How a targeted customer journey can transform military recruitment

Army recruitment has come a long way. Even with advances in tech it can be challenging. Read how Capita, the British Army’s recruitment partner, does it.

Photo of army men walking in uniform

By Vincenzo De Simone

Posted on 02-05-2021

Army recruitment has come a long way since Lord Kitchener’s iconic ‘Your country needs you!’ finger point was first published to encourage the British public to enlist during WW1. Even with advances in technology, finding the right people and encouraging them to take on one of the country’s most intense and demanding careers can be challenging. It’s a life-changing commitment, and requires a recruitment process that is respectful, perceptive and well-informed.

The Ministry of Defense is tasked with increasing the recruitment target for the British Army each year in order to deliver on its operational commitments. But increased demand, coupled with a reduction in the talent pool due to social, political, and demographic factors such as falling unemployment rates for 16 to 24-year-olds and greater levels of obesity in young people, means the search for viable recruits is becoming more challenging with each passing year.

This is the challenge that Capita — the British Army’s recruitment partner — has been facing since 2012. To ensure the right people are applying for the right roles, the Army’s customer journey needs to be meticulous. Potential recruits need to be fully informed and prepared before enrolling, and that means providing them with exactly the right content at exactly the right time, ultimately encouraging them to register and apply for basic training.

Finding the right people for the job

Capita’s mission was to secure over 12,000 recruits during the 2019/2020 recruitment year. However, due to complex data that spanned multiple solutions, Capita was unable to access the insights it needed to create the nurturing and effective customer journeys required for prospective Army applicants.

In order to meet its business goal, Capita required a complete view of who was visiting the British Army website, how long they were spending on each page, and what job roles they were interested in, for example officer, reserve, or recruit.

To achieve this, Capita partnered with OmniGov and Adobe, using Adobe Analytics and Adobe Advertising Cloud to form a holistic technology solution that connected all digital marketing efforts, in order to gain a better understanding of the customer journey. With that insight, the platform could autonomously control which ads were served where, when, and to whom, increasing engagement and the level of quality traffic driven to the British Army recruitment website.

That way, Capita could track and record the very moment a potential candidate interacts with British Army ads, with added understanding into their interactions on the Army website — be it dwell time, bounce rate, pages read per session; as well as noting their ‘last touch’ — whether they left the website from a specific page, finished an application, or started applying and quit halfway through.

Backing the best: Optimising advertising spend

By utilising Adobe Analytics, Capita captured data from over 2,000 different metrics, with Adobe Advertising Cloud making intelligent advertising recommendations, such as re-assigning programmatic spend to best-performing channels.

Using these insights, Capita identified that Search was its top-performing channel for driving more applications. Capita increased Search ad spend and was rewarded almost immediately by a 14 percent increase in registrations.

This level of optimisation required a deep understanding of exactly who was browsing the Army website, and what they’re engaging with while online. For example, Capita quickly uncovered that first-time visitors to the website often began their journey by researching basic information — such as salary, contract length, and positions available. Armed with this insight, Capita now serves newly-engaged candidates with personalised content that ushers them further down the sales funnel — such as information about basic training or their nearest Army career centre.

Conversely, if a registration has been started but not finished, that prospect is automatically excluded from generic, entry-level ads pointing to generic landing pages (such as the homepage or pages they’d already visited), as prospects would have already passed this stage of the sales cycle and instead directs them to more relevant pages along the customer journey.

This level of integration between analytics and ad tech mean Capita not only possesses 360-degree visibility and control over its data, but it also allows previously disparate teams and agencies to work together on the same centralised piece of technology — no more data sitting in walled gardens.

Saluting extraordinary results

Thanks to this new approach, applications acquired via Adobe touchpoints have increased by 412 percent YoY, and potential recruits are five times more likely to complete an application if they’ve arrived on the British Army website via an Adobe ad.

This points to a marked increase in quality traffic and more informed customer journeys, with visitors to the Army website from an Adobe-served ad spending 35 percent more time browsing than from non-Adobe sources. Higher-quality traffic equals more registrations, and more registrations mean more recruits taking on basic training, which is Capita’s primary objective.

This fusion of data analysis and programmatic technology, autonomously learning off each other, means Capita approaches potential recruits in the right way, supporting them with the right information, and guiding them to apply at the right time.

What’s more, constant optimisation means every single programmatic penny is spent wisely. For example, should a prospect stop engaging with ads or exhibit ‘negative’ on-site behaviour (e.g. high bounce rate, single page views, low dwell time), they’re automatically excluded from targeting, in order to minimise wasted media spend. This approach has resulted in a 35 percent reduction in the cost per application. Lower spend and better results? Every marketer’s dream.

Furthermore, these results only represent the beginning of Capita’s journey. Now the foundation has been laid for Capita to consistently exceed business goals in years to come, it has set the standard for more targeted recruitment campaigns that will attract and appeal to more diverse audiences, the main goal for 2021 and beyond.

Topics: Government, Analytics, Experience Cloud, Customer Stories, Communications for government, Enterprise Customers

Products: Experience Cloud, Advertising Cloud, Analytics