The Objective

By November 2015, the M&S site had nearly 700,000 sessions, 500,000 unique visitors and 2m page views for the year to date. Average time on certain pages was over five minutes and all hiring needs were met. At face value there was no need for change.

However, we wanted the site to work harder for us, so we identified three key areas:

1. Improved job search experience

2. Reduction in media spend

3. Increased audience engagement

The Solution

1. Improved job search experience

Results from user testing was clear; accessing job information is the priority. Like many businesses, M&S has a number of ATS feeds which made searching all roles difficult. To find a role, visitors needed to visit the specific page. To search again, users had to retrace their steps. This took too long.

The solution was TalentBrew, a middleware that aggregates data from multiple ATS feeds into one search.

2. Reduction in media spend

The purpose of the middleware was to unify the search. The platform also helps reduce media spend through optimising organic search. Each role in the ATS has an individually optimised landing page created, specifically targeting long-tail combinations of location and job title. These pages support individual role SEO. However, the collective SEO equity of fresh and static content on the site influences search engine rankings, helping reducing reliance on media.

3. Increased audience engagement

Inside M&S is our content hub, where we show stories of M&S employees. Visitors are able to ask questions directly to employees via WhatsApp and Talk to our Insiders. These channels also help us to understand more about our audience and inform future content.

The Results

With simpler search functionality, candidate journeys were immediately shortened.

In 2016, there was a 68% increase in visits to jobs via organic search with 730,000+ sessions in August 2016 alone. This has been supported by proven results: applications via organic search increased by an average of 21% month on month. In July 2016, 3,100 candidates applied directly from search, helping reduce media spend. Over 225,000 people have applied so far this year.

Over 2016, the Inside M&S articles were viewed 120,000+ times. With refined content, bounce rates have reduced by 13.5%.

WhatsApp receives 50+ messages a day, equivalent to £0.02 per conversation. Meet Our Insiders, launched towards the end of 2015, has already had over 17,500 discussion views from 50+ discussions.