Programmatic Advertising and Marketing For Beginners

Bill Boorman
April 20 ․ 5 min read

Guest Post by Bill Boorman, #tru Conference Founder & Managing Director at Recruiting Daily


Remember the good old days of print media buying, or the halcyon days of the dot-com boom, when buying advertising was simple? You found the publication or the location you liked the look of, you chose the position on the page (or the page view), paid the best price you could get, and then sat and waited. In the days of print media circulation was validated, counted and certificated. Whilst you couldn’t guarantee everyone would look at your ad, let alone Like at any time, the choices were reasonably limited and the decisions were quite easy. You chose what you thought would work best based on your opinion, your track record and a fancy media pack that validated the circulation, which you hoped would convert to eyes, and then you waited.

We were discussing these times in a nostalgic look back at the recent Symphony Talent-sponsored #trulondon event, and how profoundly times have changed. Enter Programmatic Media. What was clear from the discussion is that whilst lots of people are talking about it, people are no less confused about what it all means to them. To help with this, we thought it would be worthwhile to share a few thoughts from the discussion:

Modern day advertising and marketing offers a lot more flexibility, and needs to be dynamic, because the only constant is change. You want control over placement and spend, reacting to what is working and what is not. You need to be able to determine the best way to run a campaign, whether success is dependent on impressions or clicks or something else more success-driven like applicants. Because the digital world is 24-7, you need to be constantly tracking what is working and what isn’t, with the opportunity to scale up or scale down or even turn-off in real time. This is only made possible by actually tracking all activity, setting rules for campaigns, and buying media (like Google AdWords or Facebook stories) in real time.

Think of it this way: these types of ads are calculated in a similar way to how the stock exchange works, priced at real-time auction by demand. The greater the competition for your audience (determined by search terms, frequency, positioning, etc.), the higher the price, and this can really fluctuate. Programmatic Media platforms track these fluctuations to identify the best combinations, times to buy and prices to pay. Automated Programmatic Media platforms do this in real time  against a fixed budget, and shift budget according to a balance of what’s working and what’s needed. If one ad is working well, and you have the applicants you need, then you want to turn off that campaign and switch the resources and budget to another job that might not be performing quite so well. Tracking real-time performance enables you to do this, whilst basing buying decisions on best price and past performance. If Facebook has worked for a role in the past, then you will want to direct your spend there, with less attention on Google (or vice-a-versa) if this proves not to be the case this time around.

Whilst this is a bit of a simplistic explanation, I hope it clears up some of the mystery. Once you get away from talking algorithms and weird science, it is easy to see how this works, and why it has become a critical part of talent acquisition strategy.

From Agent to Superhero