By James Carswell

SERP tests on Google are really coming thick and fast at the moment. Hot on the heels of the display URL test we reported earlier this week, our recruitment PPC specialist noticed an even more interesting ad test in the recruitment vertical.

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New style recruitment ads?

If you look at the screenshot below which shows the top 3 ads in the banner position for a search on "web analyst jobs" you'll notice that the description line is much longer than normal:

Job numbers in recruitment ads

In fact, this is displaying the full ad description plus an extra description line which hasn't been taken from the AdWords campaign. The format of the extra line is the same for each ad, suggesting that it is dynamically generated and added by Google. The two key pieces of information are the number of jobs available and then a reinforcement of the brand, in this case big UK names such as NMA, Revolution Jobs and Design Week.

Is this a clue as to which ad messages work best?

This may give an indication that Google feels by displaying the number of available jobs the ad will have a higher clickthrough rate, so if you run a recruitment campaign I'd recommend testing this if you are not already. Of course we like to think we may have had a hand in this as we have been using our feed management tool to insert job volumes into our PPC ads for over two years now.

One interesting point to note is that each of these websites uses Madgex Job Board software. I'm not yet sure if this is related or purely coincidental.

It appears that this is a very limited test at the moment, but an interesting one for recruitment companies nonetheless. I haven't been able to replicate it on different PCs or even different searches on the same computer.

Here's a full view of the search engine results page:

New style recruitment PPC ads

UPDATE: Job ad extensions?

Some of the big names in the search industry have been dubbing these job ad extensions. I just want to be clear that while it's possible that Google may introduce this kind of functionality as a new type of ad extension, this is not currently how they work. Right now there is no way of opting in or out (not that you'd want to opt out!) or linking up to a specific job feed.

I've also been asked whether the company behind the job board software has struck a deal with Google or opened up their technology to allow this information to be displayed. I've been informed that this is not the case - it appears that Google may instead be scraping the websites to find the number of jobs available.

Here's another example, this time showing only 1 of the 3 ads with the extra line:

Google job ad extension

The question to ask here is Why do Google not show the extra line in the other 2 ads? The answer to this could be that the other 2 ads already mention job numbers in their actual ad text description, so Google may not deem it necessary to add the extra line in these cases.

This brings up a potential dilemma. Do you remove your job count from your description text in the hope that Google will grant you a free extra line, helping your ad to stand out, OR do you leave that information in your ad because it's likely to increase CTR assuming these job ad extensions are not showing for competitors?

At the moment, as this appears to be a limited test, I'd be inclined to use job numbers in ads, but if we start seeing these ad extensions more and more then a test would be warranted. Use one ad with the job count and one ad without, and see which gives the highest CTR. This is the kind of thing you should be testing anyway!

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