Monster Gives Users Control Over Ads

When a new tool can deliver better fitting jobs, while also offering users control over their online privacy, you have to think win-win.

That’s what Monster’s updated CAN ads can do. For the first time in any of the job ad networks, and certainly rare among all behavioral advertising, online users can refine their job preferences or opt-out of the program all together.

Tom Chevalier, Monster’s product manager who lead the development team, explained that giving users more control over the advertising they see is at the leading edge of an industry trend. With more users savvy to behaviorally targeted ads, research shows they prefer them to scatter-shot ads. But there’s also an interest in controlling their preferences.

“Users haven’t yet formed opinions on behavioral targeting,” says Chevalier. But Monster’s own survey of job seekers discovered that up to 83 percent of them want relevant job ads, targeted to them based on their behavior.

So that’s what they are getting.

A bit confused by what this means? Here’s a primer:

Besides classic job postings, Monster also offers employers off-site advertising through its Career Advertising Network. It’s a collection of thousands of sites including newspaperd, Citysearch, MSN, and many more. Every visitor to those sites is “analyzed” and a relevant job is presented.

The first time a visitor encounters a CAN ad, the analysis is rudimentary; the ads they see are based on their geographic location. If they click on an ad, the type of job is now incorporated into their cookie. Over time, as they click on more and more jobs, Monster refines the targeting.

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Now, those ads have an extra link: “Interest Based Ad.” Click it and the user goes to a Monster page where they can refine their preferences themselves. Or opt-out of the behavioral targeting all together, in which case they see a generic job ad.

To be sure, the wording is obscure. I don’t know that I would understand it to mean there is a way for me to control my ad preferences. On the other hand, there isn’t room in the ad for a detailed explanation. Perhaps curiosity alone will prompt visitors to click into it.

Those who do, and choose to manage their preferences, will be rewarded by getting more precise jobs. Besides indicating geographies and occupations, users can indicate career and education level.

I asked Chevalier if Monster had considered offering even more choices. “High levels of granularity,” he said, “tend not to give (job seekers) much more value.” Filtering too narrowly risks missing desirable opportunities, while a broad selection gets too many choices.

It’s a tough balancing act to get it, as Goldilocks might say, “just right.”

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


3 Comments on “Monster Gives Users Control Over Ads

  1. I don’t see how this will be very valuable for users nor do I see a user taking additional steps to get targeted banner ads.

  2. Just as a follow-on and to make corporate recruiters and sourcers aware, I am working with a company called JasperLabs and they have a technology that can backend a corporate career website and produce similiarly behaviorially targeted ads or create targeted ads on external networks to drive candidates to microsite landing pages. The tool uses dynamic content optimization to enable this very cost effectively.

    While showing relevant ads should be a default, most often it is not – showing generic marketing or sales positions for example instead of more specific ads based on experience level, geography, interests. A little high level example is, maybe I want to run a career ad on to attract senior level IT people. With this tool, the tool will extract senior level job ads from the corporate website along with relevant creative and create the banner on Instead of showing ALL the IT jobs or a generic creative ad on or a slice of ads….that is the gist.

    More targeted ads reduce the time wading through unqualified candidates and increase sourcing potential which can exist beyond the corporate career site.

    If anyone is interested in learning more contact me or visit

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