Before discussing the future of metrics, it's important to understand the factors that are influencing the future. First of all, the content being created and consumed is increasingly user generated and the methods by which this content is being created are becoming more affordable (often free) and accessible. And because a sound search engine optimization strategy- combined with relevant content, can help establish a respectable level of credibility for these authors, it extends the reach of the content quickly. It also makes the places in which consumers and job seekers can find your company change often, and grow exponentially. Also, the past couple of years have seen content syndication become a core component of the internet's infrastructure, making it even easier to place the 'relevant' in 'relevant content'. Furthermore, we're obviously in the midst of a paradigm shift to a more social internet, evident not only by the explosive growth and evolution of sites like Facebook and Twitter, but by the adoption of Facebook and Twitter tools by web sites of every size, topic, and audience — including the mainstream news. They, along with other businesses and marketers, are quickly realizing the reach and potential of a more social internet, but they're also realizing the difficulties in measuring it all. Below, I'll outline the 4 things most important to the future of your metrics.
1. Landing pages
It used to be that you were responsible for the distribution and placement of your content, which also meant you controlled the means by which it was measured. Well, it doesn't exactly work that way anymore. A message broadcast on Twitter may end up attracting candidates on someone's blog or on Facebook, and measuring the spread and reach of your message provides coveted, and actionable intelligence. Counting conversions still requires you to measure the source of the message, but understanding the impact and reach of the message requires a unique landing page that's properly measured. A simple web analytics tool like Google Analytics will help you understand where your traffic is coming from, which in turn helps you understand the spread of your content.
"Quick turn" landing pages are now truly quick turn- and cost efficient. Incorporate them into your plans early and use them often. You might be surprised by the sources of your traffic, leading you to new opportunities for media plan and brand development.
Cookie based measurement uses a small non-personally identifiable text file to measure candidate interactions with your media, ultimately allowing a conversion to be attributed to an action, even if that action occurred in the past. Translation: Mary sees banner on Monday; Mary goes to career site and applies on Thursday; Mary's application is attributed to the banner she interacted with on Monday.
Cookies have long existed as a measurement tool and a way to improve your online experience, and they're experiencing quite the resurgence in popularity. In the past two years, both Microsoft and Google have made sizable acquisitions in this space, both recognizing the change in the way consumers and job seekers consume content, and the challenges in measuring that consumption.
Statistics have proven that consumers and job seekers alike often need multiple exposures to your brand before they'll take action. This becomes even more true when targeting either a passive audience or an active audience in a largely passive space (e.g. Facebook). One of the benefits of cookie-based tracking is what's called 'attribution modeling,' or understanding how many and which pieces of media a candidate or consumer is exposed to before they convert. More on this later.
The other, and simply more important benefit, of cookie-based tracking is being able to measure the gap between exposure (when they saw your media) and conversion (when they applied). Research we've done shows that job seekers take on average more than a day to respond to ads in these networks. If you're not able to measure, despite the time gap (often described as 'post-impression'), you're missing a significant chunk of your audience.
Attribution modeling - measuring the interactions with your media previous to conversion - is a very valuable source of intelligence for companies trying to understand the behavioral patterns of their audience. You'll learn not only what is compelling your audience to take action, but where they're most active, and what parts of your media plan may not be getting the credit they deserve. Traditionally, most metric platforms credit the last piece of media seen, ignoring the impact of the first piece of media seen and any interactions in between. The future of metrics is not assigning credit to one piece of media, but assigning weighted credit to all pieces of media. And to take it a step further, emphasis will be placed on not just 'that' they interacted with the media, but 'how' they interacted with the media.
Tied for 4th: A/B testing; measuring mobile; engagement; creative quality metrics
Response to advertising is becoming more rapid, therefore, the decision making process for evaluating the success or failure of a campaign have been greatly condensed. The tools available today have made the Internet the obvious choice for where to take that evaluation process. Let your audience evaluate your creative, or messaging, and let software optimize your campaign so you're always putting the highest converting ads in front of your audience.
It goes without saying that if you launch a mobile site or mobile campaign, measuring it is important. Especially given the emergence of the medium, and relative uncertainty advertisers experience when evaluating the opportunity. In recruitment, we're not yet at a point where resumes are mobile and certainly not comfortable with moving the apply process to a mobile friendly, and usable format. That said, if you're engaging candidates on their mobile, at some point you're probably asking them to engage in your traditional online content. Measuring this, cross-device, goes all the way back to a solid landing page strategy.
Engagement is another way of quantifying the behavior of your audience (engagement = intent (x) attitude). Sites like Facebook, and Youtube are using engagement metrics to help define the value of their service by understanding that although the ultimate goal of your presence on their site is to attract customers to buy and job seekers to apply, there is value in getting someone to watch your video or 'write on your wall'. Measuring and evaluating engagement can shed new light on the value and performance of your presence on non-transactional sites.
Creative quality metrics
Companies are themselves becoming more innovative in the way they extend their metrics. In recruitment, the obvious goal is not just to find candidates, but to find quality, contributing, long-term employees. Creative quality metrics will lead to new forms of quality measurement. Instead of measuring simply "where am I hiring salespeople from", it's "where am I hiring the salespeople leading me in to emerging markets". True, the professional evolution of an employee takes time, and may in fact extend beyond the life of the specific place from which you hired them; however, the principals will remain the same and the intelligence make your future decisions more educated.
What you do with analytics tomorrow is completely dependent on how much emphasis you place on them today. To find out more, contact your TMP representative today.