Revolutionizing Recruitment Advertising and Technology: All You Need to Know About RecTech 2017

Revolutionizing Recruitment Advertising and Technology: All You Need to Know About RecTech 2017 [source: http://bit.ly/2lh6lGZ]

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” – William Gibson

RecTech 2017: Insights from the Programmatic Ad Buying Summit

In May 2017 TAtech invited recruitment practitioners and innovators to the RecTech Conference in Barcelona.

The conference was held to address some of the main challenges and opportunities of the rectech ecosystem:

Opportunities and challenges of programmatic recruitment [source: Peter Weddle at RecTech 2017]
Opportunities and challenges of programmatic recruitment [source: Peter Weddle at RecTech 2017]
Participants of the conference discussed implications of the current state of affairs and talked about future outlooks for recruitment technology as a whole. Find all presentations here.

This article will give you an overview of the Programmatic Ad Buying Summit and focus on the following:

  • Upcoming competition in recruitment technology
  • Market adoption of programmatic recruitment
  • Trends among ad traffic providers
  • Trends among recruitment ad buyers
  • Outlook for the rectech ecosystem

Recruitment Technology Market: Change Through Innovation and New Entrants

“We – as an industry – have competitive times ahead.” – Most attendees at RecTech 2017

Most speakers at the conference mentioned that recruitment advertising lags behind the broader development of adtech by 3-5 years. With this in mind it seems likely that the recruitment technology market will see even more competition in the coming months through innovative incumbents and new market entrants.

One of the frequently quoted research papers was the Recruiting Trends Results 2016. It was interesting to see that at the time of the research neither ‘Google Jobs’ nor Programmatic Recruitment Advertising were seen as push factors for organizational change.

Perceived threats to recruitment publishers [own figure based on: http://bit.ly/2qdt2hF]
Perceived threats to recruitment publishers [own figure based on: http://bit.ly/2qdt2hF]
It can be expected that companies like Facebook and Google will push stronger into the recruitment/HR market as it gives access to B2B customers and extensive volumes of data.

“I’m personally enthusiastic for this initiative because it addresses an important need and taps our core capabilities as a company from searching and organizing information to A.I. and machine learning.” – Sundar Pichai (CEO, Google) about ‘Google Jobs’

Besides large players, the recruitment ecosystem is seeing a steady change through adapting incumbents (job boards adding programmatic capabilities) and new entrants introducing programmatic technology via recruitment platforms.


Trend Line: Performance First, Programmatic Follows

Job advertising has evolved over the past years. Similar to regular adtech, recruitment advertising is currently experiencing a pricing shift from fixed-price models (pay-per-post; etc.) to performance-based models (cost-per-click; cost-per-applicant; etc.). This shift goes hand-in-hand with increased transparency and allows ad buyers to optimize their recruitment campaigns much more frequently on a granular level (1 click vs. ‘30-day job posting’). Performance marketing is the basis for programmatic.

Performance is here and programmatic follows [source: Josh Gampel at RecTech 2017]
Performance is here and programmatic follows [source: Josh Gampel at RecTech 2017]

Supply Trends: Increased Transparency Leads to More Efficient Ad Buying

Performance-Based Billing

In the past, publishers (job portals; lead-gen providers; etc.) have used a simple but inefficient pricing model: pay-per-post. There are still many countries where pay-per-post is the industry standard but progressive publishers – particularly in the US – have started to embrace performance-based billing.

Traffic Quality Standards

Service and product quality improve as a result of market maturity. An example in recruitment advertising is TAtech’s Traffic Quality Declaration, whereby publishers agree to a voluntary evaluation along these three aspects:

  • Human vs. non-human traffic – Clicks with blacklisted IP addresses are filtered out for invoicing (e.g. suspicious click patterns are detected and marked as ‘fraudulent bot clicks’)
  • Geographic relevance – Only billing clicks within the campaign geography (e.g. user clicks on a US job ad from Germany > publisher does not count the click because user is outside of target geo)
  • Frequency capping and de-duplication – Only billing one click per user session (e.g. job seeker clicks on job ad 10 times within 2 minutes > publisher only attributes 1 click)

Traffic Transparency

Traffic transparency helps to optimize ad buying and campaign placement. Ad buyers should analyze the various traffic sources (publishers and sub-publishers) and compare their relative performance (e.g. cost; clicks; applies; hires; etc.). While additional insights help improving campaign performance it can also lead to unnecessary information overload.

The most important metrics for an employer are cost-per-hire (CPH) and the quality of the hire. Beyond these numbers, employers can reduce the complexity via working with recruitment platforms, which handle all the traffic analysis and optimization on their behalf.

Traffic transparency is only important to the active ad buyer [own figure]
Traffic transparency is only important to the active ad buyer [own figure]

Programmatic as Revenue Pillar

In the short-term, most publishers at RecTech 2017 saw programmatic recruitment ads (display and job posting) as a complementary revenue pillar next to their core business. In the long run, most agree that programmatic job ads will be the main revenue driver for their business success.

Programmatic ads are a core pillar of future product development [own figure based on: http://bit.ly/2qdt2hF]
Programmatic ads are a core pillar of future product development [own figure based on: http://bit.ly/2qdt2hF]

Demand Trends: More Data Leads to More Effective Ad Buying

Data-informed Decision Making

Data applications are transforming the recruitment industry. Many organizations are using the increased volume data points across their processes to generate insights and turn those into actionable strategies for success. Particularly in recruitment marketing data can be used to evaluate ad buying effectiveness (number of clicks; number of applicants; number of hires) and efficiency (cost-per-click; cost-per-applicant; cost-per-hire).

Going beyond campaign metrics, organizations have the possibility to use data insights for improving core processes (landing pages; application funnel; etc).
Another talking point was that useful data frameworks can not be easily transferred from other use cases like dating. eHarmony’s Elevated Careers failed to use their data graph from dating and apply it to the recruitment. This shows that data models for job search need to be created with the specific context in mind.

Analytics Infrastructure for Recruitment

Organizations need to set up an analytics infrastructure to capture all data points. The easiest way to access all relevant information is to partner with an integrated recruitment platform, which combines distribution and analytics capabilities for the entire recruitment process.

Mobile Is Eating Recruitment

After software, mobile is eating the world in most industries now. Many organizations at the RecTech 2017 have shared their first-hand experience with growth through mobile. Job seekers are looking for jobs primarily on their hand-held devices and many marketplace models have been developed as mobile-first applications.

It is important for organizations to make use of best practices for their mobile strategies as the market is shifting more and more into this direction.

Recruitment Beyond Job Boards

Sophisticated employers are targeting active and passive job seekers across the entire web. Active job seekers can be primarily reached via job boards and other related ad formats (email alert; text; etc). Passive job seekers can be targeted via ad formats on the open ad exchange (display; video; etc).

Perengo - Day of a Job Seeker [source: own infographic]
Perengo – Day of a Job Seeker [source: own infographic]

Bottomline: Both Sides of the Market Are Moving Towards Programmatic

RecTech 2017 was a good opportunity to understand the state of recruitment technology today and see what lies ahead. The most important takeaways can be summarized as follows:

  • Improved infrastructure on supply side – Publishers and traffic providers are improving pricing models and quality standards to build a foundation for performance marketing and programmatic recruitment.
  • Increased sophistication on demand side – Ad buyers are increasingly using data models to improve recruitment results across job boards and other media channels.
  • Recruitment marketplace improving for all participants – With increased transparency and automation, ad buyers and sellers in the recruitment ecosystem are moving towards a more effective and efficient market equilibrium.

Progress in the rectech ecosystem is trending in the right direction but there is still a lot of market education that needs to be done.

Programmatic recruitment addresses main client goals [own figure based on: http://bit.ly/2qdt2hF]
Programmatic recruitment addresses main client goals [own figure based on: http://bit.ly/2qdt2hF]
Events like RecTech are a great starting point for improving market knowledge. Now it is the responsibility of all market participants to help their clients understand the benefits of programmatic recruitment.

We are sharing all insights along our journey as a programmatic recruitment platform.

Upwards. Onwards. 🚀


If you have insights and opinions on this topic please share your thoughts.

Thanks, Team Perengo


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Perengo is a programmatic recruitment platform.

High-growth businesses and Fortune 500 companies use Perengo to solve their recruitment challenges at scale. The platform provides tools for operational recruitment automation and strategic business intelligence.

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