What you can learn from Indeed’s CPA rollout

Indeed's cpa rolloutHow did Indeed’s CPA roll­out go? Well…take a look at these Trust­Pi­lot com­ments. Or read this AIM Group arti­cle. Or lis­ten to this Chad and Cheese pod­cast. Or lis­ten to Steven Roth­berg and Peter Zoll­man. Or…well, you get the pic­ture.

It was­n’t pret­ty.

But run­ning down Indeed is tru­ly not the pur­pose of this post – real­ly. We all – even mul­ti-bil­lion mul­ti-nation­al indus­try lead­ers – mis­takes. The key val­ue of mis­takes, be they big or small, is that you can from them. That’s what I want to do here – so that your job does­n’t some­day end up as the focus of so much indus­try ire. So, let’s take a clos­er look at Indeed’s CPA roll­out.

The back­ground is this: for some time, Indeed has been lay­ing the ground for mov­ing their employ­ers from a cost per click (CPC) mod­el to a cost per appli­ca­tion (CPA) mod­el. This can be seen as both a nat­ur­al pro­gres­sion from their his­toric focus on CPC, and a way to dif­fer­en­ti­ate their ser­vice from all the oth­er CPC ven­dors.  The CPA mod­el was test­ed last year, and then in Octo­ber the com­pa­ny announced that it would be mov­ing all employ­ers over to CPA dur­ing 2023.

OK, so what went wrong? And with who?

First: remem­ber that Indeed’s employ­ers are lit­er­al­ly every com­pa­ny out there. Although it can be argued that the job board works bet­ter for spe­cif­ic types of employ­ers, the real­i­ty is that almost every employ­er has tried and/or reg­u­lar­ly uses Indeed. Sev­er­al years ago the com­pa­ny ramped up its mar­ket­ing and now it’s a rare employ­er that has­n’t heard or seen an Indeed ad, or been con­tact­ed by their vig­or­ous sales team. So think about that: imag­ine if your cus­tomers were lit­er­al­ly every­one in the mar­ket. You’d have mom-and-pop shops, star­tups, mid-sized firms, mul­ti-nation­als, and every­thing in between – in every ver­ti­cal you could imag­ine. (And if this in fact describes your cus­tomers, then you are prob­a­bly cheer­ing Indeed’s CPA roll­out!).

Big com­pa­nies han­dle hir­ing much dif­fer­ent­ly than tiny ones do. Com­pa­nies with HR and teams han­dle hir­ing dif­fer­ent­ly than those that rely on the own­er to make the hires. And so on. Who seems to be most upset about the CPA roll­out? Small and medi­um sized (SMBs). Why? The gen­er­al tenor of com­ments seems to be: What hap­pened? did this change? Why is every­thing sud­den­ly so expen­sive? Etc.

#1: When you make ANY change that affects your cus­tomers, com­mu­ni­cate, com­mu­ni­cate, com­mu­ni­cate. You should in fact over-com­mu­ni­cate! Your cus­tomers should know how the change affects them, why the change is made, how it ben­e­fits them, and what they need to do to make the change work. You can­not tell them too many times about the change – believe me! (I have been involved in sim­i­lar ker­fuf­fles  in past jobs). Remem­ber – your cus­tomers aren’t always lis­ten­ing to you. They have oth­er things to do. So you must com­mu­ni­cate to them mul­ti­ple times, in mul­ti­ple , until they hear you. As far as I can tell, in Indeed’s CPA roll­out they did very lit­tle com­mu­ni­ca­tion to their cus­tomers about the change (and if I’m wrong, let me know!).

Sec­ond: don’t for­get how hard you fought to land your cus­tomers. If they are valu­able to you, treat them that way. Do every­thing you can to make the change easy for them. If that means one-on-ones with cer­tain cus­tomers, so be it. If that means some spe­cial webi­na­rs, or an online wiz­ard, or a bunch of give­aways, so be it.

If, how­ev­er, you are mak­ing this change to help your best cus­tomers, and get rid of your not-so-great cus­tomers, ignore the above. Treat the best cus­tomers right, com­mu­ni­cate like crazy to them – and do the min­i­mum for your oth­er cus­tomers. (Some have spec­u­lat­ed that this is what Indeed is actu­al­ly doing. I have no idea!).

Les­son #2: Under­stand why you made the change. If you aren’t clear about why the change is being made, and who it ben­e­fits – well, it’s time to take a pause. Price hikes often work this way; per­haps your ser­vice was under­priced to begin with, so you had lots of cus­tomers. If you talk to me, I will tell you to dou­ble your prices. Yes, you will lose some of your cus­tomers – but the ones that find val­ue in your ser­vices will pay, as they rec­og­nize they are still get­ting what they need at dou­ble the price. You are mak­ing the change for a rea­son. 

Are we clear? Have we learned some­thing use­ful from Indeed’s CPA roll­out? Then….class dis­missed!

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