Posted on 10 October 2023 In Programmatic

To get excellent applicants through your recruitment drive, you need impactful advertising that’s likely to be seen by the people you want to hire. By using online advertising, you should be able to spread your net as widely as possible. But with so many options out there, you may need a little help making the most of your time and resources. This is where automation comes in.

As a recruiter, you may have heard that programmatic advertising can save advertisers time and money while also ensuring ads are displayed to relevant audiences. Apart from helping companies to grow sales, this approach to advertising can also be a very powerful tool for recruiters. After all, you’re “marketing” the positions you hope to fill by advertising them. Your goal is to attract a pool of suitable applicants so that you can pick those best suited to your new role.

This article is a deep dive into programmatic advertising: defining exactly what it is, who uses it and how its potential can be unlocked for fast and effective recruitment.

What is programmatic advertising? 

Programmatic advertising is the use of software to purchase and place digital ads automatically. It involves using algorithms and data to target specific audiences and display ads to them on relevant websites and platforms. 

In principle, it’s easy to define programmatic advertising and understand what it is and what it does. However, things can get rather more technical once you scratch beneath the surface. But fear not! We’ll start with the fundamentals of programmatic advertising before delving into the more advanced aspects.

Who uses programmatic advertising?

Programmatic advertising is used by people who want to place ads, and people who sell ads. Here’s where you master some of the basic terminology that goes with the territory and begin speaking the language of programmatic advertising like a pro.`

  • Advertisers are on the buying (demand) end of the transaction. The platform they use to buy advertising and manage campaigns is therefore called a demand-side platform (DSP). 
  • Publishers are the suppliers of advertising space, and they place ads using their supply side platforms (SSPs).

So, DSPs allow you to buy ads. Instead of having to deal with the publishers directly, your demand-side software purchases your ads from marketplaces termed “exchanges” or from specific sites with advertising space for sale. It’s a hands-off automated process. Publishers offer their space on exchanges using their SSP software. They then don’t have to intervene in the transaction for it to be completed.

Understanding the different types of programmatic advertising

This isn’t a question of ad format as much as it is about how the transaction is negotiated when using programmatic advertising. Broadly speaking, this can be broken down into two categories:

Real-Time Bidding (RTB)

Real-time bidding is a way to buy digital advertising space that is being auctioned. The seller’s advertising space is listed on an ad exchange, and the buyer’s DSP places a bid. 

The marketplace is open to anyone, so other advertisers’ DSPs can also place bids. As with any auction, the highest bidder gets the advertising space and the whole process happens in real-time, taking less than a second to complete. 

To save you from the pitfall of bidding far more than you needed to, your highest bid is adapted so that you only pay $0.01 more than the second-highest bidder’s DSP offered. So you bid according to your budget and may end up paying less than what you were originally willing to spend.

The total cost of an ad placement is based on the number of people who see your ad, or “impressions”, rather than interactions with your ad content such as clicking for more information. The usual pricing model for programmatic advertising is termed cost per mill (CPM) and the price you bid represents the cost of a thousand impressions. 

Programmatic direct

Programmatic direct automates the steps usually involved in buying advertising manually. You’d have a set of parameters that include the type of content you’d like to target, as well as the demographic of your target audience. 

The seller sets up their offering by specifying which parameters it offers, and your DSP searches through listings using its set of selection criteria to find a match. This allows for better quality control, precise targeting, and more purposeful campaign management. 

What are the main auction types for programmatic advertising?

We already distinguished between open auctions with real-time bidding (RTB) and programmatic direct bidding which offers better targeting on where your ads appear. However, there are a couple of auction-related terms you may want to keep in mind as you get started: 

Preferred deals 

In preferred deals, you negotiate a price with a publisher in advance. This will be for a premium placement and the price is likely to be higher. When an ad placement opportunity comes up, you receive the offer first, but you don’t have to accept it. If you do bid, you’re in the running but there is no guarantee that you will secure your ad real estate. 

Programmatic guaranteed (Programmatic direct)

This model isn’t really an auction, but it’s part of programmatic advertising and therefore warrants a mention. The buyer and seller agree on pricing, audiences, frequency and budgets. The buyer is guaranteed placement, distinguishing this model from preferred deals. When the inventory becomes available, you have your spot reserved and the software automates the rest of the process. 

Private auctions

Instead of opening bidding to anyone who wants to buy the ad space, the publisher sets a minimum bid price for a select group of advertisers, with the placement going to the highest bidder. This type of ad transaction is similar to the “preferred deals” option.

How is programmatic advertising used for recruitment? 

Programmatic advertising allows recruiters to target specific groups of job seekers based on their skills, experience, and location, and to display opportunities to them on job boards and websites that they’re likely to visit. This process is automated, it can not only help recruiters save time and money, it can also make campaigns more effective by ensuring job ads are being displayed to the right people.

The first tool you need is your programmatic advertising platform, ideally, one that specializes in recruitment advertising. To make it work well for you, you will decide on a set of rules that include how much you’re willing to spend and what you’re aiming to achieve. 

Of course, you’d like to know how your ad is doing. How many qualified people are clicking on your ad and how many of these people end up applying? While performance tracking goes some way in answering these questions, it will be hard to interpret the results if you don’t have an overview of the market. This information also helps the AI behind your recruiting tool to strategize for success. 

Knowing how candidates navigate your hiring funnel – from the time they view your ad all the way to a successful hire – will allow you to make incremental improvements to your hiring strategies. This may help you to eliminate certain advertising options in future and focus on those with the best return on investment.

What are the benefits of programmatic advertising in recruitment?

Automating ad placement

Programmatic advertising seeks out opportunities to advertise and snaps them up within milliseconds. All you have to do is make sure you’ve set the right guidelines for your automated ad placements.

Ensuring that job ads are displayed to the right people

Qualifications, skills, experience, location, interests: these are all parameters that help you to find the right candidates. They’re hoping to find relevant opportunities on jobs boards too, so they’ll use on-site filters to narrow down the offers they see. Your programmatic advertising platform knows what to specify so that the right people see your ads. 

Reaching a larger audience

Manual ad placement limits the audience you’ll reach. After all, you only have so much time to spend placing ads and you’re sure to miss a few opportunities. Programmatic advertising does it for you, finding all the right places for your advertising so that you reach as many people as possible.

Using real-time data insights

Real-time data insights help you to finetune your strategy and make incremental improvements to your advertising. For example, you might find that rewording a job title makes your ad more engaging, which can be measured based on a range of performance metrics and benchmarks.

Targeting specific job seekers

Certain specialized programmatic recruitment tools go beyond advertising and help you with shortlisting the very best candidates. Just be very sure to think about how the algorithm works – you can miss great candidates if you’re screening for a very narrow list of keywords. 

Comparing the benefits of programmatic and display advertising

Programmatic and display advertising have certain advantages in common. For example, data analytics and software work together to achieve effective ad placement. But the similarities really end here. As the newer technology of the two, programmatic advertising has a few extras to offer. 

The first distinction is the sheer size of the inventory available. Display is limited to a network and programmatic advertising is not: that means your advertising has greater reach. You can also use native ads – they don’t look like advertisements until people take a closer look – so the ad gets more attention. Once again, this is not possible with banner ads. And, although both types of advertising are targeted, programmatic offers more targeting options. 

Finally, programmatic advertising is faster, more cost-effective, and more efficient than banner advertising. There’s less need for intervention in the placement of ads and more of a focus on managing campaigns in real time, adjusting them until you get the best results possible.

Examples of successful programmatic recruitment advertising 

Domino’s solves recruitment challenges

When a Domino’s franchisee with a string of stores found himself with high-volume recruiting needs, he turned to programmatic advertising to find the staff he needed. He found them – at an 85% lower recruitment cost than regular advertising – largely owing to time savings. As an added benefit, the time saved through automated advertising helped him to spend more time on training and onboarding. He reports better quality work and improved employee retention as a result. 

Employment agency streamlines operations

It’s not only direct employers who are finding programmatic advertising and recruitment to be useful. Agency recruiters are also getting on board for a smoother ride. Express Pros adopted this technology and the company reports time savings of up to 40 hours a week. 

How to use programmatic recruitment advertising effectively

Define your target audience

The first step in using programmatic recruitment advertising effectively is to define your target audience. Consider the skills, experience, and location of the candidates you are looking for and use this information to create a target audience profile. This will help you to focus your recruitment efforts and ensure that your job ads are being displayed to the right people.

Set clear goals

It is important to have clear goals in mind when using programmatic recruitment advertising. Do you want to increase the number of job applications you receive, or are you looking to reduce the time it takes to fill open positions? Whatever your goals may be, make sure they are specific and measurable so that you can track your progress and see whether your programmatic recruitment advertising efforts are paying off.

Use relevant keywords

Using relevant keywords in your job ads is crucial for programmatic recruitment advertising. Job seekers often use specific keywords when searching for jobs, and including these keywords in your job ads will help to ensure that they are displayed to the right people. Use job titles and skills that are specific to the positions you are trying to fill, and consider using long-tail keywords to reach a more targeted audience.

Utilize retargeting 

Retargeting involves displaying ads to people who have previously visited your website or job board. It can be a useful tool for programmatic recruitment advertising, as it allows you to reach job seekers who have already expressed an interest in your company or job openings.

Test and optimize 

As with any marketing campaign, it is important to test and optimize your programmatic recruitment advertising efforts. Try out different targeting strategies and ad copy to see what works best, and use data and analytics to track the performance of your campaigns. This will help you to refine your approach and get the most out of your programmatic recruitment advertising efforts.

PandoLogic is an online job advertising and hiring platform that specifically serves as a recruitment solution for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. The platform’s advanced AI Technology and programmatic capabilities speed up the hiring process overall, making it more targeted, streamlined, and efficient, reducing the time-to-hire and securing the best candidates. 

By following the steps above, and being intentional about your hiring goals, you will further enable tools like PandoLogic to revamp your recruitment processes and performance, reaching the right candidates on the right sites for the right price.

In conclusion, programmatic recruitment advertising is a powerful tool for reaching targeted job seekers and filling open positions more efficiently. By defining your target audience, setting clear goals, using relevant keywords, utilizing retargeting, and testing and optimizing your campaigns, you can effectively use programmatic recruitment advertising to find the right candidates for your organization. With your newfound knowledge and PandoLogic’s easy-to-use platform, programmatic recruitment advertising can make your work easier while ensuring a successful ad campaign. 

If you’re interested in learning more about programmatic recruitment advertising, and what goals tools like PandoLogic can help your hiring team accomplish, sign up for a free demo here.

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