Dave talks to… Ryan Bridgman – Talent Matters Podcast


Dave Jenkins talks to Ryan Bridgman about the difference between programmatic and performance advertising, how data provides relevance to recruiters and candidates, programmatic pricing, why a feedback loop is the key to success, the fine line preventing unnecessary overbidding and the continued evolution of programmatic media.

The One Where They Talk About…

  • The difference between programmatic and performance advertising
  • How data provides relevance to recruiters and candidates
  • Programmatic pricing – how it’s calculated and the different variables involved
  • Why a feedback loop is key to the success of programmatic advertising
  • The fine line preventing unnecessary overbidding
  • The continued evolution of programmatic media   

In Episode 8 of the Talent Matters podcast series, Wave CEO Dave Jenkins talks to Ryan Bridgman, Senior Sales Director with management responsibility for Global Programmatic Sales at Jobrapido. As a job search engine that delivers candidates through programmatic talent acquisition solutions, Jobrapido has grown enormously over the past few years. The approach is based on data-powered relevancy – relevant ads to relevant candidates, on a cost-per-performance basis. Ryan explains the ins and outs of programmatic advertising and demystifies the solution so that you can work out whether it is the right approach for your needs.

The full podcast is truly an education in programmatic recruitment advertising and is therefore well worth a listen but we’ve laid out the key takeaways below for a quick browse in the meantime.

Programmatic advertising: data-powered for greater relevancy

Programmatic advertising is one of the most often misused phrases in marketing. It’s not a product, it’s a concept, and comes from two words fused together – programme and automatic. Essentially, it is to do with the use of data, automated by software, allowing the right person to receive the right content on the right platform in the right place. It enables recruiters to scale much more quickly but its biggest benefit is relevance – this is fundamental to having a good experience as a candidate and is also of vital importance as an advertiser in order to receive responses that are relevant. Ultimately, therefore, programmatic advertising is the use of data to provide relevance to both the user and the advertiser. What programmatic advertising uses is rich data, which builds a profile with which to target with relevant content. This is based on your candidate’s engagement (intent data). Rich data allows for greater relevancy than static data, such as a CV, as it follows a candidate’s journey, tracking the changes that ebb and flow in real time.

What is the difference between programmatic and performance advertising?

Programmatic and performance advertising aren’t two different products or concepts – they are two sides of the same coin. Performance advertising is simply the commercial model by which you leverage the performance of programmatic advertising and charge for it. So, programmatic is the concept and performance is the measurement of that and the way by which recruiters and employers are charged, whether that’s pay per click, or pay per application.

How are programmatic media costs calculated?

Many recruiters are used to duration-based job board advertising, for example buying 10 adverts for £1000 for a set amount of time, so programmatic pricing can seem confusing. Essentially, it costs what the market rate is. If the market is saturated with qualified candidates, it will cost less and if candidate availability is low, pricing will be higher. In the current market, factors affecting cost will include the associated costs of bringing candidates in when they’re in short supply. In order to understand what you might be having to spend, your account manager will be able to advise what similar campaigns are costing. You might opt for cost per click or cost per application – the latter is gaining traction as it is important that those clicks convert into the outcomes you require, which is usually an application and ideally a hire. Again, the market will dictate the cost per click or application.

The fine line preventing unnecessary overbidding

If you pay too high a price, thereby increasing the number of clicks, you may find yourself in a situation where your ROI decreases because those clicks are not going to convert into applications at the same rate as the clicks earlier in your campaign. It can be hard to know how much to spend, which is why it’s important to start slowly and then ramp it up accordingly, at a price point that’s similar to other campaigns. It’s essentially the law of diminishing returns – when fewer clicks convert into applications because the remaining, as yet un-targeted, candidates will be increasingly more passive and less likely to change jobs. In some (fairly rare) cases, when demand is particularly high but candidates are especially low, you may be happy to target every single possible candidate. A good example of this is the huge recruitment drive for delivery drivers towards the end of 2021, or for supermarket workers during the pandemic – they needed to exhaust every possible candidate, whether passive or active, whatever the likelihood of them applying.

The vital importance of a feedback loop

The success or otherwise of your programmatic advertising campaign relies on the efficacy of your feedback loop. Direct feedback or feedback via a third party tool allows you to understand your ROI and whether your campaign is working or not. What is a feedback loop? It’s a way of telling the ad publisher which of the assets (whether an email, or a classified job listing, or a branded display ad, or something else – the asset is the content vehicle) are converting into desired outcomes. Programmatic advertising is super effective because the relevance of the content – and therefore the candidates that click and hopefully apply – is unparalleled. However, if you aren’t able to provide effective feedback, and so not use those assets effectively, the quality of the data won’t be optimised and the entire campaign won’t work as well. As more and more traditional job boards begin to offer this model, some may wonder if we’re witnessing the slow decline of traditional fixed cost adverts. However, not everyone is ready to avail of it exactly because they don’t have the feedback loops in place and that is important to acknowledge.

Why job board price increases may sometimes be justified

Ryan understands the need for price increases in some cases due to the increased difficulty in finding and attracting candidates in a candidate short market. “I would be suspicious if recruitment platforms weren’t increasing prices because I know how much it costs to acquire candidates into your eco-systems,” he said. It’s a valid assumption that job boards are paying more to keep a steady funnel of talent and unfortunately those costs will often be passed onto the recruiters and employers placing those adverts.

Cost per hire will be the next natural step

The outcome that really matters to recruiters is applications or hires. You don’t hire a ‘click’. Programmatic recruitment advertising will evolve to a performance model that charges based on what recruiters are really interested in by moving further down the funnel to cost per hire. The available data is getting much better, with more and more people able to track all the way through to hire. It’s already happening in the consumer arena, whereby advertisers can can track a consumer’s journey all the way to ‘buy’ and beyond. For example, a consumer may buy a car and then organise the servicing through the same garage. There will be more and more relevance for both recruiters and candidates as programmatic advertisers are able to collect more data on individual candidates and their journeys.

And finally, on another note…

As a man with a passion for watches, Ryan shared his tips for beautifully crafted watches with a luxury Swiss watch price tag. He recommended Japanese brands where a lot of artisanal craftsmanship is still involved, such as Grand Seiko. If you hanker after a Swiss watch at a more affordable price point, IWC Schaffhausen (known for their historical pilot watches) represent incredible value.

We have lots more Talent Matters podcasts in the pipeline so keep your eye out for upcoming episodes where you can expect more insights and advice from an incredibly diverse line-up of figures from the world of recruitment. Next up: Dave talks to Rohit Kapoor, Co-founder of Paiger.