Online advertising has changed a whole lot since the advent of the Internet. The early days of manually purchased ads and ad exchanges ultimately gave way to the Internet of Things (IoT), which effectively blurred the line between online and offline paradigms. It also created new habits and behaviors in consumers, and completely changed the advertising landscape for digital marketers.

IoT brought into common use an entire universe of products other than traditional desktop and laptop computers that connect to the Internet, such as smartphones, smartwatches, Fitbits,  headphones, home appliances, TVs, motor vehicles and digital assistants such as Alexa and Google Home. According to Business Insider, the number of IoT devices was set to double between 2014 and 2019 alone.

The research analysis firm Gartner projected that by 2020, there would be around 26 billion IoT-connected devices in existence. The emergence of IoT has allowed organizations, including those which provide advertising services, to create a wide new array of disruptive business models, including programmatic advertising.

In this article, we’ll give a brief overview of what programmatic advertising is and how it works, explain best practices for targeting and examine how recruiters can take advantage of this paradigm to design online recruiting strategies.

What It Is And How It Works

It’s a self-evident proposition that no matter how brilliant an ad may be, if it doesn’t appear in the right place and targeted at the right people, your campaign can’t hope to reach its full potential. Programmatic advertising was created to take the guesswork and much of the legwork out of targeting.

Programmatic advertising is the automated process of promoting job ads across a large network of job sites. Programmatic ad buying involves the use of software and the algorithms contained therein to place digital ads. Where the traditional method of ad buying once consisted of proposals, quotes and negotiation, programmatic buying uses software to bid, buy and sell online advertising space. It is highly sophisticated in the technical sense, using traffic data, user behavior and preprogrammed targeting to drive impressions at scale. When using programmatic advertising, hiring professionals are allowed more time for the optimization and improvement of ads, which results in more success in their campaigns. This results in a better ROI for marketers and yields better results for everyone, from mom-and-pop outlets to global brands.

According to Digital Marketing Institute, the global spend on programmatic advertising was expected to top $129 billion in 2020 and to exceed $150 billion in 2021, with the US being the biggest spender on programmatic ads. In 2023, spending on programmatic advertising is projected to rise to $133 billion for the US alone.

Advantages To Programmatic Advertising For Recruiters

Of course, programmatic advertising was created to provide benefits to online advertisers, such as the ability to fine-tune their targeting and avoiding overspending on wasted clicks. There are some benefits however, from which employers can specifically benefit in their recruitment efforts. Among these are:

Expanded reach—Programmatic advertising of your available positions allows your organization to reach candidates whose online actions are being tracked by publishing networks, but who may not necessarily frequent the job boards you’re advertising on.

More quality candidates—Using programmatic job advertising, you’re able to target candidates who fit the precise qualifications for a given position. This makes it far more likely that you’ll attract higher-quality applicants. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it’s been established that programmatic job advertising maximizes ROI and improves recruitment marketing and talent acquisition metrics.

More actionable insights—Dashboards for programmatic job advertising provide deeper insights into how your ads are performing than traditional online ad platforms. The metrics provided highlight the sites from which your respondents originate, making you better able to effectively optimize your own ad placement.

Better candidate experience—By definition, programmatic ad software is crafted to show potential candidates more of what they want to see, and less of what they don’t. This is not only a money saver for your organization, but it helps to build your relationships with candidates before they even apply. Some programmatic ad platforms even ensure that candidates no longer see your ads after they’ve applied.

Retargeting potential applicants—With some programmatic job advertising platforms, you can retarget candidates who have visited your website, but haven’t yet applied for a position. The software allows for your ad to be displayed after they’ve navigated away from your website.

Savings and return—When it comes to savings and ROI, this always bears repeating. According to HR Technologist, programmatic job advertising platforms can increase your ROI by up to 90% and reduce your cost-per-applicant expenditures by over 30%.

Strengthening your brand—Programmatic ads allow you to publish different ads for different demographics and different roles (e.g., entry level, experienced, executive). Since different messaging resonates with different groups of people, you can tweak the verbiage in your ads, ensuring that your messaging will be relevant to the segment you’re targeting.

Programmatic Advertising Best Practices For Recruiters

When using programmatic advertising, targeting the right job seekers is obviously the recruiter’s chief concern. According to the industry resource Accurate, recruiters are advised to take a different approach when using programmatic advertising than simply trying to maximize the number of candidates who see their ads.

Based on their findings, it doesn’t matter how many job seekers see your ad—what matters is how many quality candidates see your ad, click to apply and follow through. How to accomplish this is through best practices that are more finely tailored to recruitment.

Some of these best practices include:

  • Due diligence in terms of doing the requisite research ahead of time, so that you’ll know what’s involved and required of you, from end-to-end.
  • Analyze and set frequency limitations so that the same ad isn’t shown over and over again to the same audience.
  • Use expert consultants to manage campaigns if you need them, since running programmatic ad campaigns does require a certain level of expertise this metric-driven paradigm.
  • Set goals from the beginning and employ existing data to determine the level of advertising awareness you need.
  • Build an effective strategy that will aid in determining your short- and long-term goals.
  • Properly manage whitelists and blacklists so that your ads are more likely to appear in locations you favor, and less likely to appear on dodgy websites that can damage your brand by association.
  • Watch out for fraud. According to eMarketer, fraud costs digital advertisers an estimated $6.5 billion to $19 billion each year. Advertisers often become overly concerned with reach in advertising deals, and this can leave campaigns open to abuse through bots. Remember—you’re looking for quality over quantity in your quest for candidates.

Like all of your marketing, employing strategy in your use of programmatic advertising is key. You may find that it is an optimal medium for some roles, but not for others. Determining these parameters will be crucial to maximizing your ad spend.