Why Monster.com is going back to TV advertising after a decade

Monster, the job search site, is putting its media dollars back into TV after a decade.

The company, which was one of the original dot coms, took a decade off of doing top of the funnel brand advertising. During that time, as competitors like Indeed and Zip Recruiter cropped up, Monster lost its place as the dominant job search brand.

Now, as the company is working to win back that top slot and win over younger consumers, it is allocating between 10% and 20% of its media dollars back to traditional advertising. In 2018, Monster spent $12.9 million on media, per Kantar Media. Monster CMO Jonathan Beamer declined to share what Monster’s marketing budget is and said that external media reporting would be inaccurate, as they typically track only traditional advertising.

“For the last decade, we got really enamored with lower-funnel advertising,” said Beamer. “Most of our dollars were essentially navigational media, taking someone who has expressed some interest in job search and seeing if we could win that dog fight to get them to Monster. Those were 10 rough years for Monster.”

Over the last decade, for established brands, the possibility of shifting dollars away from brand-building advertising to offerings with more readily available metrics — for Monster, that was direct-response, traffic partnerships with other job boards and some display advertising — was attractive. But that shift hasn’t actually been as simple as brands thought it would be.

“This is a pretty big trend for brands,” wrote Jeremy Braud, director of media and connections planning at independent full-service agency Peter Mayer in an email. “Many, like Procter & Gamble, have realized by not supporting the upper funnel and focusing primarily on lower funnel metrics they were decreasing overall sales and market share.” 

The focus on spending media dollars on immediately measurable media can be effective for well-known brands but that kind of marketing won’t create an emotional connection with consumers, wrote Chris Sojka, CCO of creative shop Madwell, in an email, which can result in younger consumers not connecting with a brand.

“We took so long off of the upper funnel brand marketing that essentially we lost a generation,” said Beamer. “Millennials — if you look at our brand metrics, we are much stronger in 35-plus, which is a really dangerous place to be. It really is that decade that we took off of advertising.”

The other roughly 80% of the budget is spent on performance marketing with 10% spent on programmatic.

Monster certainly isn’t the only brand to reallocate dollars to traditional advertising. Even direct-to-consumer brands that found quick success on platforms like Facebook have been putting more dollars to traditional advertising. “Traditional media, although more ‘wasteful’ in targeting, is better at getting inside your mind,” wrote Braud. “An ad that is only targeted to you through digital means it doesn’t create the shared identity of a brand.”

“In a world where the internet is filled with distrust, large scale traditional advertising can subconsciously demonstrate a brand’s scale, and therefore, trustworthiness,” wrote Madwell’s Sojka. “And it plants a seed that can be harvested digitally.”

Monster is not only looking to win over consumers by moving back into traditional advertising but also by expanding the way it serves up job offerings to consumers. This week, it launched a new app, Monster Studios, to help HR departments create video job descriptions.

“Instead of just these texts-based job descriptions we’re moving more into video because we know that’s way younger people want to consume content,” said Beamer, adding that Monster is uniquely positioned because it is not only a brand but also a place for other brands to advertise. “We have to build both sides of marketplace.”

Monster is also investing more dollars to build out its tech stack to create more dynamic display ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, serving up new job listings to candidates who would fit the job description rather than just a general ad for Monster.


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