He asked "Having worked as a media professional for 20 years it amazes me that their are so many different ways in which recruitment job boards measure their own traffic and as such it means that the only way you can really judge is by actual applications. NORAS, ABC, Comscore , Google - in other words pick the one which works best for your stats - you cant buy media on the back of different scales of traffic as you will never know the correct figure. I would say that applications are the only worthwhile judge, and in short what then happens to them wastage/interview/offer - as clients we really need to savvy up on knowing what these stats are - what do you think?"
Quite a few comments ensued (go have a look if you have access to the group or want to get it) - but I thought I'd bring his question and my response over here and see if any readers of this blog had any thoughts. Well do you? ;)
Board Traffic metrics are so open to varying degrees of interpretation
and manipulation (both pre & post reporting) it's a close run thing
to being no more, or even less, use than gut feel TBH.
The real reason metrics are needed? To cover the arse of the person who's consulting on or buying the media. People are desperate for certainty in an uncertain world, a fast moving world where so many factors influence response - so it's most often about making sure you've got a few figures to back up your thinking and you're safe from too much criticism if it doesn't pan out.
I've asked many media in the past why they subscribe to NORAS, which IMHO added little more of real value beyond the ABCe certification which they could have got anyway (although top level user activity behaviors are interesting). Whilst they always seemed to agree with my perspective, the reason they paid the extra for inclusion was simply that many clients they sold too took a disproportionate degree of comfort from having a logo to back up their advice / decisions - irrespective of what it stood for and/or the integrity of conclusions.
To twist a well known saying - "there are lies, damned lies and web traffic statistics", which means there will never be a harmonious agreement on which metric is the most valuable or which methodology / traffic monitoring organisation has the most true reflection of reality. It's only natural that every commercial entity when promoting themselves will only want to use that metric which is flattering to them when compared against who they view as their competition.
So the onus lies with the person collating and processing that response - and rightly so. Location, salary, perception of employer brand, time of the year, how you've written your ad, general state of the market, application process - all these things (and many more) affect response (both quality and quantity of), so unless you have in place a facility to report with maximum integrity where your traffic and, most importantly, interviews and hires came from in previous activity, then gut feel is pretty much as good as anything you've got.
And what should you look for in a gut feel assessment of a job board?
- Are any of your colleagues in that function / role aware of it?
- What's it's online (and potentially offline) profile like - where does it generate it's RELEVANT traffic from?
- How easy is it to use - putting yourself in the shoes of the candidate?
- Are there similar roles to yours advertised already? (great if they can provide info on these or similar too)
- And then ask how many relevant people they have subscribed to alerts and / or in their CV database.
The future has to be for recruiters to pick their ATS' with integrity of metrics and MI reporting as a fundamental underpinning requirement, taking responsibility for better knowing themselves what works and what doesn't - and I'm sorry, but reliance on "what media did you come from" drop down options is simply not good enough. (Note - am consciously staying away from pitching our solution here)
And I don't think this is really clients keeping this info close to their chest Wendy - the truth is that it's because they don't actually know themselves because of rubbish ATS. However you also need to be aware that, even where an ATS would allow seamless tracking, the JobServe application set up actually creates such a negative application and (from my personal & previous often discussed) direct client recruiter experience, that your metrics of ROI are going to be as flawed as anyone's (my reasons/experience set out here: https://www.3dmarcomms.com/blog/2010/01/new-year-new-recruit-some-clear-mi/ - which also includes why I found the PPA experience pretty rubbish too I'm sorry to say Nicole).
But, for what it's worth - ABCe was always my preferred "go to" for verified stats when I was advising / buying on behalf of clients.