Past experience can be your greatest asset when innovating in a new industry.
When I was head of mobile advertising for Google (AU/NZ), I encountered a lot of advertisers who heavily relied on the old way of doing things — print and TV, mainly. iPhones had just come out, so we tried to help them understand that mobile devices were going to be very important ways for them to communicate to their consumers.
Initially, our organization was met with disbelief. Very few people thought mobile would ever compete with desktop usage.
But by guiding clients into new technologies, we were able to redefine the mobile advertising space for our markets. We simply used new tools with old techniques.
Incorporating successful past experiences into different industries is a key element to bringing new thinking to old verticals. Just like moving advertisers from print to mobile devices, my early experiences at Google are what allowed me to reshape the way I thought about hiring.
If general advertising can be programmatic, why can’t it also be applied to recruitment advertising?
Here are a few things I’ve carried with me from the world of highly targeted advertising, and applied at Perengo.
1. Different industries, same funnel.
Consumers move through a consideration funnel as they evaluate the product. This is common knowledge. But it’s important.
Put simply, anyone online moves through different phases before completing the action businesses want from them — whether that’s buying a new pair of shoes or, in our case, applying for a job.
So first, just like in digital advertising, we generate awareness with a display advertisement or a job post. The job seeker engages with that post — clicks on it, reads the description, considers it, and then either applies or leaves. If they leave, then it’s time for a retargeting strategy. This is digital marketing 101.
But here is where approaching common knowledge, like the consumer funnel, with a non-traditional way of thinking can change things.
The techniques you use to retarget your job seeker don’t have to stay within the original job site or app. You can use data to reach them in unconventional ways.
For example, if you’ve used a programmatic platform to track how job seekers are coming to and then leaving your site, you may know where they usually go after looking for jobs. Maybe they search for jobs for an hour then click over to ESPN to check playoff stats or game times. Knowing this, you can serve your target audience a retargeting ad on ESPN to remind them of their outstanding job application.
It’s like leaving a Post-it note by the door for an errand — “Remember that you were going to do this!” Except you’re using deep data and programmatic algorithms to write the Post-it note for you.
2. Data doesn’t lie.
Just because one person buys your product, doesn’t necessarily mean the next person who clicks on your ad will make it all the way through the same funnel. You have to incorporate past data to iterate on the ad each time.
This is a common law in the world of programmatic advertising, but the rule also applies to the world of programmatic recruitment.
A successful job recruitment campaign can use all the same data points as a successful retargeting campaign — location, time of day, day of week, successful messaging, and other relevant audience data. Each of these different data points can also be optimized again and again in order to formulate the right job description when targeting a job seeker.
These subtle details make more of a difference than you might think.
If you know that a certain number of successful job applications came from a cold-colored ad, then in your next campaign it would be beneficial to focus on iterating on those ads over the ones with warmer colors.
Without tools to track this data and iterate on new campaigns, it wouldn’t be possible to include small details for big successes. All of the data pulled together gives us the confidence to improve faster and more effectively than more traditional job-posting mediums. Colors, context, geography, time of day, and many other campaign facets are managed and optimized to achieve the best campaign outcome.
3. Some companies will always have initial resistance to new technology.
Clients had initial hesitation embracing mobile advertising when we first rolled it out at Google, and we see a similar initial behavior when helping companies move to programmatic recruitment.
It’s natural to feel some hesitation over something new. I’ve found it most helpful to frame change as a journey through a series of carefully devised A/B Tests which are furthered through smart collection and analysis of performance, as well as impact data . This helps companies understand their own data as much as possible, and gives them a better understanding of the need for a shift into new technologies.
One simple but effective way of helping companies take their “first step” toward programmatic recruitment adoption was through internal controlled trials and managed test campaigns. These quickly led to various types of case studies and successes for clients. We also found that early adopters who were willing to try these methods had a major advantage over competitors in their industries.
That advantage comes from the most important thing you’re capturing: conversion funnel engagement data. Whether you’re selling shoes or recruiting a potential job candidate, properly identifying and analyzing your audience allows you to continuously improve your campaigns. Over time, this could give your business a competitive edge in your market.
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