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Programmatic Job Advertising – What the Heck Is It and Why You Need It

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Programmatic – it sounds like a scary word. It sure as heck doesn’t sound like a word that is going to drive job applications more efficiently to your staffing agency.

But that’s exactly what it is.

Let’s jump right in and break down this technique.

Programmatic – According to the Dictionary

 “Of the nature of or according to a program, schedule or method.”

OK, we are on to something here.

The dictionary definition talks about completing a task through the use of a program or method or by a schedule. This helps.

Programmatic – According to the Talent Acquisition Industry

Well, this is where it gets a little unclear. After looking into this sector for a number of months in talent acquisition, there are a couple of different definitions. But first, we need to focus on something else before digging into programmatic in the talent acquisition industry.

Programmatic – Why Is It Important

In other industries (meaning outside of talent acquisition and recruitment), programmatic advertising is commonplace. By 2019, 67 percent of digital display will be sold programmatically. When I attended the TA Tech Leadership Summit in June 2018, Chris Forman, the CEO of AppCast, estimated the talent acquisition industry is only around 20-25 percent.

Hello, opportunity!

Programmatic Definition #1 – Rules-Based Bidding

It’s applied in a rules-based format.

What do I mean?

Let’s say you are pushing a nursing job in Denver and need 20 total applications in the next 14 days. You are going to bid $0.50 for each click.

After seven days, the job only has 2 applications. Now, we need to increase that bid to $1.00.

With programmatic advertising, we can set rules at the beginning of the campaign to tell the software that if the Nursing Job in Denver doesn’t have 10 amount of applications by the end of the first week, we need to increase our bidding.

Yes, you could go in and manually change it, but setting up an automated bidding strategy leads to better efficiency for all parties involved.

Programmatic Definition #2 – Application Caps

Let’s expand off our first example.

Your staffing agency doesn’t just have one nursing job in Denver, it has 10 unique nursing jobs in the Denver area. Some are entry level and some require more skills.

We are going to use the theory that we need 10 applications for each job during the next two weeks to have a successful hire for each position.

After the first week, Job A has 20 applications but none of the other jobs have more than two applications. What can we do?

We can set up a programmatic strategy to tell the software that when we reach our goal of 10 applications for a job to STOP spending money on that job. This limits wasted spend because you don’t need 40 applications for that job, you only need 10.

Let’s take it a step further. Since we can turn off the spending to Job A when it reaches 10 applications, we can shift our spend from Job A and distribute it to the under-performing jobs.

This can kickstart those jobs. This can eliminate wasted spend. This leads to better results and allows staffing agencies to make more performance-based decisions.

Programmatic Definition #3 – More of a True Programmatic Approach

This is where we are going to get technical (sorry!)

Programmatic uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to make better decisions and serve advertisements to the people who are most likely to engage with the content.

Let’s jump back to that Nursing Job in Denver.

True programmatic is going to dig into the job title and job posting BEFORE serving the job listing to websites.

The programmatic platform uses its artificial intelligence to look at the job title of “Registered Nurse” and look at the different skills, responsibilities and other content in the actual job description. Through that analysis (which is done in fractions of a second), the platform will then push the job to specific job boards and websites it feels will drive the most conversions.

Some platforms will even provide an estimate. It looks at your jobs and budget and returns an estimate of the number of views, applications and conversion rate.

Now, we aren’t done. The AI will continue to learn. It will look at user behavior of your Registered Nurse job in Denver and continue to make better decisions. Maybe it showed the job on 10 websites but three of them aren’t working well and two of them are working great. The software will show the RN job less often on the lower-performing websites and more often on the best-performing websites.

All of these decisions are made very quickly. The platforms provide the data so we can look at it, but we aren’t going to be able to make those decisions as quickly and as efficiently as the machine learning and AI.

So, Why Do Staffing Agencies Need Programmatic?

I put this in the blog title and haven’t directly answered the question. Here we go!

It’s a competitive job market. Unemployment numbers are the lowest we’ve seen in more than a decade. Open jobs is a bigger number than job seekers for the first time ever.

Most businesses are struggling to find quality candidates. If a number of staffing agencies aren’t using programmatic technology, then it becomes a competitive advantage for your business.

Staffing agencies are wasting money with their recruitment spend because of sticking to past strategies and tactics. The year-long Job Board contract doesn’t have to stay the norm. Continuing to put job postings on the same websites is going to bring the same (or worse results). Technology continues to improve and as technology improves, we need to change our tactics and strategies.

There won’t be an increase in cost for applications. In fact, a lot of programmatic platforms say this tactic will save 20-30 percent.

Filling more jobs means more revenue, which means more growth for your staffing agency.

That competitive advantage could be enormous in trying to fill open positions. Now’s the time to consider programmatic job advertising.

Utilize this guide to help with learning more about the vendors in the industry and how to leverage your job openings in the most efficient fashion.


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Get our best marketing tips—one idea a week. You’ll also get invites to our webinars, and exclusive offers on our products and services.

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