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What Are We Learning from Running Programmatic Job Spend Campaigns?

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In 2018, we really focused on developing a programmatic solution for staffing agencies. (What Is Programmatic Job Advertising? Start here.)

Seeing value for our clients and prospects, we knew there was an opportunity to help staffing agencies put more people to work through using the programmatic tactic to manage job board spend.

We worked through talking with several programmatic vendors (Appcast, Recruitics, JobAdX, Joveo, PandoLogic). We learned about the jargon in the industry (insertion orders, CPA). We made connections with publishers across the country (and internationally).

At the end of 2018, we went live with our programmatic job spend management services. What did we learn?

1. KPIs Are Vitally Important

KPIs are commonly referred to in the marketing industry and they are key performance indicators. Why are they important in this space?

Let’s say you have 50 open jobs at your staffing agency. In talking with publishers, an agency of record (like the Haley Marketing Group) is going to talk to Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Neuvoo, Talroo, etc. on your behalf and share the job feed with those publishers. We’re going to share the client’s job postings. Basic information can be found in those job postings (geography, industry, job level, etc.).

But what we don’t know from that job posting are the KPIs.

  • How many applications does the staffing agency want or need for each position?
  • How many applications does it take to get a hire?
  • Is there a target goal for cost per application?
  • Is there a target goal for cost per hire?

Taking a job feed with the KPI of “We need 20 applications per job” to the publishers will result in better estimates. When we have better estimates, it’s easier for publishers to give a more accurate starting budget for any campaigns.

Remember, we don’t want to just pay for the presence of job postings. We want to pay for their performance.

2. We Can Make Data-Driven Decisions

As a numbers nerd, my favorite part of the programmatic tactic in job spend management is with the data. Let’s look at these numbers:

  • Publisher 1: 33 applications, $14.32 CPA, 5.6 percent conversion rate
  • Publisher 2: 11 applications, $21.64 CPA, 4.2 percent conversion rate
  • Publisher 3: 7 applications, $69.71 CPA, 2.0 percent conversion rate

Moving forward, we are going to move the budget for these jobs to the first publisher. Without having this data easily available, it would be hard to compare the sources. Having a programmatic software platform easily summarizes the data from multiple publishers to help us get a better ROI.

Taking it even further, if your staffing agency is locked into a long-term contract with job boards, we might not be able to shift our money to Publisher 1 quickly. We might have to wait several months to move our budget to where we are getting the best results.

Remember – manage your job board spend. Don’t let your job board spend manage you.

3. Implementing Rules Works

What do I mean by rules? With this client, here’s what we decided after the initial benchmarking month:

  • For the traditional staffing jobs, once we reach 40 applications, turn off all the spend to those jobs. In their healthcare and security industry, never turn off the spend to those jobs.
  • After four days, if we don’t have 10 applications, increase our bidding.
  • After seven days, if we don’t have 20 applications, increase our bidding even more.

Let’s look at some examples of how it worked:

  1. For an accounting clerk position, the job had two applications in the first four days. At that four-day mark, we increased the cost per click on the position. With that switch, we collected seven applications in the next 72 hours.
  2. For a heavy lifter position, the job had one application in the first four days. After increasing the bidding, we two applications in the next 48 hours.
  3. For a chemical operator job, we had 10 applications in the first 14 days. Implementing the 20-application rule, we received seven applications in the next four days.
  4. For a billing specialist job, we had one application in the first four days. By implementing the “10 in 4” rule, we collected seven applications in the next four days.

Those aren’t perfect rules and we are going to refine them in the future, but it was a fantastic start.

Remember – we can’t hire clicks!

4. It’s Easy to Push Priority Jobs

Our last takeaway from the start of our programmatic program is when a staffing agency really has a high-priority job. For this client, it deals with a security officer position in South Dakota. (Very simple to recruit for!)

It’s a job the company constantly needs applications for and with that high-priority position, we’ve decided to increase the cost per application bidding by 25 percent. That directs more of our budget to a position that is a high priority for the recruiters.

It sounds very simple on the surface. It’s actually very simple in the programmatic software. But without the programmatic software (or the knowledge on how to manage and optimize campaigns) is your team able to increase the bidding on one or a handful of jobs to meet the priorities of your business orders?

Moving Forward

We are constantly learning at the Haley Marketing Group. Our job spend management solution is just in its infancy stages. A common phrase I have had with our CEO in meetings about programmatic software is that we wanted to crawl before we walk, and we wanted to walk before we ran.

Have mistakes been made? Of course. Are we learning from them? You bet we are.

And as we get closer to running than we are to crawling. it’s exciting to be able to provide a service where we help staffing agencies get more applications and put more people to work.

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