Recruitment Marketing

3 Steps to Create a Digital Job Advertising Strategy

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia

Learn 3 steps to improve your job advertising strategy from our virtual bootcamp with Leah Daniels, SVP, Strategy at Appcast, and Leigha Wanczowski, Employer Brand Manager at Covance.

3 Steps to Create a Digital Job Advertising Strategy
5 (100%) 7 votes

Today’s market is flooded with candidates, so you’re probably experiencing a surge in applications — but that doesn’t mean your talent attraction strategy should go on the defensive. Even in this employer-driven market, it can be tough to find qualified talent. Surprisingly, the cost of recruiting is up 60% this year!

Not only that, but with the uncertainty of the global pandemic, your recruitment budget is going to be under more scrutiny than before. So, when it comes to digital job advertising, your strategy needs to be on point so that your recruiting budget can stretch further.

Using paid social media and programmatic job advertising are effective ways to create a digital Recruitment Marketing strategy. Paid social media ads and programmatic job advertising can help you get in front of qualified candidates, build interest in passive talent and refine your messaging and content using insights from A/B testing.

In our recent virtual bootcamp we gained insights from Leah Daniels, SVP, Strategy at Appcast, and Leigha Wanczowski, Employer Brand Manager at Covance, on strategies to improve your job advertising efforts including: campaign planning, ROI calculations and where to get started. In this blog, we’re recapping the 3 steps to getting started, but you can tune in to the full virtual bootcamp on demand anytime to learn even more.

Meet the Experts

Leah Daniels, SVP, Strategy, Appcast

lead daniels, SVP of Strategy, Appcast

Leah Daniels is the SVP of Strategy at programmatic job posting platform, Appcast.

Since joining Appcast, Leah has helped employers, top recruitment ad agencies, job boards, RPOs, gig employers and staffing firms understand their data in the context of the job market to find ways to lower their overall cost of candidate acquisition through programmatic ad buying.

Leigha Wanczowski, Employer Brand Manager, Covance

leigha wanczowski

Leigha Wanczowski is the Employer Brand Manager at Covance.

Leigha manages employer branding for the Americas and is the Recruitment Marketing partner for their Americas and EMEA R&D departments and global corporate roles.

3 Steps to Create a Digital Job Advertising Strategy

1. Articulate your goals and assign accountability

One of the hardest things about creating a digital job advertising strategy (and talent acquisition strategy, for that matter) is knowing how to get from “A” to “B” — and most of the time, the hardest part is even stating what “B” is!

However, if you want to get buy-in from the business, you must know how to articulate your goals. Here are a few things to think about when creating goals for your social media ads and programmatic job advertising strategy:

Your goals should be specific and meaningful to the business — for example, saying “we need more candidates” is generic and might not make sense for your business partners since more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Do you need more candidates for certain roles? At a certain price point? By a certain date? Narrowing the scope will help you be more successful.

Your goals should be realistic under current conditions — we often hear goals like “I would like my cost per hire to be less than $1,000 per candidate,” but if your current cost per hire is $2,467 then your goal is probably unrealistic. Set yourself up for success by starting with goals that can be realistically achieved.

Your goals should be time-bound — it’s challenging to understand if you’re on track to hit your recruitment advertising goals if you haven’t given yourself a specific time frame, along with a few check-in points along the way.

Your goals should be flexible if conditions change — it’s 2020, things are always changing and flexibility is everything! It’s okay if your goals change, just continue to make sure they are measurable, realistic and timely.

Using these guidelines, here’s an example of a well-crafted recruiting goal:

By June 2021 we will:

  • Increase “apply to job” clicks by 20%
  • Lower our cost per interview to $150/per
  • Increase our apply rate to 6%
  • Shorten time-to-fill (TTF) by 30% on our hard-to-fill roles

Once you’ve set goals, identify who will be accountable for them because “if everyone owns it, no one owns it!” If this accountable person is you, make sure that you align success metrics based on goals. There are a lot of KPIs on the market that don’t actually correlate to success but rather activity. Once you have those KPIs identified, you’ll want to routinely track them to understand if you are on pace to reach your goals.

2. Choosing the right platforms

When creating a job advertising strategy, you’ll want to consider using a mix of social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and job boards (e.g. Indeed, Glassdoor, etc.) to increase the visibility of your job ads among potential candidates. With so many platforms out there, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. Here are a few things to think about when choosing your social media and job board channels.

Social media

We all use social media today in different ways for different purposes. Whether it’s the thought leadership opportunities on LinkedIn, keeping in touch with friends and family through Facebook, traveling the world (visually of course) on Instagram, getting bite-sized news from Twitter or learning just about anything in 5 minutes on YouTube, there are a lot of social media channels available to reach potential talent!

which social channels do you use?

With such varying purposes for each social platform, knowing your audience is going to be a key factor in determining which social media channels you should target to support your job advertising goals. To evaluate each channel, here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • How are my competitors using the channel?
  • Does my ad format work well on this platform?
  • How is my organic content performing on this channel?
  • Does this channel have the right audience demographics?

does the channel support your goals?

Rally note: Candidate personas are the perfect tool to help you identify your ideal candidate for key roles. Use our Candidate Persona Templates and Examples to get started.

If you’re new to using paid social media ads, Facebook is a great place to start as it is budget-friendly and the largest social media site. With over 2 billion active users every month (nearly a third of the world’s population!) you can bet at least some members of your target audience are hanging out here sometimes. In our digital job advertising bootcamp session, we get into the nitty gritty by walking you through a step-by-step process for setting up ads on this platform.

Programmatic job advertising

Similarly to social, there are tons of job boards out there for different audiences and purposes. Knowing which ones will work best for certain roles can be a challenge! That’s one of the benefits of using a programmatic job advertising platform — you don’t need to decide which job boards you’ll use because the platform uses AI and machine learning to do that for you.

With programmatic job advertising, your job ads are distributed to the spots where they’re performing best for each role — which includes major platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor or Indeed — but also includes niche job boards too. With this technology, you can ensure your recruitment ad spend is going to the right spot to land in front of the candidates you’re looking for. Plus, another benefit is that it eliminates the need for you to manually manage job board relationships, which can save you tons of time (which we all need right now!).

Which job boards do you choose?

3. Setting a Budget

If you’re like most people, setting the right budget is the scariest part of managing a job advertising program! If you often wonder, “what kind of budget should I really be setting for my job ads?” you’re probably not alone. And while we wish we could give you a magic number, as with most complex questions the answer can vary a lot!. However, we can share a few tips and tactics to make budgeting your digital ad campaigns a little less scary.

Work backwards — if you’re trying to drive applicants amongst a certain talent pool, think about your current cost per hire with that. How much spend can you justify to reach your goal using paid ads? Work backward with your existing quality and cost metrics to land on the right number.

Use your data — start with a cost-per-click (CPC) benchmark. How many clicks do you need to secure an application and how much are those clicks likely to cost based on your past data? You can apply this thinking to other metrics such as cost-per-engagement (COE), cost per lead or cost per interview.

Start small and test — regardless of your budget, start small and test strategies to increase employer brand awareness or drive specific candidates to your careers site before investing in a heavy-duty campaign.

economics of recruiting

Ultimately, your job advertising budget should be tied directly to your recruiting goals. Be specific about what you’re hoping to achieve in terms of number of applicants, hires, etc., and work backwards from there.

This is another spot where using a programmatic job advertising platform can be helpful too, as you can manage your costs by making necessary changes to job campaigns automatically and in real-time. For example, if a certain job reaches X number of applicants, you can program the software to stop putting additional budget behind that role, saving you money.

If you want more information to develop a smarter digital job advertising strategy, check out our on-demand virtual bootcamp. In this free bootcamp, we expand on everything covered here and provide examples of successful digital job advertising campaigns, including details on why they worked and the results achieved.

You’ll also get a funnel analytics worksheet to help you measure ROI along with other downloadable course materials to help you boost your digital job advertising results, without breaking your budget.


3 Steps to Create a Digital Job Advertising Strategy
5 (100%) 7 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

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