The Wrap No. 3 Programmatic Advertising: What to Know for Your Recruitment Marketing Strategy







Decades of experience has taught the team at Shaker Recruitment Marketing that change is the most consistent factor driving our industry. The labor market is like a revolving door. At certain times, it’s full and fast-moving. At others, it’s a steady flow. And then there are times when it moves in slow motion because of scant power or even grinds to a halt. 

As the market continues to shift and evolve, so do the approaches we use to find, engage, and attract talent to organizations like yours with a strong focus on efficiency, efficacy, and scalability. 

One of those approaches is programmatic advertising, also known as programmatic job distribution or simply programmatic. Here is what you need to know to optimize your recruitment marketing strategy.





It allows our clients to control when jobs are sponsored, at what 
budget, and for how long, and shift spend and focus to best-performing media. Most importantly, it empowers them to focus spend on the most critical, hardest-to-fill positions and ensure we are maximizing budget to the best of our ability. Establishing a proactive, data-driven strategy for a client’s job board initiatives is key because it allows recruitment and talent acquisition teams to put more of their focus on people and the human side of the candidate journey. 

There are a lot of moving pieces to programmatic advertising, so I’ll give you the scoop on what it’s like to create, execute, and manage a programmatic advertising campaign. I’ll also explain how programmatic advertising impacts organizations from the perspective of our recruitment advertising agency, a pioneer at the forefront of recruitment and marketing strategy trends. With the personal experience and expertise of myself and my team, I hope to provide you with a day-in-the-life perspective on programmatic advertising and how it may align with your recruitment goals.



Programmatic advertising is best defined as a data-driven way to manage your pay-per-click budget. So, what does that mean? Shaker will:

  • assess your open jobs 
  • identify underperforming roles and the roles most critical to your organization 
  • manage your budget to address the needs tied to those positions 
  • eliminate wasted spend on jobs with naturally high applicant flow 

All of these efforts, combined with the management of multiple media through one platform, are designed to increase your overall ROI. 






It’s our 70th anniversary this year, so we’ve played an active part in the ongoing evolution of tech and strategies. The advent of programmatic in TA is perhaps the biggest gamechanger, along with the digitization of talent attraction and warp-speed tech. 

As the industry moves toward a more data-driven approach to recruiting, the greatest challenges have involved just that: The data. These include:

inconsistencies in source attribution
variances in the data collected across different ATSs and CRMs
capturing data tied to applicant quality


Shaker has made great strides in attacking the data issue by growing our programmatic department and establishing a metrics team that works alongside our programmatic campaign managers and agency account teams. This newly-formed department is focused on assisting our teams and our clients in navigating the wealth of information now available to us so we can execute informed and well-planned, holistic recruitment strategies.





Though it is still a very efficient and value-added tool to consider, the cost-per-click rate is now greatly increasing 
because of the shifting marketplace, an increase in open positions, and decrease in the supply of engaged candidates, due largely to the workforce shortage caused by the Covid pandemic. Leveraging an approach such as programmatic to focus spend where it is needed most, even at an increased overall cost per application, is the key to managing a marketplace that is rapidly changing.  





On the most basic level, instant access to centralized data with insight into the one-to-one relationship between applications and sources allows us to make decisions and shift strategies in a much more real-time manner. While everyday communication with clients is routine to us, the ability to gain insight into current activity and applicant flow across all media enables us to be even more proactive in our recommendations.

The shift to programmatic has created a learning curve that offers another way to fulfill the role we covet most, and one that is at the center of our partnership with our clients: Being a true consultant. Clients ask us to help them understand what programmatic is and how it is best executed for their organization. This allows us to dive into the metrics that tell the unique story behind each one. For the majority of our clients, the analysis we provide proves invaluable and has allowed us to take further steps as an agency to get to the most granular level and identify where additional support is needed, not only via programmatic, but also through all the tools and strategies Shaker may recommend. Our conversations have evolved to a new level of thought-sharing, which has expanded our relationships. 



cost per applicant (CPA) is always the go-to, cost per hire (CPH) is ideal, and when available, we focus on cost per quality applicant (CPQA) on a comprehensive level. We are a full-service agency and programmatic is the main driver of applications for most of our clients, but we also consider all sources of applications, both paid and unpaid, as well as the quality of those applications, whenever possible. For clients whose ATS allows us access to their hiring funnel, the metrics we analyze provide insight into the effectiveness of various sources and the candidate experience in terms of engagement and response time. 

Only by taking into consideration all of these metrics can we capitalize on current successes and identify areas for improvement to make the best recommendations for our clients. 


Both of these factors can have a great impact on the effectiveness of recruitment media. At Shaker, we view successful recruitment marketing in three parts: 


the brand
(or messaging)




the media
channel for the messaging)




the candidate experience
during the exploration, application and interview process)


We work
 with our clients to optimize all three elements and ensure that the company culture is effectively communicated at every candidate touchpoint. This how we help clients pipeline the greatest number of best-fit candidates–those whose skill sets and personal traits match those required by the client and its culture.




In an ideal state, more media channels would participate in programmatic ad buying, especially the niche sites. 

In addition, we would like to see the establishment of a standardized definition of what programmatic truly is in terms of recruitment advertising, just as there is on the consumer side of the industry. 


Final thoughts on programmatic advertising 

Programmatic has enabled us to manage spend for our clients based on actual business needs as they change over the course of the year and move away from committed media spends, while optimizing budgets to fill those ever-crucial, hard-to-fill roles. This has been and will continue to be pivotal in maximizing every penny in this incredibly competitive market. 

At Shaker, we like to compare programmatic advertising to building a house. Just as with constructing a home, a solid foundation is key, including a recruitment plan that strategically manages job listings, which are the destination for interested candidates. Once we have a plan in place to effectively leverage the distribution of jobs and target active candidates, we can build upon it by tending to all of the additional technologies, products, and services that help an employer stand apart and expand their reach to passive and impulsive candidates.