money, you’ll first need to understand the conversion rates of your jobs to identify how many clicks are needed to achieve your goal number of applicants for each role. You’ll then want to stop spending on your jobs the minute that you receive enough clicks to produce enough applicants to make your placement. For instance, if you know it takes 200 clicks to yield 20 applications on an nursing position, and out of 20 applications you’ll be able to make one placement, then you’ll only want to provide that job with just enough budget to reach those 200 clicks. Failure to do so could mean that this job receives 400 clicks, taking 200 clicks (and important budget dollars) away from other jobs that might need those clicks to produce applicants.
  • Only pay for as many applications as you need: Eliminating overspend is essentially the key to optimization. As mentioned above, you don’t want to spend your budget on unnecessary clicks and similarly, you should avoid spending more than you need to on applications. Like clicks, here it’s most helpful to know exactly how many applications, on average, it takes for you to make a particular placement. For instance, if on average it takes 10 applications to place an engineer, then you should stop spending on your engineering positions the moment those jobs hit 10 applications (or the number of clicks needed to receive 10 apps) each. Doing so will allow you to utilize your recruitment budget more efficiently, ensuring that your jobs get only the number of applications needed to make placements, and not a single application more.
  • Focus on hard-to-fill or immediate-need jobs: Hard-to-fill (HTF) jobs are jobs with abnormal constraints, such as highly competitive jobs in very rural areas, and immediate-need jobs are the placements that you need to fill very quickly. Therefore, HTF and immediate-need jobs should be your top priority and should receive a good portion of your budget, as well as more competitive CPC bids. In order to give these jobs the attention and resources they require to make the necessary placements in the given timeframe, it’s even more important to understand your job-level analytics and to optimize your non-HTF jobs using the techniques in this post, and divert the cost savings to higher priority jobs.

At the end of the day, programmatic job advertising alone can only take you so far. True savings can only occur when you take the time to optimize your programmatic spend for the best ROI. Ensuring your recruitment marketing strategy is operating as efficiently as possible allows you to increase gross margin.

If you don’t have access to your performance data and analytics for your jobs, or if you don’t know how to take action on these campaign optimizations, contact us today to learn more.

[This blog post was originally published on April 8, 2016 by Sal Trifilio. It was updated on February 19, 2020 by Emily Tanner.]

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