Job Board Journalist: A Whiter Smile With Good Measurement

Peter Weddle

Facebook got customer-slapped the other day. It wasn’t a pretty picture. It also holds a message for every job board, whether it offers performance- or duration-based recruitment advertising.

Facebook made almost all of its 2016 revenue – a whopping $27.6 billion – from advertising. Among its customers, Procter & Gamble was one of the biggest. The consumer products behemoth spent $2.4 billion all by itself on marketing last year, on Facebook and other places, making it the largest advertiser in the United States.

So, when P&G’s head of marketing got up in front of a conference held by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and told the digital ad industry to “grow up,” even Facebook paid attention. As described by The New York Times, the exec told the audience, “While technology has let advertisers ‘venture where no creative has gone before at lightning speed,’ it has too often led to bad advertising accompanied by even worse viewing experiences …”

Why did Facebook, in particular, heed this warning? In September of last year, it was forced to apologize for overstating video viewership. Its tools for measuring ads were not up the task, leading advertisers to pay for performance they simply didn’t get. As a consequence, the site announced last Friday that it would allow an outside audit of the information it provides to advertisers and give them more precise measurement data.

So, what does that have to do with job boards? Recruitment advertising is just as susceptible to bad measurement as advertising for Crest and Charmin.

The Declaration on Traffic Quality

Bad measurement can have many causes, but for the moment at least, the principal driver in recruitment advertising is not the issue that fired up Procter & Gamble. Its complaint was about inaccurate ad views. In recruitment advertising, the problem is inaccurate click measurement.

As I’ve discussed in previous JBJ posts, this problem is directly attributable to the scourge of bot clicks. Machine generated clicks have absolutely no value to an employer – they don’t represent an expression of interest on the part of a human candidate – and yet, without proper protocols in place, a publisher can inadvertently charge an advertiser for them.

Solving that problem is not a trivial exercise. Bot clicks hide among the legitimate candidate clicks and are not always easy to spot. Doing so, therefore, requires a site to institutionalize a set of practices that, while imperfect, represent the best way available today to whack the mole. Those practices have now been published in the TAtech Declaration on Traffic Quality.

Getting an accurate count, however, is just half the challenge. The other half is how a site’s performance measurement is reported to its customers. That’s the ultimate purpose of the Declaration. It’s a voluntary, self-reporting mechanism a site can use to inform employer-advertisers that it is making a good faith effort to provide an accurate count of candidate clicks and how it is doing so.

As the Procter & Gamble incident made clear, such transparency is essential to customer trust and ultimately their business. Let’s learn from our commercial advertising peers and get out ahead of the performance measurement challenge. Let’s make the Declaration on Traffic Quality an industry norm among all recruitment advertising publishers.

And then, let’s build on that foundation. The Declaration was developed by an international working group convened by TAtech, and that group continues its work to find new and better ways to ensure recruitment advertising brings a whiter smile to our customers. Join the group and help us refine and expand the solution.

Food for thought,

The Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle is brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2017 events include:
• April 22-23, 2017 Chicago: The TAtech Spring Congress & Deal Center, with The Business Accelerator for insights on your customers’ spending trends, practices and needs.
• May 17-19, 2017 Barcelona: RecTech, The TAtech Industry Congress in the EU in partnership with the AIM Group.
• NOTE CHANGE: May 31-June 1, 2017 Minneapolis: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying, featuring two tracks: Programmatic Ad Buying Applications & Programmatic Ad Buying Technology.
• September 27-29, 2017 Denver: The TAtech Fall Congress & Deal Center, with The World Job Board Forum and the 2017 ReSI Awards Gala.


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