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Did someone mention Indeed, Google and an anti-competitive lawsuit?

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The UK launch of Google for Jobs last year made some waves in the recruitment industry. Whilst the majority of job boards welcomed the new tool and integrated their job adverts, Indeed bucked the trend by choosing not to team up with Google – but was this a risky move, or a cunning plan?

When you consider that the majority of Indeed’s budget goes on Google advertising, it makes you wonder whether this decision was Indeed’s or Google’s. We’re not saying that Google’s the bad guy here, but if Google for Jobs eventually goes over to a pay-per-click model then this makes things a whole lot messier.

This move would put Google for Jobs in direct competition with Indeed’s sponsored adverts, meaning that both parties would be bidding on, and paying for, ad space on Google’s search engine.

Whilst I would hope that Google plays fairly, with 2017 seeing the tech giant slammed with a record fine for anti-competitive practices after promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results, it begs the question – will I see a repeat performance with Google favouring its own adverts over the competition?

Doing things differently

Indeed are one of the few job boards that offer an alternative to fixed price job board credits. Launched back in 2006, their PPC (pay-per-click) model was the first of its kind for job advertising. These adverts appear higher above other search results, making them more visible to candidates.

Their sponsored ads work on a performance-based pricing model; instead of paying for a set amount of credits, clients set a monthly budget and are only charged when someone clicks on their advert – meaning that they only pay when they get results.

Indeed’s PPC option offers a strong proposition for clients who want a more flexible approach, and is undoubtedly one of the key factors in their decision not to integrate with Google for Jobs. But if it’s such a great idea, why aren’t other job boards leaping on the opportunity and offering PPC too?

Fixed credits vs. Flexibility

Fixed job board credits are often the preferred option for HR because they make budgeting easy – if you’ve done your workforce planning, you know roughly how many roles you’ll be hiring for and can negotiate a fixed rate for job board credits at the beginning of the year, knowing that this won’t change.

Whilst the PPC model has many advantages, it can cause a bit of a headache for HR professionals who favour consistency – with PPC, there is no guarantee that suitable candidates will click on the advert and actually apply. Since it’s pay-per-click, not pay-per-application, success is not a given.

With no real way of knowing how many candidates will click on a PPC advert, HR can’t predict how much will be spent advertising each job role, making this option less appealing when it comes to budgeting and planning.

That said, traditional job board adverts can sometimes fall short due to fluctuations within the candidate market – different variables such as time of year, availability of skilled candidates, and the type of role being advertised can all affect the success rate of adverts posted on boards.

The real benefit of Indeed’s sponsored ads is that they can respond to changes in the job market – if there is a particularly high demand for a certain role versus a limited number of skilled candidates, putting money into these adverts gives recruiters a competitive edge to winning talent.

Indeed offers a lucrative model that other job boards should take notice of. It offers flexibility and adaptability, allowing recruiters to be reactive to changes and demands, and be more fluid with their recruitment budget.

A major prediction for 2021

I'm not one for gambling, but if I were, I would put money on three major job board players shifting to a PPC model like Indeed’s by the end of 2021. (Remember folks, you heard it here first!)

Indeed’s PPC model needs no explanation or persuasion tactics to get recruiters onboard – it sells itself! Its success has paved the way for other job boards to follow suit and offer an alternative to their clients.

It seems then, that the logical evolution for the future of job boards is a move towards offering a pay-per-click option, allowing them to remain competitive with Google for Jobs, and maintaining a dynamic approach to job advertising to meet the demands of the market at any given time.

When Artificial Intelligence meets PPC

Programmatic advertising is a strong example of AI’s powerful partnership with the recruitment industry. This data-driven automated tool has already been used in marketing for a few years, but its value for sourcing talent is quickly gathering momentum.

Increasing numbers of recruiters are opting to spend on PPC than fixed credits, which highlights the value of programmatic software in recruitment. This smart software ensures your posted job adverts are competitive and made visible in the right places, to the right people.

Whereas traditional PPC campaigns require a real person evaluating the best channels to advertise on and what budget to set, programmatic software makes these complex decisions in a fraction of the time to target relevant candidates based on their online behaviour.

The future of job boards?

By 2022, recruitment industry experts predict that around 80% of all job advertising will be driven by programmatic campaigns. For job boards to stay competitive, shifting to offer a pay-per-click model like Indeed is the obvious solution.

In the future of recruitment, fixed credits will no longer cut it – it’s time for job boards to adapt or die. Recruiters are hungry for talent and fiercely competitive; the flexibility of PPC combined with the power of programmatic ads offers a seriously sweet proposition for talent acquisition.

And if you fancy adding to the conversation then find me on LinkedIn or Twitter

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