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Pathmatics Blog

Indeed, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter Increase Ad Spend to Reach Employers and Job Seekers

May 20 2022 by Pam Gutierrez

If you're hiring for an open position, gear up for another wild year. Job openings are at their highest level in years, and there simply aren't enough workers to go around. This is making it harder to fill open positions and forcing employers to get creative in order to attract talent.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 11.5 million openings in the United States at the end of March. Voluntary separations are also up, with 4.5 million workers retiring or quitting their jobs in favor of a better opportunity. Many of these employees will turn to recruiting sites to find jobs that offer higher pay, better benefits, and more flexible work arrangements. 

Let’s look at how three of the largest job search sites — Indeed, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter — are increasing their digital advertising* to connect employers and job seekers.

*Data gathered from Pathmatics Explorer from May 8, 2021 through May 7, 2022. 

Indeed’s Ad Spend Hits an All-Time High as Employers Scramble to Find Seasonal Workers

Indeed’s top creatives in 2021 and 2022 are split evenly between targeting employees and employers. The employer-focused ads seem geared toward small businesses, with TV spots featuring the founder of a kayaking company who turns to Indeed to find a bookkeeper, and a tailor who creates quinceañera dresses and uses the job site’s instant match feature to find help for his shop. Small businesses have been disproportionately affected by the labor shortage, with 60 percent unable to find workers to fill open positions, so it makes sense to see Indeed is targeting them. 

At $59.8 million, Indeed has spent more on digital ads in the last year than any other job search site. Spend increased dramatically throughout the fall, reaching an all-time high of $16.3 million in December 2021. This time of year is when employers typically start hiring seasonal workers to help around the holidays, and seasonal job postings reached a record of nearly one million as retailers scrambled to fill openings amid the labor shortage. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that Indeed ramped up ad spend during this time.  

All 10 of Indeed’s top creatives in the last 12 months are video ads, as is usually the case for Indeed. The job site split most of its spend between OTT (38 percent) and desktop video (26 percent), with Facebook (20 percent) and Instagram (11 percent) competing for the remaining ad share. 

LinkedIn Listens to Its Community With a New Campaign On Making “Work” Work For You

Like Indeed, LinkedIn is targeting both companies and individual workers. Six of the top 10 creatives are part of LinkedIn’s “Welcome Professionals” campaign, which aims to spark a conversation about what it means to be a professional today. And it seems to be working: LinkedIn says it has seen increased engagement from its members on the platform since launching the campaign. 

The remaining creatives promote LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, the job site’s advertising platform that allows companies to “target a professional audience even down to the job title”.

LinkedIn’s strategy was social media-focused, which is typical for LinkedIn, with 40 percent of its $47.8 million budget spent on Facebook and 55 percent on social media overall. Then in January 2022, the job site decided to pivot and funnel 26 percent more of its spend share into OTT and desktop video ads while pulling back on Instagram, Twitter, and desktop display ads. 

ZipRecruiter Quadruples Ad Spend as the Labor Shortage Intensifies

Throughout 2021 and 2022, ZipRecuiter wasn’t concerned with targeting employers as much as bringing potential candidates to the platform. The recruiting site’s top creatives ranged from TV spots showing people doing yoga and baking while ZipRecruiter sends them jobs, to people who used ZipRecruiter thanking Phil for finding their new gig — which left many viewers scratching their heads and asking, “Who’s Phil?”. 

At $19.2 million, ZipRecruiter spent less than half as much as LinkedIn over the last 12 months. However, compared to the previous 12 month period, ZipRecruiter has more than quadrupled its spend.

Like Indeed, ZipRecruiter leaned heavily into video ads, with 50 percent of spend share on OTT streaming services and 16 percent on YouTube. Advertising on Facebook was less of a priority for ZipRecruiter than it has been in the past, with just under a quarter of spend devoted to the social media platform. 

Other job sites like Glassdoor and FlexJobs are also increasing their digital advertising during the labor shortage. However, a closer look at our Jobs & Education category shows that they’ve got some stiff competition from Upwork, a job platform that connects businesses with freelancers. 

Upwork has spent $27.9 million on digital ads in the last 12 months — more than ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor combined. According to the platform’s own research, 59 million Americans — or more than a third of the entire U.S. workforce — performed freelance work in 2021. What’s more, amid the Great Resignation, 56 percent of non-freelancers say they are likely to freelance in the near future. With that in mind, traditional job search sites like Indeed and LinkedIn will have their work cut out for them.

About Author
Pam Gutierrez

After she earned her BS in Business Administration and Marketing, Pam spent time in the non-profit industry developing skills in digital marketing and creating digital content for two years. She then made the transition to content marketing for San Francisco start ups.

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