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May 17, 2016 Getting engaged makes you better off financially... if you're a job board Mike Fahey, Executive Vice President

Getting engaged makes you better off financially... if you're a job board

While walking through a London train station I noticed a huge billboard advertisement displaying a girl gazing down upon the crowd like some glowing deity. The word "Zoella" flashed on screen. I assumed it was an advert for make-up but I've since learnt that Zoella is a prominent vlogger who regularly outputs videos that are keenly devoured by a mass following.

I’ve only seen one of her videos. It was a short explanation of the contents of her handbag; a question that must rank up there alongside “Is the universe deterministic?”, “Do we have free will?” or “Is Han Solo really dead?". Still, sweet natured vlogger Zoella has over 10,000,000 subscribers who regularly take time out to watch her content. 

That’s an engaged audience.

“An engaged audience” is a term sometimes banded around with little meaning, so for the sake of clarity I am using it here to describe a user who trusts and has regularly interaction with your brand.

For job boards having an engaged audience can increase your marketing ROI, improve the quality of your candidates and make you more competitive. It's a foundation from which you can grow additional revenues beyond just recruitment. 

Candidates are increasingly selective about where they apply for jobs. Our research shows there are several factors that contribute towards a jobseeker choosing a job board. Quantity of jobs and ease of use are important to users when deciding if they will interact with a site, whilst brand trust, along with quality content and uniqueness of jobs, determine if a user will return.

In recent years it's become harder to obtain unique job content due to the rise of job aggregators and networks. Consequently job boards have an increasing need to focus on other methods in order to get jobseekers to return to their site.

Building a relationship with your audience can be a challenge as job boards are by their nature transactional systems. A user will come to the site (often via another site), search, view a job, apply (often also via another site), then disappear. Your window of opportunity to engage that user is extremely small.

One of the most successful approaches to increasing engagement is having a strong content strategy. Regularly publishing on your job board almost doubles the average number of annual interactions a jobseeker has with your site.

Mikegraphic2 Hires

Using content as a way to engage audiences is increasingly common across job boards and important as they evolve a position against their competitor boards, LinkedIn and Indeed.

The two latter companies share this concern around user engagement. It would be too dramatic to say it's their Achilles heel but it's certainly a risk to them. LinkedIn highlight it themselves in their 2016 annual report by stating "A substantial majority of our traffic is generated by a minority of our members". 

Indeed aren’t as open with their risks however if you look at their strategy around company hubs, prime, forums and general advertising you can see that they are trying to build an engaged and loyal audience too.

The perfect scenario would be to increase your audience engagement whilst opening up new revenue streams. This is possible to do as long as you select the correct auxiliary services to offer your audience.

Individuals are interested in different offerings depending on how long they have been in their role. To have a truly engaged audience you need to cater for all of stages of a job from starting to ending.


The above diagram shows many services that would be of interest to people at different stages of their career. For example, we see a number of job boards moving in to the courses space as one method to increase engagement and revenue. Even large generalists in the UK such as TotalJobs and have made this gentle diversification alongside a focus on career content and services. 

If you can get this combination of services right for your audience you'll be able to grow your brand loyalty and get a better ROI from marketing.

Job boards offering more than jobs, such as courses, see users returning 31% quicker

Once a jobseeker has found employment they disappear for an average of 380 days before returning to interact with a job board. This average varies per sector (e.g. people move quicker in IT than in Engineering) but can be an interesting metric to use when planning your audience engagement strategy and establishing when to contact people.

Job boards with an associated brand have a natural advantage over more generalist sites here, due to them offering more than just jobs, but it doesn't mean it's easy to capitalize on. Traditionally editorial widget integration is the the answer but this is often challenging either for internal political reasons or optimizing these widgets in the correct way.

The average job board traffic is under 10% of the associated editorial site traffic

Millions of editorial readers does not always translate to millions of jobseekers. You have to work hard to understand your audience and provide something that will spark their interest, otherwise they will either leave at the end of reading an article or not return the next time they're looking for a job.

This challenge in converting the average content consumer to a jobseeker is one reason why Zoella's 10,000,000 subscribers would not translate to a successful job board. At Madgex we're working on some really exciting projects around this area, but that's for another blog post...

A brand that provides a mix of jobs, content, courses, services and events as one offering has the best chance of building a successful and profitable relationship with their audience. If you find the right balance of high quality and quantity in those areas with the right channels of communication you can really impact your overall business performance.

And for those interested my bag currently contains: a laptop, a wallet, some keys, an internet dongle and a Mars bar. I forgot my charger, it's at home.

If you’d like to have a chat about the ways you engage your wider audience to increase revenue, or you're Mars and would like to talk to me about sponsorship, please do get in touch.