A few days ago I joined a very interesting discussion on the Recruitment Futurology group on LinkedIn. The question was whether you could really measure job board traffic and which set of statistics should you use and trust when comparing media. What made this discussion particularly interesting is that the contributors came from all sides of the recruitment advertising divide: job boards, recruitment advertising agencies, aggregators, consultants as well as direct resourcers. They included among many others Felix Wetzel from Jobsite, Nick Goldstein from Totaljobs, Alex Hens from 3DMarcomms, Charles Fiddes Payne from Mr Ted, Keith Robinson from Career Site Advisor and Andrew Groves, Head of Resourcing at Yell.
Some time ago I wrote a post on this blog about this very question, and the answer hasn’t changed much since then. As and advertising agency we look at all the stats available, and pay particular attention at the independent stats such as ABCe, Hitwise, Comscore etc. As a media buyer my recommendation (and in my job I get asked this very question every day) is also influenced by my past experience of working with a particular job board. How successful have past campaigns been and has the job board delivered not only applications for my clients, but hires.
Wherever possible (and unfortunately this is largerly subject to limitations posed by ATSs) we also track our campaigns using tools such as Google Analytics. By setting up relevant tags and goals we are able to compare Applicant behaviour as well as application success rate without relying on the dreaded drop-down menu. And by tagging each application with the relevant source tag we are also able to track where the successful hires come from, giving us invaluable insight on where quality applications come from, wherever that may be.
You probably have guessed by now that we love our stats here at Lighthouse. For this post we look at another update from Hitwise, this time comparing the traffic that the four top commercial generalist job boards received for the whole of 2009 (11 months to Jan ‘10). While the top 2 generalist job boards Reed and Totaljobs fight it out at the top with Reed pipping Totaljobs for the crown of most visited job board for the year, it is left to Jobsite to try and claw back some traffic thanks to their January TV advertising campaign. This is a repeat of their Jan ‘09 campaign (note the two spikes), with the difference this time that the upsurge in visits has been higher. Can they keep it up for thr rest of the year?
‘So what is RSS?’ a client asked recently, and partly inspired by fellow blogger Andy Headworth’s excellent post on the subject, here is the answer: RSS – which stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’ – is a technology that enables anyone who publishes content such as news websites to distribute that content using a standard format. It is mainly used by millions of web users to keep track of their favourite websites in a quick and easy way. By using an RSS ‘reader’ such as Google Reader or FeedDemon, all the content published by the websites they choose to follow is grabbed and aggregated in one easy viewing panel. It works much like an email inbox, removing the need to waste time visiting the actual websites and then search and filter for the relevant information.
Websites that publish information feeds display an orange icon. By clicking on the button and using the feed reader of your choice, you will subscribe to that feed. Most of the time your reader will do the work for you, but sometimes you will need to copy and paste the link associated with the button directly into your RSS reader.
RSS feeds have become even more important in recent times with the advent of social media. Since RSS technology’s primary function is to distribute content, whatever that content may be, it has really come into its own with social media which is, by its very definition, all about creating, sharing and distributing content. Any type of content can be distributed through a feed, not just news items but also blog posts, status updates, even job details. You can automatically post extracts of your blog on to Twitter by using Twitter Updater and your Twitter posts on to Facebook by using Selective Tweets. You can update your LinkedIn status by posting on Twitter using the #in hashtag and push your favourite feeds on to your Facebook profile using Blog RSS Feed Reader.
Where RSS technology can really help in-house recruiters is with the automatic distribution of jobs onto various social and media platforms. Can your ATS, website CMS or job posting tool provide you with a feed of your jobs? Then with a little customisation and integration you too can automatically feed your jobs on to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and job board aggregators such as Indeed and SimplyHired.
A little thought should be given to how each platform works, as users - tpically prospective applicants – should be engaged differently on each medium and communicated to in different formats. It’s a little more complicated than simply assuming that Twitter is a broadcasting medium and that integrating a feed from your website is all that needs to be done. Users on Facebook may get annoyed by the use of Twitter-specific jargon (hashtags, RTs, etc), and while you are limited to 140 characters in Twitter, you don’t face the same limits on Facebook.
Whatever you do, remember to tag and track your feeds with your preferred analytics software as at the very least you will want to know if your feeds are generating traffic, and if that traffic is converting into applications.
Is an online job-seeker more likely to use Monster than a local media website? Glad you asked. A new survey conducted on behalf of the Newspaper Society reveals that local media websites are nearly five times more popular (39%) as the first port of call for online job-seekers than Monster (8%) – identified as the most popular pure-play recruitment site.
And it seems that nearly twice as many respondents (33%) turn to local media rather than the second most popular source, Jobcentre Plus (18%).
All of which begs the question: Why? The Newspaper Society’s marketing director Robert Ray suggests that “These findings provide compelling evidence that, particularly in the public sector, local media’s unique connection with audiences cannot be replicated by online portals or pure-play websites.”
Perhaps. But having an organisation argue strongly for the superiority of its own offering – however statistically plausible – tends to obscure a larger truth. The plethora of recruitment marketing options – job boards, print media, radio, employee referrals, social media - means that the most effective recruitment strategies increasingly tend to involve a combination of options rather than just one or even two.
The move from traditional marketing to digital marketing has in turn evolved into what Econsultancy calls (accurately if somewhat predictably) Joined-up Marketing. Our own experience shows that online and offline channels often work best when used together. Equally, harnessing the power of ‘word of mouth’ can no longer be confined to standard media, PR and employee referral techniques when faced with the enormous potential of social media, described by one pundit as ‘word of mouth on steroids’.
Things, as they say, will never be the same again. Welcome to the brave new world of convergence…
It all started 100 years ago today, when 62 labour exchanges were first introduced on 1 February, 1910. Then, children left school at 12 and domestic service was the most common occupation. Jobs for a piano regulator and a picture frame gilder were among those advertised in London on the first day.
One hundred years on, and what used to be called the labour exchange has now been transformed into Jobcentre Plus, and the way we search for our next job has been radically transformed. According to Noras, 69% of us have applied for a job on the internet, with 26% actually finding employment as a result. And if you are an employer? You can post jobs for free on the Jobcentre plus website.
A far cry from the days when women and men entered the labour exchanges through separate entrances, the skilled and unskilled were kept apart and “juveniles” as young as 11 queued for work.
‘Jobs’ is now the tenth most searched-for keyword in Google, and research shows that jobseekers traditionally begin their job search by using a search engine such as Google. By optimizing your website and featuring high in the organic search results for your chosen keywords you are likely to benefit from decreased dependency on job boards, as well as enhanced employer branding and increased response.
According to Google keyword reports, candidates mainly search for jobs by location and / or job title nearly 85% of the time – against employers by name only 15% of the time. So while jobseekers will find you if they search ‘(your company name) careers’, they might not find you if they search for ‘dog grooming jobs Aberdeen’. Because Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) block Google from finding any vacancy specific content, they actually keep jobs hidden from candidates searching for jobs. This might be for a number of different reasons: because jobs are hidden behind a keyword search tool in a drop-down menu or because job search and results pages are displayed in ‘frames’.
By setting up an RSS jobs feed we can use it to generate ‘static’ listing pages which can then be ‘indexed’ by Google, so that those listings can then in turn be presented within Google searches, much like the listings from any other job board such as Totaljobs or Monster (in fact there are a number of Amercan technology providers that actually specialise in doing just that). Not only that, but by integrating a source of new and regularly updated content – the listings – within the main recruitment website, we will also increase the relevancy of the site itself, as one of the key factors of how high Google ranks a website is the ‘freshness’ of its content.
If you’re not, you should be. You have finally given up and listened to all the consultants that are banging on about social media and you set up your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts. You have got them all working, have thousands of followers and you are spending 10 hours a day keeping everything updated.
But are you really sure that you know what conversations are now taking place that mention your company? What are they saying? And more to the point, how do you find out? Over the years here at Lighthouse we have learnt that listening is as important as talking, and our Online and Social Media Monitoring reports do just that:
• We track and report what’s being said about you across millions of blogs, forums and discussion sites.
• We record the sentiment of what’s being said (negative / positive).
• We tell you what is your ‘share of voice’ in the market place.
• We identify the main influencers of your brand – and the key channels they’re using.
Our reports come with clear analytics, and more importantly with actionable insights and practical evidence-based recommendations for enhancing your online profile and influencing the social media conversation to your benefit. Are you listening?
Social media is big. But how big? According to a Nielsen report commissioned by New Media Age in September we spent 11.1bn minutes on the 75 most popular social media sites – an increase of 83% on the previous year. And the most visited site? You guessed it: Facebook. But what is staggering is that just under 23 million users have used the site in September, with YouTube trailing far behind with ‘only’ 16.25 million unique users. Facebook in fact accounts for three quarters of all time spent on the top 75 social media sites. Nielsen also estimates that the average user of Facebook will have spent more than 70 hours on the site during the last 12 months. Now for the interesting numbers: Facebook’s greatest increase in audience numbers came from people in households that earn an average of £30,000 – £50,000, and that are aged between 35 and 49. And the only demographic group that has increased its numbers on all three main social networking sites Myspace, Bebo and Facebook? men aged over 65.
An email sent to a database of opt-in subscribers looking for a particular job in a particular location paying a particular salary is one of the most successful recruitment tools at your disposal. But do you take time in measuring how successful your email campaigns really are? And what if you wanted to broaden your horizons (and in turn increase your hire success rate) and start targeting subscribers that are looking for a job in adjacent locations to where you job is based, or that are maybe looking for a job in a separate but related industry? Would you be able to find out what worked and what didn’t?
Here at Lighthouse we have had great success with our email campaigns, thanks to the tools at our disposal that let us track not only open and click rates (the staple metrics of any email campaign), but also once they have clicked, how those users behave once they reach the target website. Do they stay for one page only? (fail) Do they browse other vacancies? Do they perform a vacancy search or do they even actually apply? (result!).
By centralising and keeping a record of all our email statistics over time, as well as performing some nifty A/B testing, we are also able to analyse in-depth when are the best days to send an email, what are the best subject lines to use and which design works best. If the job is based in Watford, is it better to target jobseekers in Harrow than the ones in St Albans? A/B testing can tell us that, as well as which target areas, and sector of users, will be more likely to provide us with the required application numbers.
One of the most important factors that we usually test for is subject lines, as it’s really connected to the most important metric of all: the open rate. The subject line is in fact the key factor in the recipient deciding whether or not to open the email.
Not very often I admit, but sometimes we do get asked by the clients and media we work with how do we decide which media to include in a schedule? Which media do we recommend and why? The are several tools we use to determine the suitability of a particular website to the role/s we have been tasked to advertise.
Some are based on hard facts and rules: which niche websites serve that particular business sector? Have we advertised similar roles before and which media did we use at the time – and more importantly was it successful? (this is where access to analytics come into play). Is the audience for the website we are considering using certified (even more useful if there is more than one website competing in the same sector). How many jobs are currently posted and are there any that share the same title with the ones we need to advertise? (sometimes this is not an accurate indicator as job titles can differ between organisations, although they share the same attributes).
Some are based on personal experience: is the website easy to use for Applicants – can jobs be found easily, how easy is it to search and how releant the search results are? Is it easy to use for Recruiters – how easy is it to post jobs? (this is where our day-to-day dealings with several websites as well as our experience comes into play…)
And lastly, the most burning question of all, does it represent value for money? Because even though a website might boast double the traffic than it’s nearest competitor, but its fees are treble than its competitor, is it really worth the extra cost?
Lighthouse Adcomms is a full-service recruitment marketing and advertising agency and Lighthouse Insight is our blog. What do we do? quite simply, we help employers find – and keep – the people they need, by delivering a comprehensive and carefully coordinated range of specialist services designed to support each client’s recruitment and retention objectives. That starts with effective recruitment advertising, both online and offline. But we also work closely with clients to build influential employer brands, improve internal communication, harness the power of social networking technologies and generate relevant collateral marketing materials.