Not every advertising option is equally useful for research, and I don’t think truck advertising or billboards can play a big role. But some other advertising platforms can give us invaluable data – even before we invest any money in them.
The two social networks with giant amounts of professional data, LinkedIn and Facebook, offer to explore to whom to advertise. While we do that exploration as the potential users of the ads, we can assess available talent pools. This is a largely underutilized resource to use in research.
Take a look at these screenshots of the dialogs to help define the audiences for advertising. These dialogs can answer the questions any self-respecting Sourcer would try to answer before looking for candidates:
Where are the skills we are looking for? – Companies, job title, locations, graduates from which schools?
(To illustrate the ad audience exploration capabilities in the screenshots, I have inserted some parameters, such as target company names, skills, etc.)
LinkedIn Ads (note – this data is available to any user, even the basic):
Facebook (this data is also available to anyone):
For each entered set of parameters – locations, employers, skills, and more – these tools show us the available pools of professionals. Spending some time with these and similar tools is a solid way to get some market intelligence data – and to be much better prepared to source for individuals with target skills.