ApplyDirect (ASX:AD1) has announced that it will collaborate and participate in Google’s Cloud Job Discovery beta program, which introduces Google’s job-search and machine-learning technology to the Australian market. ApplyDirect’s adoption of Cloud Job Discovery is one of the first of its kind in Australia. Cloud Job Discovery is part of the Google for Jobs initiative, powering smarter job searches and recommendations to make the right jobs for the right job seekers easier to discover. Google for Jobs is a search engine powered by Google. Launched in the US last year, it allows job seekers to search and apply for open positions directly from Google search, with greater visibility of employer brands and role descriptions. Results in the US to date have indicated a significant increase in the click-to-applied-position ratio.
Analyst comment: this announcement is a potential game-changer for ApplyDirect, as it could position the company to become the go-to solution for employers seeking maximum exposure online. As highlighted in our initial report, Google for Jobs was always going to be rolled out in Australia after its success in the US. We were, however, unsure when this would occur or how it would affect ApplyDirect.
ApplyDirect’s announcement indicates that Google for Jobs could be introduced in Australia within the next 12 months and, as the first group to collaborate with Google prior to the expected launch, ApplyDirect will have a significant advantage in this space. Why? Because ApplyDirect’s clients are likely to receive priority ranking on the basis that their advertised positions comply with Google search engine requirements. And that higher ranking equates to increased exposure and thus the number and quality of candidates applying for positions. We believe ApplyDirect was afforded this opportunity because it’s set to power two of Australia’s largest employer career pages – those of the NSW and Victorian governments. That equates to more than 800,000 employees (nearly 50% of all Australian public-sector jobs) and by extension a meaningful number of advertised positions. In our opinion, therefore, the launch of Google for Jobs in Australia will result in greater penetration for ApplyDirect clients, which in turn will lead to a greater number of sales/clients for that company later in the year.
Valuation: we maintain our valuation for ApplyDirect at $0.43/share (share price $0.12).