Employment Ads Benchmarks: Which Digital Ad Channels Perform Best?

Here at Granular, we’ve had the privilege of working with over 50 different companies in multiple countries to assist with their hiring needs over the last few years. We have been able to drive nearly 150,000 applicants to these positions in the past year alone. There has been a lot of testing through various ad formats, channels and bid strategies.

With this vast amount of investment on behalf of our clients, we have been able to compile a significant amount of data on what channels perform best when it comes to getting the highest ROI.

While we have worked to hire Network Architects, Engineers and Business Development Managers, most of these positions have been largely blue-collar, industrial manufacturing-type positions.

Each channel has its pros and cons when it comes to targeting, so your mileage may vary on hiring for a more highly targeted, specialized position.

Click-Through Rates

If your primary goal is awareness and engagement with your brand, Twitter seems by far your best option. The one caveat here is that Twitter counts clicks a bit different than every other platform, as they define clicks on promoted ads as “Includes clicks on the URL (shortened or regular links), profile pic, screen name, username, detail, hashtags, and likes,” while the other social networks do not.

Cost Per Click

Cost Per Click

Now, again adding in the caveat about how a click is counted by Twitter, all the rest of these social platforms have CPCs in line with non-industry-specific norms. LinkedIn is notorious for having high CPCs, primarily due to its more precise targeting methods. Their targeting is highly superior to ad platforms like Reddit or Snapchat. Indeed is a platform specifically designed for this exact type of advertising, so you’d assume you’ll be getting high-quality applicants (but more on that later). For Google & Bing search, you again can generally expect relevant traffic (assuming you are managing your account well, of course). As the targeting capabilities decrease, so do the costs per click.

Conversion Rates

Conversion Rates

This is where the fun begins. How many new applicants are we bringing in through our advertising? Remember when I told you to be wary of Twitter ads’ ridiculously high engagement? Yeah, we failed to get a single applicant from nearly three months of advertising on the platform.

The clear winner here is Facebook with a whopping 35% of people expressing interest in the positions we had been advertising. With that being said, Google search & Indeed both having conversion rates of over 10% is pretty phenomenal as well, followed closely by LinkedIn at just over 8% as well.

Cost Per Conversion

Cost Per Conversion

As you can probably expect, the cost per conversion ranking is tied closely to the conversion rate chart. Facebook once again wins here, bringing in new applicant leads for under $3 per applicant. Google search & Indeed are also numbers 2 & 3 on the conversion rate rankings. They find themselves on the podium once again, maintaining the cost per applicant still under $20.


With the labor shortage America continues to face, it is of the utmost importance for companies to maximize their advertising dollars when hiring to find as many relevant applicants as possible. There are some pretty clear winners and losers here.

When looking for a large volume of hiring, Facebook seems to be the place to start. Indeed, which exists solely for hiring, would also be a sufficient spot to launch hiring campaigns. Search campaigns would also be a good place to advertise.

If you have the budget and needs for highly-specialized individuals, LinkedIn should certainly be a part of your strategy as well. Unless you have a mega-budget or have goals beyond urgently generating applicant leads, I would typically recommend avoiding Reddit, Snapchat, the display network and Twitter.

Have you had similar experiences with hiring ads? Have you found success on another ad platform not mentioned here? Leave us a comment.