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Pulling Back the Curtain on Programmatic ROI

Stacey Shaw February 24, 2023
Pulling Back the Curtain on Programmatic ROI

Programmatic recruitment marketing has been a heavily discussed and used candidate sourcing solution since its arrival on the scene. The dissemination of job postings to multiple mediums based on job seeker behavior and performance makes an intriguing sales pitch. However, let’s take a look at an opposing viewpoint based on the desire for these platforms to solve all recruitment challenges, but finding out, they just don’t.  

The programmatic sales pitch ensures the resolution of all recruiting problems. As an agency, Wicresoft has partnered with programmatic platforms and put campaigns in place for a variety of industries, including healthcare, restaurant, retail, and IT/Engineering positions. While producing results, the programmatic results were consistently inferior to the campaigns we managed directly with pay-per-click (PPC) job boards. 

We don’t have a secret recipe for our success with managing sponsored job campaigns, but we do have decades of experience in the recruitment marketing industry, strong partnerships with the media, and a desire to ensure every client is getting the best ROI.  

We closely follow the changes within the industry to ensure we are getting the best traction. This might mean: 

  • Spending more per day for a shorter period of time 
  • Massaging the job title and content to reflect job seeker search behavior 
  • Recommending a change in platforms 

Indeed recently made a major change to their posting model. They disabled the ability for programmatic dashboards to replicate one posting into various job titles and job locations. This feature was used widely by programmatic platforms and was critical to their model. Prior to this change, programmatic had valuable advantages, but now two key advantages are gone: 

  • Multiple job requisitions ensured the job was available to various locations where you could hire  
  • Changing job titles allowed easy A/B testing by duplicating positions and simply altering the title to see which one drew in a larger audience  

Without this functionality, every posting is now working as it’s being represented within your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or manual posting. Performance can no longer be enhanced automatically.  

So how has this updated policy changed programmatic recruitment?

The answer is always in the data.  

Look at the direct comparison of the ROI we experienced managing a campaign directly with a job platform vs through a programmatic platform.  

The answer is always in the data


For both campaigns we:  

  • Sponsored similar positions 
  • Reviewed performance consistently 
  • Adjusted the campaigns to improve outcomes 

Why it matters. 

The cost-per-click (CPC) generated was lower than the PPC campaign we managed directly with the job board; however, that’s where the advantages stopped. The direct PPC campaign resulted in a higher volume of completed applications and hires at a reduced rate.  

Key Takeaways: 

  • Explore - test the programmatic recruitment marketing platforms directly or through your agency. Be sure to request a pilot program and do a comparison with your sponsored results from a PPC job board. 
  • Hold them accountable - meet weekly with the programmatic platform during the pilot to review results and ask why certain positions and locations are not receiving visibility and/or applications.
  • Track pricing - check to see that the CPC budget is competitive. If they are excited that the average CPC is $1.00, that’s not a great sign. Some positions require that you spend more to gain visibility with job seekers at peak search times.
  • Consult the experts - consult with an agency like Wicresoft for guidance. We provide free media result audits and provide you with recommendations on how to improve performance.  

The truth is, there is no universal right answer for recruitment marketing. Testing all available options is the best way to see what’s right for your team’s unique needs. When looking for your recruitment marketing method, remember, small changes to your direct spend can result in higher returns in the form of applicants and hires.