Ep. 11 – Optimize Media and Improve ROI

How to Optimize Media Performance and Improve ROI

Do you remember how it felt when you were a kid and you found a fistful of loose change between the couch cushions or a $5 note on the sidewalk? Well, that’s how it feels for us when we find money in a client’s media budget that could be better optimized to increase their ROI. Figuring out how to optimize media performance and what needs to be tweaked gives us the roadmap to fully maximizing the ROI on our clients’ recruitment strategies.

The Media Optimization Process

We can break the media optimization process into three basic steps:

Step One: Evaluate the success of the current recruitment strategy, diving deeply into how well your current media are performing. How many hires did it make? What types of hires did it make? What was that cost per hire? Basically, did it meet the objectives you set for it?

Step Two: Reduce unnecessary costs by examining the tools that have been purchased but have not produced the results you want. (We’ll talk about how to gauge that success in a bit.)

Step Three: Adopt new strategies and technologies to increase efficiencies and meet goals for the coming year. (A quick note here: Media companies are constantly releasing new products with the promise that this is the tool you need to solve all your hiring problems, and it’s up to you to separate what works from what doesn’t. Before adding new tools, take a look at how well the core product has performed for you, and always ask for proof of past performance before agreeing to play the guinea pig.)

While that sounds easy enough, it gets more complex as you start to consider how you actually measure success and the steps you need to take in order to meet your objectives. These are the factors we need to examine when we talk about media optimization.

How to Achieve Optimization

When you’re looking to optimize your media spend, you’ll want to take a close look at both your job content, namely the job title and the job description, and your ATS functionality. These three factors are key to maximizing your ROI.

Job Title:

Not only does the job title have a significant impact on how often your posting appears in search, it also determines whether or not a candidate will actually click on your posting once they see that title pop up in the search results. Basically, your goal in optimizing the title of your job posting will be to make it 1.) Searchable and 2.) Recognizable.

Always do your research on popular search terms and common job titles for your industry. Focus on the words candidates use when they look for a job online. Then incorporate those terms effectively into your title. One proven method to improve your search ranking is to put the most important word first in your title. If, for example, you’re looking for an emergency room RN, your job title should be “RN-Emergency Room.” Also, make sure that the terms you’re using are recognizable to any potential candidate. While your job title may make sense within your company, it may not make sense to a potential candidate.

Job Description:

We cannot stress this enough: A job description is not the same as a job requisition. A job description not only needs to describe the position, it also needs to provide that information in a way that entices the ideal candidate to find out more. You never want to make your candidates scroll to find the information they want. The most important information should always appear near the beginning of your description. In fact, a study by Indeed found that between 700 and 2,000 characters is the sweet spot, yielding, on average, 30% more applicants than job descriptions that fall outside of this range.


First of all, let’s consider what particular challenge are you trying to solve. Most of the time, our clients prefer that the application process goes through the applicant tracking system. However, if you have a particularly difficult position to fill or need a large number of applicants, it may be worth it to take advantage of one of the different application processes that may make it easier for candidates to apply and are offered by your media vendor. While we certainly don’t suggest this action for everyone, if your media spend is not producing the results you need, this is another factor to consider.

KPIs and ROI: Identifying Key Indicators to Improve Performance

It can be easy to get lost in the multitude of metrics involved in the media optimization process. That’s why you need to take care to identify your key performance indicators—the numbers that will allow you to properly evaluate how effectively the media is helping to achieve your specific goals. Basically, “Did this media help us do what we set out to do?”

Understanding not only what a specific metric means but also what it means for you is essential to the media optimization process. For example, say your average cost per application is $5.50 on a specific media. Is that good or bad? How can you tell? The answer to that question is entirely dependent on your organization and the position for which you’re hiring. There’s no universal answer to the question of, “Is $5.50 too much to spend per application?” So, to figure out how your media needs to be optimized, you must first determine which KPIs to measure and what success looks like for your organization.

Ongoing Analysis

Media optimization requires constant analysis and adjustment. Think of it this way: Spring cleaning comes once a year, and it’s traditionally a time when people deep clean their homes—shampoo the carpet under the furniture, rearrange the cupboards, get rid of unwanted clothes, etc. However, just because they cleaned the house thoroughly over the course of one week in April doesn’t mean that they don’t have to perform periodic upkeep—like vacuuming or dusting—throughout the rest of the year.

In the same way, just because you’ve put in the work to overhaul your media spend today, doesn’t mean that it won’t need periodic fine-tuning before budget time rolls around again next year. This process takes time, especially if you’re still learning how to read the story of your data. However, just like the satisfaction of a clean house, the feeling you get when everything falls into place is well worth the effort.

And, remember, S2E Solutions is here to help. We collaborate with companies to optimize their media spend with a deep dive into the data, helping them to understand how each metric tells the story of their recruitment strategy. With a focus on data-backed solutions, we help companies execute the strategy that produces the best bang for their buck.

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