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Post by Rich Moy on Aug 7, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Most HR certifications don’t require you to understand the ins and outs of ad retargeting. If you’ve never used this technology before, Dan Hecht at HubSpot explains that retargeting ad campaigns serve your banner ads to people who have already visited your website.

Recently, employers have begun experimenting with retargeting campaigns to boost their employer branding efforts. Because developers are receptive to ads that are relevant to their career goals, a retargeting campaign could provide a boost to your employer branding strategy. But according to a recent survey by Nanigans, 77% of consumers think that they see too many ads from the same companies.

While it’s a unique challenge to stay relevant without turning developers off, there are a few things you can do to strike the right balance. Keep the following tips in mind if you’re considering an ad retargeting campaign for tech candidates.

Tech Candidates Know How They’re Being Targeted

When it comes to banner ads for developers, retargeting is a particularly difficult challenge because they understand the technologies that drive it. Programmers can also detect when an online advertisement was served to them based on general demographic information, which they find to be off-putting.

Gervasio Marchand, a Software Developer here at Stack Overflow, recently told us that his issue isn’t with the technology itself. “The thing I struggle with more is knowing that separate systems are sharing my information about what I’m doing online,” he adds. “It’s proof that my data is being shared in a non-explicit way amongst advertisers that want to drive impressions up.”

What would this mean if you were looking to hire a desktop developer? You might start by targeting anyone that fit the description of a programmer at Apple or Microsoft. That’s not necessarily the wrong way to do it, but if you stopped there, your ads would be seen by desktop and mobile developers at those companies. Your campaign would be relevant to only a portion of your intended audience, and you’d likely leave a negative impression on the rest of the developers that saw your ads.

Target Developers Based on Site Activity

Aaron Doades of Search Engine Land says that companies can stand out from the competition by creating retargeting campaigns based on site activity. “[This allows you to] tailor the ad not only to the specific product category, but also put in a very strong call to action,” he adds.

Applying this to your employer branding strategy will likely require you to partner with your technical team. But think beyond the overall traffic to your careers site when you want to start an ad retargeting campaign. Which developer types are clicking on your open roles? Which roles are they reading, and which positions do you want them to see? Use your answers to create a list of keywords to target in your ad campaigns for tech candidates. Not only will this ensure that you’re engaging with the correct audience, but it will also show those developers that you did your homework before you launched this advertising initiative.

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