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Key takeaways:

  • Going direct for programmatic ads is becoming more popular as agency costs continue to rise. It can save money by allowing talent leaders to negotiate rates directly with publishers or platforms.
  • Clear hiring goals are important for optimizing programmatic ad campaigns, improving performance, and making data-driven decisions about where to allocate the advertising budget.
  • International programmatic ads are still challenging due to a lack of connection with niche job boards and a difficulty finding enough partner support in all the countries served, but localizing ad content and using local job boards can be effective.

Programmatic advertising has revolutionized the world of talent marketing by making it easier and more efficient to reach qualified candidates. And with costs continuing to rise for agencies, talent marketing leaders are considering going direct for programmatic ads.

In a recent Talent Marketing Board members-only discussion, senior employer branding and recruitment marketing leaders shared how they’re addressing the future of programmatic ads.

Agency Dependence is Dropping

Several members reported they are going direct for programmatic ads, avoiding third party agencies for job postings and using programmatic technology directly to improve their efforts. Many leaders reported they’re doing so because agencies tend to offer less transparency and control over job ads.

Speaking of the lack of transparency, some talent leaders expressed concerns around the fees that agencies charge and the quality of the ad placements. In a GourmetAds article, it was highlighted how programmatic ad systems with less oversight can create inappropriate results. Notably, your ads could end up on websites promoting offensive content harmful to your brand reputation.

While some members still vouched for their relationships with agencies like Bayard and Radancy, a majority of members are choosing to go direct.

For those looking to continue support from agencies, Appcast and PandoLogic were named as top vendors for their responsive representatives and easy-to-use systems.

Going Direct for Programmatic Ads Can Save You Money — But Can Increase the Need for In-House Management

A few members claimed agency markups could cost an extra six figures on large buys. While it was noted going direct requires more in-house management, even those with smaller teams are choosing this route to help reduce costs.

The biggest savings, of course, come from cutting out the vendor fees. By going direct, you can negotiate rates directly with publishers or platforms and potentially avoid any extra fees.

But members shared that although this can reduce spending, it requires more time because of the negotiation process. Other downsides include less bandwidth for smaller teams who have to manage their programmatic ads directly without the help of agencies.

Clear Hiring Goals Can Improve Your Programmatic Ad Efforts

Talent Marketing Board members are still trying to figure out programmatic’s role in some hard-to-fill, specialized, and remote jobs.

Some reported low applicant flow, which might be due to their agencies underestimating the challenge of filling particular roles. One member overcame this issue by clarifying data around hiring goals and opening communication about adjusting budgets.

By being clear on hiring goals, whether through agencies or going direct, talent leaders can use data to optimize their campaigns and improve performance over time. For example, they can adjust their targeting, ad creative, or bid strategy based on which ads are generating the most clicks or conversions.

These specific goals can also help track the number of applications or resumes you receive, the quality of the candidates who apply, and the cost per hire. This allows talent leaders to make data-driven decisions around advertising budgets and how to improve campaigns over time.

Low Confidence in International Programmatic Ads

During the confidential discussion, Talent Marketing Board members said they are trying to find better results from regions outside of North America.

One member pointed out many niche job boards, which would be crucial to find specialized talent, simply aren’t connected to some programmatic networks. This disconnect might be the reason for the low confidence in international programmatic ads.

Limited Support Outside the U.S. has Caused Concerns with Programmatic Ads

In another members-only discussion on using programmatic ads for international candidates, talent leaders said it’s difficult to find enough partner support in all the countries they serve, and too often programmatic advertising is managed through U.S.-based agencies.

But there are a few steps you can take to improve international ads. Localizing ad content to reflect local languages, cultural norms, and job market trends can be helpful. This can include translating ad copy into local languages and highlighting specific benefits or job requirements that are relevant to local candidates.

Using local job boards can be effective as well. In some countries or regions, local job boards or social media platforms may be more effective than global platforms like LinkedIn or Indeed. As a talent leader, you can research the most popular platforms in your target countries and use programmatic advertising to reach job candidates on those platforms.

Benchmark with Talent Leaders to Learn How to Manage Programmatic Ads

Programmatic advertising has brought significant changes to talent marketing and has helped make the process of reaching potential candidates more efficient. As agency dependence evolves in response to high costs, many talent leaders are choosing to go direct.

If you lead employer branding and recruitment marketing at a large organization, you can apply to join your peers in the Talent Marketing Board to benchmark the best strategies for using programmatic ads, and stay ahead of evolving trends in the space.

Learn how your peers are addressing the future of programmatic advertising in our community.

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