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What is Programmatic Job Advertising?

Adriana Kevill BY Adriana Kevill / March 1st, 2022 / 4 MIN READ

Programmatic Job Advertising

If you work in talent acquisition or recruitment marketing, you may have heard the term “programmatic job advertising,” but do you know what it is? Do you understand why it should be part of your recruitment marketing plan?
We decided it’s time to explain programmatic job advertising in plain English. This way, you will feel included the next time you hear the term.

Simplifying an intricate solution, programmatic job advertising is an automated way to distribute jobs to a network of job boards with a set of rules and parameters. 
Programmatic Job Advertising
To make this easier to understand, let’s think about how the job sponsorship process works without programmatic:

The Traditional Way to Advertise Jobs on Job Boards

Typically, you provide a list of roles that need sponsorship on a specific job board and negotiate a budget and contract for that set budget. Then, you give the job board a feed from your career site or ATS so they can pull in the job listings you want to sponsor. 

And now you’re done! Although you’ll repeat this process across multiple job boards.
Jobs will get clicks and applications until the budget is exhausted. Often, some jobs may get too many clicks and consume a lot of your budget, while other positions may not get enough clicks.

Usually, around 30 days after your campaign ends, you will receive a report from the job board. Then you will measure which jobs got enough clicks, applications, and how much you paid per click or application.
If you’ve posted your jobs this way before, you’ll know some of the common pitfalls of this traditional job advertising method include:

  • Uneven distribution of budgets. Results show too many clicks on some jobs and not enough on others.
  • Blind spots are present. There’s no visibility into job-level campaign performance, which makes it hard to optimize campaigns proactively.
  • Limited audience reach. Visibility is limited by only using one or two job aggregators to advertise jobs.
  • Reporting is lacking. Typical reporting is not real-time or transparent, leaving you without enough data to react and optimize promptly.

Now, let’s see how the above process changes when you switch to programmatic job advertising:

The Programmatic Way to Advertise Jobs

You can now use one budget for advertising all of your jobs and one vendor to distribute them programmatically. 
The team behind the programmatic platform understands your campaign goals, such as how many applications are necessary for you to make a hire. They use this information to create distribution rules. Using the job feed from your career site, they’ll distribute the jobs to a network of job boards, rather than each one individually. 

In real-time, they can see how many clicks and applications your jobs receive, how much those clicks cost, and which clicks yield applications. They can quickly optimize your job distribution with the job boards that provide the best value based on that data. This lowers your cost per click and per application, therefore saving you money.

When a particular job receives enough clicks and applications based on the initially established rules, that job is automatically un-sponsored. The budget redirects to the hard-to-fill jobs that still need applications.
This all happens in real-time, so optimization happens fast. Rather than waiting to react to separate reports from multiple job boards, you get immediate visibility to each of your jobs’ performance. 
Programmatic Job Ads

What do you need to start programmatic job advertising?

Luckily, if you’re already working with job boards to sponsor jobs, you are halfway there. To switch to programmatic job advertising, you’ll need the following: 

  • An XML feed (Job feed). Typically, this is the feed you provide a job board to post your roles. Your vendor will import your feed into the programmatic platform to distribute across job boards.
  • Source codes. Your ATS will provide you with source codes to track clicks and applications. 
  • Pixels. This is a piece of code the programmatic platform will provide you to place on your ATS. It helps determine when an applicant views one of your roles, when they start an application, and when they complete an application.
  • Benchmarks. Provide the programmatic team with any analytics you have on how many applicants each group of jobs requires to yield a hire. If you don’t have that information, you will gain it once you run your jobs programmatically for some time.

What are the advantages of running job ads programmatically? 

There are many advantages to switching to programmatic job advertising. For example:

  • Better ROI on your media spend. Bids can be optimized and managed in real-time to the penny.
  • Focus on completed applications. You can quit paying for wasted clicks.
  • Increased efficiency. Reduce administration and overall time-to-hire by evenly distributing the right number of applications to all open reqs. 
  • Real-time reporting. Metrics will give you an accurate pulse on how campaigns are performing.
  • Valuable insights. Gain application data and guidance for building predictive models for future hiring needs.

What should I be aware of for programmatic job advertising? 

Automation doesn’t mean that a strong team of analysts isn’t necessary. Just like you shouldn’t post your jobs and pray, you shouldn’t launch campaigns programmatically and pray. Having a strong team of analysts to fully understand campaign needs, set up, manage rules, and optimize campaigns appropriately is critical for ultimate success.

Not all reports are made equal. Even though programmatic platforms provide real-time and more transparent reports than individual job boards, the level of transparency varies among platforms. Research recruitment marketing vendors that offer programmatic job advertising to determine the level of reporting that’s right for your team.
Now you know what Programmatic Job Advertising means. Do you have any other questions? We’d love to answer them. Give us a shout on Twitter
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Adriana Kevill

Adriana has experience working in the recruitment marketing industry, and has also been part of the localization industry - giving her a unique insight into different cultures and international business. The “why not?” attitude that stems from her fiery personality combined with her dissatisfaction with the status quo, enabled her to build two departments from scratch: Search Marketing and Social Media. By immersing herself in the work of a wide variety of companies from several industries (financial technology, engineering, healthcare, etc), Adriana is equipped with a distinctive vantage point on processes, challenges, and opportunities when launching or expanding marketing programs. When she is not working, you can find her eating chocolate, sipping sangria, and making jewelry.

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