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Measuring Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing: Essentials to Tracking

Measuring Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing: Essentials to Tracking
Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia

When competing with other employers for talent, tracking the right data is your way to stand out. Learn what it means to track as a recruitment marketer and how to start today.

Measuring Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing: Essentials to Tracking
5 (100%) 2 votes

Despite the growing importance of employer branding and Recruitment Marketing in attracting talent to your workplace, our field still suffers from a massive knowledge gap at all levels, especially when it comes to knowing how to measure employer branding.

Because of this, many practitioners are attempting to stand up programs at their organizations with little-to-no knowledge or guidance on how to do it, making it impossible to know which strategies, channels and messaging to use in their content to attract and engage talent.

Fortunately, leading us out of this information dead zone is data! By tracking the right metrics, you can save yourself precious money, time and stress by constantly honing in on what works to attract talent to your employer brand — and dropping what’s not. You can also use this data to show the impact your work is having on larger recruitment goals and prove your value.

With high expectations and limited time and budget to meet them, we need every edge we can get to make our Recruitment Marketing strategies successful. Continue reading to learn why tracking is key!

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Rally note: For an even deeper dive into successful Recruitment Marketing tracking, watch our free on-demand webinar, Track Your Way to Recruitment Marketing Success.

The definition of Recruitment Marketing analytics tracking

Boiled down, to track is to use a framework or tool to understand the reactions to your actions — to be able to factually state: “When I did X, Y happened”.

As recruitment marketers, we have tracking nailed down for one aspect of our role: advertising jobs. When advertising jobs, you have a million different job advertising platforms (i.e. Facebook ads, Google ads and programmatic platforms) that automatically track and report on metrics like number of qualified job applicants, CPA and CPC — all of which clearly let you know if you’re making progress. 

But when it comes to attracting talent to our employers — the other aspect of Recruitment Marketing — tracking and knowing how to measure employer branding is less established.

In other words, the connection between a job ad and the number of applicants it produces is direct; the connection between an employee story blog and the number of applications it produces, while just as strong, isn’t as clear. With the right tracking, you can actually show the results of your efforts.

Indicators of Recruitment Marketing progress you need to be tracking

Indicators that let you know if you’re attracting more or fewer people to your employer brand include:

  • Number of people in your talent audience reached by your employer brand and jobs (i.e. subscribers in your talent network and followers on social media), and number of leads in your talent database
  • Engagement rate of your content (i.e. likes, comments and shares) designed to attract and influence candidates
  • Employer review ratings (i.e. Glassdoor reviews) and candidate experience scores (i.e. automated survey at the end of an interview)

Don’t worry about getting a grasp of all of these at once! Start first by asking yourself: What do I want to know? Also: What do my leaders want to know? 

For years, Recruitment Marketing and employer branding were measured using the same metrics used to show the effectiveness of talent acquisition. This does not show a full picture of what we do. So to start to move your strategy forward and be measured for the impact you’re having, it’s important to get the support of managers and other stakeholders. To get this support, research the pain points and goals of your stakeholders and explain how your strategy will help them and how you’ll use data and metrics to measure its effectiveness.

Consider using the S.M.A.R.T approach when asking stakeholders for support.

For example, you can explain that by tracking engagement on social media, you can learn what kind of creative and messaging resonates with your talent audience, which you use to optimize job ads to attract more candidates to a struggling job field at your company.

Rally note: For help presenting your strategy to stakeholders in a way they can understand and get behind, download our free Recruitment Marketing Measurement Kit

How to measure employer branding and Recruitment Marketing with clicks

Goals may look different, but the desired end result is the same: we want candidates to take action, whether that’s to view a job in our newsletter, read a blog shared on social media, check out a new company update on Glassdoor or do something else.

Nothing more clearly tells us when a candidate takes an action than a click. Clicks are a universal metric across most social and digital strategies; everyone, from your team members to your stakeholders, can understand them as a way of measuring candidate interest, engagement and the effectiveness of your tactics.

Now, how do you actually track clicks on your links?

Traditional link tracking with UTMs

Most traditional link tracking is done with Urchin Tracking Modules (UTMs), created using a free tool like Google’s Campaign URL Builder, which append additional information to URLs, including source, medium, term, content, and campaign.

Rally note: Stay tuned for even more information dedicated entirely to UTMs!

Basically, this additional information helps you answer the following 3 questions: 

  • Where is my traffic coming from?
  • How is it getting to me?
  • Why is it coming to me?

But to be able to access this information, it first needs to be prepared in a report through a tool like Google Analytics (GA). The good news is that creating a GA account is free and provides a very deep dive into how people are finding and interacting with your sites, including:

  • Keywords they searched for on Google that led them to you
  • Links they clicked
  • URLs they typed directly into their browser
  • What pages they visited (and how many pages they visited)
  • How long they stayed

An example of a Google Analytics dashboard.

But for tracking specifically Recruitment Marketing efforts, Google Analytics doesn’t give you all the information you need.

The challenges of Recruitment Marketing tracking with UTMs

As informative as GA can be, there are some challenges to using the platform. For one, it can be challenging to properly set up, as you have to add a piece of code called a global site tag to the backend of each site you want GA to track. 

This can add additional challenges for recruitment marketers, as careers sites often have multiple systems generating pages. For example, your ATS might generate job pages, your Recruitment Marketing platform might generate the pages that host content about employee stories and company culture and your CRM might host pages for event registration. For tracking visibility into all of these sites, you’ll need to add a global site tag to all of them separately, and that’s not always possible. 

But by far the biggest challenge to using the traditional UTM and GA setup is that it only allows you to track visitors to websites you own

Analysis from Rally Inside over the past year found that only 57% of tracking links go to careers sites, with almost half of content that practitioners are using to attract and engage talent going to some other website that they don’t own — and can’t be tracked through UTMs.

Additionally, looking at one year’s worth of tracked social media posts, Rally Inside also found that 50% of LinkedIn and Facebook posts don’t have links, and 30% of RM links don’t have clicks.

All of this is to say that UTMs are only tracking content with links that get clicks. While we want to know what is getting clicks, knowing what isn’t getting clicks, as well as what content is getting engagement in ways other than link clicks (i.e. Likes or comments) teaches us just as much about how to direct our content strategy. 

The better way to track your Recruitment Marketing strategy — and what you can learn from it

With these challenges in mind, a more helpful approach to Recruitment Marketing tracking is one where you track:

  • links with clicks
  • links with no clicks
  • content with no links

You also want to add much more context around the links you’re creating than what’s possible with UTMs alone; to make tracking them for Recruitment Marketing purposes easier, you also need to be able to add the following information:

  • What’s the destination are you sending people to
  • Who created this piece of content? Where or how are you sharing this content? 
  • What is this link about? Which candidate persona is this content intended for
  • What’s the creative that’s being used (i.e. images or specific messaging)

By monitoring this type of information  through your tracking, you gain access to a wealth of information you can use to constantly improve your Recruitment Marketing strategy over time, answering questions like:

  • Does your talent audience engage more with stories about your employees or content about helping them progress their careers?
  • Are blogs, emails or social posts authored by employees better received by your talent audience than content authored by your CEO or high-level managers?
  • Does your talent audience respond to more direct messaging (i.e. necessary information, clear CTAs and no intro or outro) or do they prefer a warmer, more casual tone (i.e. “Hey talent community!”)?
  • Do big bold words and imagery with faces produce more engagement or does your talent audience prefer a more muted, technical aesthetic?
  • Do job ads get more clicks when placed at the top of your newsletter or at the bottom? Or somewhere in between? The same goes for CTAs in your landing pages and other content. 
  • Do you get the most engagement from LinkedIn, Tiktok, Twitter or somewhere else? Where should you be posting most? How does your content need to be changed to cater to each channel?
  • Are social posts better received in the mornings? What days are best to post? How often should you send your talent newsletter for the most email opens?

Other than helping to improve your strategy, the best part about this level of tracking (which is possible with a tool like Rally Inside) is that you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re sending people to a site that you own. Owned domain or not, you can still see how many clicks your links are getting. 

This opens up all kinds of opportunities! You can send candidates to your corporate socials, personal socials of employee advocates, survey sites, news articles, employer review sites and anywhere else they can learn about your employer brand — and you can keep track of all of it. 

Similar to what we’ll cover in the section below, you can then keep track of other metrics on these external sites (i.e. number of employee reviews on Glassdoor) and correlate them with the number of clicks you’re getting on your links. 

This all allows you to go to your stakeholders and say: “Look at how many visits this employee story drove to our Glassdoor profile this month and look at how many more reviews we received compared to last month — when we weren’t posting employee stories. We need to double down on employee story content if we want to continue to improve our employer reputation, which will help us attract more, higher-quality candidates”.

Prove how your Recruitment Marketing efforts are directly impacting recruitment

Finally, when you know how to track employer branding and Recruitment Marketing in this way, you can begin to prove the impact you’re having on actual recruitment taking place at your company. 

All of the content, jobs and other destinations you’re sending candidates is having an effect on applications; you just need to be able to show it. When you compare engagement with your content and applicant flow in your ATS, can you make any connections? For example, if there is an influx in engagement with your content during May, can you tie that engagement back to a higher applicant flow in your ATS during May?

An example of a positive connection between the engagement you’re driving and the applications your company is receiving.

Simply being able to visually prove through clicks that what you’re doing is having an impact on applicant flow can go a long way. It demonstrates the impact your work is having on making candidates aware of your company and want to work for you in the first place, beyond just applying for a job. 

One challenge you may face in making this connection is gaining access to your ATS in the first place. If you experience this, read this article for advice on how to communicate the scope of Recruitment Marketing work, how it benefits the company and what you need to do your best work — starting with access to your ATS.

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Hopefully, you now have a clearer idea of what Recruitment Marketing tracking is and how to apply it to your strategy to optimize your campaigns and content, attract more talent and prove your impact to leadership. Don’t let the learning stop here, though! Equip yourself with even more tracking expertise by watching our full on-demand webinar on the topic, Track Your Way to Recruitment Marketing Success.

Measuring Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing: Essentials to Tracking
5 (100%) 2 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

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