After Years Of Chasing Clicks, Monster Doubles Down On Its Brand

After 15 years as the biggest player in the online job search category, Monster got comfortable at the top – and began losing market share to competitors.

The company had stopped innovating on its core product and pumped all marketing spend into low-funnel media at the expense of its brand. At the same time, new competitors emerged with different approaches to the market.

“If you look at how we were engaging with audiences, a lot of that is part of the story,” said Monster CMO Jonathan Beamer. “We got really enamored with the lowest-funnel attribution tied to media. We stopped advertising above the line. We stopped reaching out to passive candidates in a meaningful way.”

As LinkedIn, Indeed and other challengers appeared with different features and value propositions to job-seekers, Monster’s audience began to skew older and less active.

“Those folks are less likely to be entry level,” Beamer said. “That kind of bent the cycle.”

Beamer began consulting for Monster in 2017 and joined the company as CMO the same year. His first course of action: Revive the Monster brand. That required loosening its grip on attribution, reaching out to new prospects and measuring against higher-level brand metrics.

“We know we still have to harvest our customers, but we’ve shifted focus to make sure we’re reaching out to the rest of the population,” Beamer said.

Monster also fine-tuned its messaging. In mid-April, the company launched a video campaign with its agency, MullenLowe, that highlights some of the challenges of finding a job. Monster built the campaign to appeal to younger job seekers, catching them first with in-feed or pre-roll video and then running look-alike models to find similar audiences.

“By April we were back on TV and in YouTube,” he said. “We’ve been putting a finer point to bring more emotion to our ads and acknowledge that it’s difficult to put yourself out there.”

Now that it’s officially relaunched, Monster is working on new products and features to modernize the online job search category, which Beamer argues hasn’t changed all that much since the company was founded two decades ago. For example, Monster recently launched an ad unit that lets recruiters post Stories-like videos for their job ads instead of text-based descriptions.

Monster is also better leveraging its first-party data to send relevant job opportunities to candidates through its alerts platform and give job seekers tips and best practices for finding the right opportunity.

“There are still gaps in the market and people are not satisfied with their job search,” Beamer said. “We’re modernizing this category by asking, how do people like to consume content?”

Monster is also rethinking how it sells job ad space to recruiters, taking a page from the digital advertising industry. The site currently sells pay-per-click and lead gen ads through its Career ad network, but the industry hasn’t evolved to become truly programmatic.

“There are not many places in the recruiting industry where you can place a job ad and optimize that bid daily or minute by minute,” Beamer said. “That’s a huge opportunity as we mature to where digital advertising is. We know we have to catch up there.”

But Monster has only just begun its transformation. Going fully programmatic could take time, since there isn’t an infinite amount of job postings when compared to digital ad inventory. And recruiters may not want to learn all the skills of a programmatic marketer.

“We have a long way to go,” Beamer said. “We’re early on that journey. What we’re doing more than anything is promising marketplace that Monster is prepared to lead again.”

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