Economy spurs job site growth

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Rising unemployment and general uncertainty is a growth opportunity for job sites
Rising unemployment and general uncertainty is a growth opportunity for job sites

The job search category was the fastest growing content site category for Americans in 2008, and employment marketers are boosting their efforts to reach the unemployed, those looking for new opportunities or those afraid of losing their jobs.

More than half a million − 598,000 − jobs were lost last month, the most in a month in 35 years. This pushed the unem­ployment rate to 7.6%, with 11.6 million people out of work. The historical rise in numbers con­sequently has seen more people coming online to search for jobs.

The number of visitors in the job search category has grown 51% to 18.8 million visitors, according to ComScore Inc. During the final months of 2008, which typically experience seasonal softness in job searching behavior due to the holi­days, traffic to job sites was some of the busiest in 2008.

“It is a combination of multiple factors,” said Andrew Lipsman, director of industry analysis at ComScore. “More people are out of work, and more people who have jobs are worried [their jobs] won't be there tomorrow and they may be doing some early legwork to see what opportunities are out there.”

For SimplyHired.com, a metasearch engine that ranked in Com­Score's top 10 job sites visited, this is the perfect time to reach out to consumers. The site, which has been around since 2005, is work­ing on its brand awareness. Trying to reach consumers when traffic is high, it is hosting events and webi­nars about how to find a job or how to take advantage of tough times by starting your own company.

“Many new companies were founded during tough economic times, when people had to be cre­ative and make their own jobs,” said Katya White, marketing man­ager at Simply Hired Inc.

The firm also is keeping up its search engine marketing to drive traffic to its site.

“The fact is that jobs and employment are a hot topic that will continue throughout this year, so we want to take the opportunity to get the word out about the Sim­plyHired brand,” White said.

As a part of this effort, it is beef­ing up its e-mail newsletters, with more information content about techniques on how to job search, and how to sharpen one's inter­view skills. In addition, the brand is teaching the unemployed how to take advantage of social networks to look for work.

“Not enough people are exploit­ing their social networks to help them find work,” White said. “We want to help people [discover] cre­ative ways to find work.”

As a part of this social networking push, SimplyHired has entered into partnerships with MySpace and Facebook.

For Dice.com, a job search site that caters to technology professionals, traffic is at an all-time high. January traffic is up 15% year-over-year, and resumes posted increased by 20% for the same time period since last year. While some of this is due to rising unemploy­ment, some of it can be attributed to Dice's boosted marketing efforts, said Tom Silver, SVP and CMO of Dice Holdings.

Dice uses targeted e-mail, search, radio and banners on niche technology sites to spread the word about its services. In addi­tion, the site is hosting funny videos and a social community where users can “rant” about employer or jobs.

“We want technology professionals to believe and understand that Dice is a hub and community location that they can come to if they are actively seeking a job or just to hear about opportunities,” said Silver.

Monster.com also has taken advantage of this increased job search traffic by updating its Web site and launching a new campaign to promote this. The campaign, which was created along with BBDO Worldwide, emphasizes the importance of finding the right job, while highlighting a new suite of tools available to seekers and employers at the new Monster.com.

“This timely campaign speaks to the breadth of jobs and resources we offer to help people navigate today's challenging environment,” said Ted Gilvar, EVP and global CMO of Monster, in a statement.

The brand took advantage of the Super Bowl to promote its new tools in an online contest called “Department of Fandemo­nium.” The promotion, which involved a partnership with the NFL, called consumers to come onto Monster.com to apply to be the first ever Director of Fandemonium, an agent who will serve as an ambassador for Monster and the NFL at several events during the 2009 NFL season and who also will receive a $100,000 signing bonus from Monster. By applying for this playful posi­tion, consumers on the site would learn how to use the new tools.

The campaign was promoted with televi­sion ads during the game and online.

CareerBuilder.com, the second most trafficked job site in the US, according to ComScore, also took advantage of the Super Bowl to launch a new campaign, working with agency Wieden & Kennedy.

The theme of the campaign is “Start Building,” which, like SimplyHired.com, helps position CareerBuilder.com as more than a place for good jobs, but alsoas a partner that can help job seekers build their careers.

Michael Erwin, senior manager of corpo­rate communications at CareerBuilder.com, said that the firm is not, to his knowledge, working on any advertising to address the economic situation.

However, he said, “What we are doing is making sure our messaging is appropriate for this time.”

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