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The Ultimate Guide to Online Job Advertising (Part 3): Measuring Success

When recruiters bring up the the topic of analytics you can usually expect the conversation to go in one of two directions: they are either talking about recruitment KPI’s (CV sends, Interviews, Phone Calls, etc) or Social Media ROI, the holy grail of online measurement (or so one would think!). Process KPI’s are vital and not the subject of this particular article but when it comes to on-line metrics, Facebook and Twitter are the last places that a business manager or marketing team should be looking at.

You need to look first at your own web-site and second at the other recruitment related websites that you are paying to advertise your jobs or services on. The social places need to be looked at but they come in a distant third and it is in fact often easier to measure the success of your social campaigns by looking at your own web-site, rather than the individual 3rd party social sites. Here’s how to do it.

1. Google Analytics

First and foremost you need a robust web analytics package in place and I recommend that you look no further than Google’s flagship free reporting tool. It is remarkably easy to install the tracking code on any site so if you haven’t already done so, check out this easy guide before you read on.

2. Understand your Conversion Objectives

Google Analytics talks a lot about Goals and Conversions so let me explain what the heck they are on about. If you’re reading this then you either have a careers page/section on your employer’s web-site or you are an agency/ headhunter with a web-site that is solely dedicated to careers and recruitemnt. Either way, you need to define the objective(s) of that site. I wrote an article last month that outlined the thought process that recruiters should go through when designing a website but in short, you need to segment your target users and define the end “Goal” or outcome that you would like to see from each of these segmented visitors.

For most of us, a CV submission or contact is most likely our objective for job seekers but you might have some secondary objectives such as informing visitors of your culture and hiring process or if you are an agency, outlining your USP to clients. It best to focus on a small number of objectives with one core objective per page. Each page on your site should have a particular customer or viewer in mind and there should be a very clear call to action within that page that seeks to “Convert” that viewer towards your ultimate “Goal”. If the Page in question is a job description then your objective should be to solicit a CV submission. Make that clear in big, bold writing and also make it very easy for your viewer to follow the path or “Funnell” to this objective. Your “Funnell” is the process that you expect someone to follow to realise your “Goal” such as clicking on a “Submit Resume” button, fill out a form, upload a file and press submit. You need to know what you are measuring before we can start to measure it!

Google Analytics Sources of Referral Chart

3. Understand your Sources of Referral

Job seekers or potential clients (agency sites) will come to your website from a number of sources. They will fall into two main categories: Direct or Indirect with the latter Category split into three sub-segments: Organic Search, Paid Advertising/ Search and Referral traffic. The behaviours of different types of users as they make their way through your website and hopefully through one of your “Funnels” towards your ultimate Conversion “Goal” will enable you to measure your success or lack-of in your advertising efforts, your search engine optimisation efforts, your off-line brand awareness and your social media activities. For example, the pure number of referrals from job boards may show a higher number of visitors from the free “scraper” sites such as SimplyHired and Indeed but may indicate a poor quality of referral as these visitors may spend significantly less time on your site and not convert to your stated goals. Always focus on the end goals. If a CV application is the primary objective of running a paid banner ad campaign then unique visits alone is not a sufficient metric. Google Analytics allows you to trace the path that this particular segment take when they view your site and you can create reports to see how many of them convert vs other sources. If you for example, run banner advertising on a number of sites then you can take the most successful site as the benchmark by which to measure all the others, perhaps allocating a cost per conversion to each unit of advertising spending. This highlights the poor return of even low-cost advertising efforts and focuses your attention on what works vs what is cheap.

4. Analyse the stages in your Conversion Process

If your primary objective is to convert viewers to applicants via a CV submission, then here are the things you need to monitor for each vacancy:

a) Total Number of Pageviews, Average Time on Site and Exit Rate. This will show you the most popular jobs (page impressions) and give you an indication as to how engaging they are (time on site and exit rate). Depending on what preview info is available, this will likely show you what are your most engaging job titles and those that aren’t. Go to the Content > Site Content > Pages section of Google Analytics to see all of your pages (don’t forget that each job posting is a page) and look for the url’s of your posts. If you use a third party job posting tool that hosts your content off-site (i.e. each url page begins with an external side such as iGrasp etc) you won’t see these pages within your Analytics. Talk to your provider about attaching your tracking code to these unique pages going forward.

b) Total Number of Applications started. When a potential applicant clicks on the “Apply” or “Upload CV” button, this normally creates a new web page address that is likely “calling” on your web server to produce a form or upload box. This will likely have a separate web address to your job posting but should contain the same reference number (check the url for matching numbers or alphanumeric patterns as they may not match your database job reference sequence). Each instance of this version of the page represents an attempt to apply for the job.

c) Total Number of Applications completed. When the form is complete and/ or the CV is uploaded it is likely that a third page url is generated with the “Thank You” page etc. This is your measurement of how many completed the process and successfully uploaded their CV. By measuring the number of people who viewed your page Vs the number that begun the application Vs the number that completed, you can track how engaging the description is (number who progress from page 1 to page 2) and how user friendly the application process is (number that progress from page 2 to 3). Typical application attempt stats should be in the region of 10-50% with 80-100% completing the application. Remember that some people will view the job and see that they do not meet the requirements therefore a certain drop-off should be expected. To reduce this and improve your user experience (we all hate clicking on an engaging job title only to realise we are not suitable) you might try to highlight any stringent requirements at the top of the posting or even in the job title to ensure that only qualified applicants click through.

5. Analyse the sources of referral for completed applications

If a CV or resume is your ultimate goal, track where each of these successful Goals Achieved (web pages of completed applications) originally came from. This can be viewed by changing your Secondary Dimension view within your Content Pages view to “Source”. You may be surprised at how this differs from your overall sources of traffic to the site. Don’t forget that if a CV application is your ultimate goal, these sources are the truly successful referrers.

6. Where else do people go on your site?

Are there any other areas of your site that are particularly popular? Perhaps your Salary Surveys or the Profile of your Staff gets a lot of hits. If so, you need to think about making this easier to find and maybe duplicating it with more, similar content. Pages that get a very low number of views and pages that have a high exit rate or low time on page should also be reviewed. Cut out the fat and increase the prominence of pages that your viewers actually like

7. Test, test and test

You will make many assumptions about what a good job description looks like and again, assumptions as to what to change but why rely on your guy when you can test? If you think one job title is more engaging than another, then duplicate the job posting and just change the job title. Measure the Conversion Process for each role for 4 weeks and see which version of the job performed the best. This is the only way to prove your assumptions and you should do it for every change you propose to make. Split testing is a way of serving your audience with two different versions of essentially the same thing but with one defineable difference. If enough people (more than 100 should suffice) take part in this “experiment” by just using your site, you will have proof of your assumptions which will help you make your job advertising more successful.

Even at that, we are only scratching the suface but these are the basics you need to get right. If you’re still struggling to attract the hundreds of millions of people who search for jobs every month, give us a shout and we’ll try to steer you in the right direction.

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