Banner Ads for Recruiting – It’s Not All About the Clicks

A recruitment industry friend of mine recently asked me: “Do people click on banner ads?” My answer was twofold — A) Yes, B) Is that the best question to ask?

As you know, banners – officially digital display ads – are omnipresent on the web and within many apps. You see them all the time, likely hundreds per day. As one of the most common advertising tools used, display ads prove to be incredibly flexible and effective as they can reach people wherever they spend time online and on their device of choice. Further, you can control who sees them. That’s allowing employers to reach audiences most likely to be interested in, and responsive to, their message/career opportunities.

Back to my friend who asked the question whether people click on them. Yes, they do but that’s not where the story ends. The more encompassing question is: “What is the full impact of digital display advertising?”

The number of times a display ad is clicked on is one important way to measure the impact and success of digital display. The number of clicks can tell you how well suited the audience was for your message, how compelling your “offer” (employee value proposition) was, how engaging the creative was, and how strong your brand is. Clicks are great. You want interested talent taking direct action on your message. However, there’s something else significant to consider: view-thrus.

Various sources, including Harvard Business School and comScore, tell us that display (banner) ads influence search. That is, someone sees a display ad on the web, doesn’t click it, but then visits the advertiser’s site another way — typically a search on Google or other search engine. That’s defined as a “view thru.”

There are tools you can use to report on exactly how many view-thrus your campaign drives. This number is often markedly higher than the clicks.

In one recent campaign for a non profit, the click-thru rate was .08 percent, about average, but we also tracked 1,495 view-thrus. That was quadruple the clicks. Direct clicks plus view-thrus is a much more complete way to measure the full impact of a digital display advertising campaign. (See the image in green with coaches, custodian, etc.)

Candidates click on banners ads but they also “view thru.” It’s the combination of this direct and indirect traffic that will give you a more complete picture of the effect of your digital display campaigns in driving interested candidates to your career site and job postings.

Jeff Perry is an advertising executive at Star Tribune Media Company in Minneapolis. Star Tribune is the largest media company in the Upper Midwest, with the fifth-largest Sunday print circulation in the U.S. and a comScore Top 1,000 website that receives 7 million unique visitors per month. He is a also a professional musician who has attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and has a B.A. in Music from the American Conservatory in Chicago. Contact jeff.perry@startribune.com.

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