In this blog, we will look at the best strategies for early careers advertising.
Using data from our platform, we looked at a sample of 3,734 graduate jobs across a broad range of employers from within the last 12 months.
The jobs were all advertised across our ClickIQ network of 25 pay-per-click job boards and aggregators including Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Adzuna.
There was a very wide variation in number of applications – ranging from 0 to 500.
Graduate recruitment generated high volumes of organic (free) traffic. In fact, 90.7% came from this method.
Rather than look at blended data across a lot of roles (which is skewed heavily by the volume recruiters) we have broken the data down into Volume, Specialist and Balanced (a mix of the two) to try and provide a deeper understanding depending on the type of recruiter.
|% Organic (free) responses||90%||21%||68%|
(Paid advertising only)
|Recommended Spend per Job||£4.46||£158.47||£19.16|
The impact of brand is huge on organic response rates which is why we have separated out the cost-per-application between total and paid. For those recruiters who don’t have the benefit of a strong employer brand, the paid cost-per-application is a better indicator of the stats you can expect.
Looking at the paid advertising for Balanced Recruiter alone, the average cost-per-application was £2.41.
The average conversion rate from click to apply was 14.1%, but was higher for organic responses than sponsored jobs.
Indeed was responsible for the vast majority of organic (free) responses. Their average response rate in July, across all of their graduate jobs, was 140 clicks per job which (based on the average conversion rate of 14.1%) should generate 19.7 applications.
The best-known brands dominated response rates and had a significantly higher percentage of organic responses.
In contrast, a significant proportion of roles with less well-known companies (especially when they relied on organic advertising with no paid advertising) received zero applications.
Let’s look at some individual examples. Below, we have highlighted 3 graduate roles from top graduate employers: Avis, Paddy Power and Mitchells and Butlers. Across the data we sampled, there were wide variations but the following was fairly typical:
Graduate Finance Analyst
(Mitchells and Butlers)
One of the challenges that graduate recruiters have always faced is huge volumes of applications.
Unlike the traditional, duration-based methods of advertising where there is very little control over the volume of applicants, the pay-per-click methods give recruiters much more control and flexibility, allowing recruiters to automatically turn off any adverts once they have reached the desired number of applications.
Many of the large graduate recruiters target specific universities and courses, often using on-campus methods and careers fairs. However, online targeting can also be used.
Facebook (and Instagram) allow you to create target sets that enable you to reach specific individuals.
Simply select which universities and which courses you want to reach then launch the campaign, either using employer branding or direct response ads (ClickIQ can dynamically create and manage these so you don’t have to spend huge budgets).
You will need to set a daily spend and max cost-per-click. These don’t need to be high, especially if you are advertising over a long period of time.
The average cost-per-click (CPC) for graduates was £0.20.
However, this can vary significantly based on specific jobs and locations. You reach the 90% percentile at £0.60 which is the top end. This becomes more important for high demand graduates and more specialist roles.
By paying more, you will attract better quality applicants as you will appear higher in the listings (which is where you will find the better applicants). Read our recent blog to find out more about this.
By using an automation system like ClickIQ, you won’t have to worry about overpaying as the system only spends what it needs too. Just set the CPC at the top end and the system will adjust spend down based on real-time results.
Indeed is the UK’s largest job board. They kindly provided us with some specific data in reference to graduate recruitment in July 2018:
This gives an average of 140 clicks and an estimated 19.7 applications per job.
They also told us that 52% of graduate responses were made from a mobile.
Clearly this depends on a number of things including your brand, how many organic applications you attract, and how competitive/specialist your roles are. Below, we have once again broken down the spend suggestions into Specialist and Balanced depending on the type of recruiter you are.
Balanced hires (Mix of Volume and Specialist roles)
|% organic response||68%||0%|
|Spend per hire||£19.16||£60.25|
|% organic response||21%||0%|
|Spend per hire||£158.47||£200.50|
These recommendations are based on the average conversion rates from click to apply and needing 25 applications to hire.
One of the most important factors when considering graduates is their dislike of traditional application methods, and given that 52% of them are job searching from their phones, being able to handle mobile applications is vital.
Unless you’re a leading brand in your sector that grads have wanted to work for all their lives, you’re more likely to lose applicants if you present them with a long application form.
A great way to overcome this is with a chatbot. You can collect all of the information you need, but remain quick and instantaneous for the candidate too.
They also provide a great opportunity for graduates to ask questions about working for your organisation without having to search through the pages on your careers site for answers. All of which can dramatically increase your conversion rate.
We typically expect to triple conversion rates when a chatbot replaces the traditional application process.
ClickIQ is an Automated Talent Attraction Platform which uses AI and Programmatic technology to intelligently manage and optimise your recruitment advertising in real time, across an extensive network of performance based recruitment media.
Saving recruiters significant time and money whilst also increasing their advertising reach.
Follow Richard Collins on LinkedIn to explore of the latest developments in the sector and to learn how you can keep your Talent Attraction strategy ahead of the curve.