Lately, I’ve seen a lot of discussion going on about Programmatic Job Advertising. Some claim that Programmatic Job Advertising is the same as Programmatic Advertising; some claim it’s totally different and thus shouldn’t be called programmatic.
What is Programmatic Advertising?
Programmatic Advertising means that software analyses the result of advertising and then tries to repeat successful practices. For example if it sees that when you visit Booking.com on your mobile, look at a hotel, but don’t book the hotel and then when you’re shown an ad on Facebook via desktop at night that tries to get you back to this page about the hotel, you actually book the hotel, it will try to do the same thing again. Not just when you visit a hotel page on your mobile again and don’t book, but also when others (similar to you) do this. Can you imagine a marketer sitting behind his computer at night waiting for you to go to Facebook and then hitting a button to show you an ad? Not really, right? That’s why we use software to figure out what works, but also then to execute those things that work over and over again.
Programmatic Job Advertising is currently mainly being used in websites that make most of their money by selling job ads. It started in job aggregators and will soon find it’s way to job boards and LinkedIn. And that’s why people are so confused; when we talk about Programmatic Advertising in e-commerce, we usually talk about buying ads in websites based on audience targeting such as display advertising (showing banners), but that’s not what companies who offer programmatic job advertising technology do (yet).
Why does this difference exist?
The first reason is that most companies (job boards, recruitment agencies and employers) who advertise with jobs in job aggregators, job boards and social networks are not very good at doing that. They don’t have data on what works and if they have it; how to use it to optimize their job advertising and how to buy media in a smarter way to get closer to their goal. So there’s a need to align media spend with goals and this is why a few companies have built Programmatic Job Advertising technology: To help advertisers: 1: Track results, 2: Optimize results, 3: Buy media for them based on data. So far this kind of technology has only been used by innovators in the ‘recruitment market’ and is still not widely adopted. That’s why vendors in this space are focusing on first getting adoption and then innovating further. There’s simply no point in creating something only a few innovators will use when there are thousands of buyers you can make money from if you just help them do what they already do a lot better.
The second reason is that doing the same thing in Programmatic Job Advertising as in Programmatic Advertising requires a lot. First of all, it requires deep understanding of audiences, profiling etc. You can’t just start showing banners to people, as this will cost advertisers not only money, but also their reputation. Most examples of companies who are using display advertising to attract people to their jobs are not that great. Just to give you an easy example: When I look at one of your jobs for 5 seconds and then you keep hunting me down on the internet with that specific job for a month, it doesn’t really help you. Obviously there’s no point for tech vendors in automating these kinds of practices.
Targeting audiences is much more complex than most people think as you have to be able to take into account your own data (for example; website and ats/crm data), data from the publisher who can show your ad (device, time, context etc.) and data from third parties (who for example have databases with profiles) and then have to show a good ad. To apply this to job advertising, first we will need to build a smarter way to figure out what really works, which can not be just based on first or last click, but by being able to see what channels a candidate used, with what kind of devices, at what times and what pages they visited.
The third reason is that as mentioned above; when we want to use display, we will need better ads/job related content; we can’t just use some text from the job ad in your website and put it in a banner. This is a problem, as most companies who have tens, hundreds or thousands of different jobs, are not going to create awesome content for all those jobs. For the optimistic readers: Yes, this is a great business opportunity.
Will Programmatic Job Advertising get closer to Programmatic Advertising?
If you ask my team and me: Yes. And I’m sure more companies will head into this direction. The future of job advertising is pretty bright if we all (employers, staffing agencies, job boards, social networks, ats/crm providers, IT departments, programmatic job advertising vendors, publishers, third parties) play nicely. With playing nicely I mean: Connect (in terms of data and pricing models), help each other understand what our combined data actually means and then figure out ways to do something with those insights.