PPC for Lawyers
Pay Per Click ads or PPC is one of the most effective digital marketing techniques available today. Compared to traditional marketing options, PPC for lawyers is flexible, affordable and effective at attracting potential clients when they are looking for legal services in your area.
Unlike radio, TV or print ads, PPC campaigns provide conversion metrics. For example “Tags” can be applied to your ads and landing pages to see exactly where and when people chose to contact you. The ability to provide clients with an exact dollar and cents cost to acquire every client has transformed the way we advertise for legal professionals like yourself.
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What is PPC Advertising?
PPC advertising is when a digital ad is presented to users while online. The most common PPC for lawyers is Google Ads. We have all seen thousands of Google Ads whether we realize it or not and that platform alone represents around 90% of all web searches in North America. It is extremely important that your PPC strategy includes a Google Ad campaign, the more competitive your market and area of practice the more it has to be optimized and dialed in.
PPC goes beyond Google. Other search engines like BING and Yahoo also offer similar services as do social media platforms. Meta Ads (Facebook and Instagram) would be the next most-popular advertising platform due to the sheer volume of users and advertiser options. Following suit would be platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn (especially effective for B2B) and Tik Tok. Each platform has a specific demographic that makes up the majority of daily users so it’s important to know who your target is and where they spend their time online.
By knowing where your target spends their time law firm PPC agencies like Search Authority can design a bespoke digital ad campaign that includes a proportional mix of the most attractive platforms. By including more PPC platforms you can ensure your acquisition strategy has a healthy mix of online reach and will outperform competing firms that put all of their eggs in one basket. It also ensures that your website attracts leads from all stages of the decision/purchase funnel; from the initial informational inquiries at the top to converting at the bottom and hiring your firm to represent them.
How does PPC Advertising Work?
For illustration purposes let’s use a basic Google “Search” campaign, see example below.
- It begins when a user enters a search query in Google
- As soon as “Enter” is hit or the magnifying glass icon is clicked, Google’s algorithm springs into action – literally within milliseconds – to determine the intent of every word in that query, how they are combined and if any location-specific terms like “Nearby” were included.
- It then scans every possible advert that is currently active on its platform and selects the most applicable ads to present to the searcher.
How are the “most applicable” ads determined? A “Quality Score”, that’s based on 3 elements.
- Expected Click Through Rate (CTR) – Google uses historical data based on similar search queries
- Ad Relevance – How well does your ad’s headline, call-out and description match the search?
- Landing Page Experience – What is the quality of the web page you are sending the searcher to? Does it load fast, does it have a good User Interface (UI), is the info readily available, etc.
- Once that has been decided it will rank each result according to the likelihood of being clicked. Just because you’re willing to bid the most, doesn’t mean you will win the online auction.
- Just being shown in the search results (SERP) does not cost you anything, at this point in the auction all ads are still considered as an “Impression”. This means it’s been shown but not yet interacted with and because this is a Pay Per Click campaign it costs nothing…yet.
- If your ad is the lucky one that is clicked then the user is sent to your preferred landing page. The value of the keywords, level of competition (# of bidders) and the top three items in this list determines your Cost Per Click or CPC.
Steps 1-5 happen in roughly 10 milliseconds. The Google algorithm is one of the most advanced pieces of code ever written and is integrating more machine learning into the source code every day. That’s why trusting your digital campaigns to a law firm PPC agency like Search Authority is always recommended unless you can devote a considerable amount of time to your campaigns.
Why Use PPC for Your Law Firm?
The main benefits legal PPC ads include:
- Quick setup and launch window
- Analytical Data provided in almost real-time
- Customizable formats and messaging
- Optimization recommendations
- Exact, Broad, Phrase and Negative match allow precise keyword targeting
- No minimum ad spend, no hidden costs
- A/B/C Testing, the sky’s the limit!
- Conversion tracking, see where they came from, what they clicked, how long it took, etc.
- Extensive targeting options: Demographics, keywords, affinities, geo-location
- Expansive ecosystem: Link Google Ads > Analytics > Search Console > Tag Manager > Business Profile to see the entire customer journey.
- Plenty of free information available to learn, train, certify yourself
- Add multiple users to an account with varying levels of permissions (View, Manage, Admin)
- Transparent billing – Law firm PPC management agencies like Search Authority adds partner CC info directly to the ad account. We do not upcharge or hide metrics, we simply invoice partners for our management services, you always have full control over your Google Ads account.
- Edit reporting – Did someone change something in the campaign that they weren’t supposed to? Easily look at who made changes, when, and what they did.
- Dynamic Options: Enter multiple headlines, descriptions, CTA’s and media and let the algorithm decide the optimal combination of each based on the search query.
- Keyword suggestions (requires a few weeks of live campaigns)
Types of PPC Campaigns for Lawyers
Within the world of PPC Ad Campaigns there are many options available to legal professionals depending on your firm’s marketing goals, budget, and strategy. You can use each type individually or maximize reach and results by using an effective combination of ad campaigns and bidding strategies.
These are displayed immediately below the search window once a user submits a search query. These ads are 100% text and contain no media. They consist of a Headline, Display URL, Description and Call Out. They can also have extensions below which include phone numbers, links to blogs, contact us, and popular service or category pages. Because these are simple to make and shown at the very top of SERPs they often have a high level of competition and a correlating CPC.
Display Ads used to be known as “Banner ads” because they were usually shown in a horizontal format at the top and bottom of pages. These were severely overused in the internet’s early days and because of that many have grown fatigued with them or see them as spam. They initially seem attractive because their CPC is traditionally lower than Search Ads. However, with mobile devices dominating internet usage there is an extremely high rate of accidental clicks which can increase bounce rates and degrade your website’s authority.
For advertisers selling a physical product, it can have great benefits to actually show an image or video of the product. Since many platforms offer this type of ad there are dozens of sizes and aspect ratios to fit any type of content you may have available.
Paid Social Media Ads
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn offer exposure to millions of daily users. And because consumption rates are steadily increasing it’s a no-brainer that these same platforms would monetize an otherwise free service by offering ads. The only caveat is that people might not necessarily be looking for your legal services at that time. So these ads are better for the top of the funnel inquiries or building awareness. To compensate, targeting options are becoming more robust and since users voluntarily provide as much info as possible on these platforms, law firm PPC agencies can get extremely focused on targeting potential clients. This can be done by geo-location such as province/state, county or down to postal/zip code. It can also be done by followers of your business profile page, people that are friends or followers of your followers, hobbies and interests and basic demographics like gender and age.
Meta Ads, formally known as Facebook Ads is one of the most robust, affordable and effective social media advertising platforms. Its ability to target and expose your ads to virtually any market around the world in any language makes it a Legal PPC agency’s dream. It is also known for having affordable CPC rates when compared to Google.
One of the most important features of Facebook ads is its “Pixel”, a piece of tracking code that is generated when you create an ad account. This Pixel sets Meta Ads apart from other social media ad platforms because it enables PPC managers the ability to see a more complete customer journey and attribute conversions just like Google Ads does. After all, why invest a significant amount of time and budget to a platform that can’t show you concrete conversion numbers? In order to install a pixel, you need to have back-end access to the website you want to send the ad clicks. The combined benefits of lower CPC and conversion tracking make Meta Ads the de facto #2 choice for most law firm PPC campaigns. A pitfall is that with FB ads you cannot target by keyword but rather by topic.
Instagram ads are controlled by Meta Ads, the same platform that manages Facebook Ads. From Meta’s Ad dashboard you can create new visually stunning campaigns or port over any existing Facebook campaign just make sure you have successfully linked your IG account in your account settings.
Meta ads on Instagram are great for targeting the younger, 44 and under demographics. CPC is affordable with typical ranges between $0.20 – $2.00 and has one of the best ROIs in terms of likelihood of conversions.
LinkedIn offers standard ads directed at individuals like other platforms but it also offers B2B targeting which is something other social platforms don’t do as well, if at all. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that has official company pages and interest groups from all industries around the globe. LinkedIn also offers a conversion tracking tool that can provide more insights into lower funnel actions made by people who click your ad. This is incredibly useful if your legal firm typically represents other businesses. The ad dashboard is a bit more restrictive than Meta or Twitter in design, and options are limited, but it compensates with better targeting and improvements are being added frequently.
Because many users’ personal profiles are connected to organizations along with basic data like seniority level and time with the company advertisers could get very precise and choose to target “[C-Suite Level Executives] from [Manufacturing] companies with [250+ employees] in [North America]”. While this certainly limits your exposure to fewer targets it will be an extremely receptive audience. When combined with tailored calls to action and attractive visuals that routes clicks to a customized landing page it can be a viable platform to include in your marketing plan.
Twitter Ads offer great targeting options based on user preferences, who they follow, words they use and hashtags they view within the past 7 days. This allows much more granular targeting when compared to larger platforms.
It also offers pay-for-performance pricing models. Pay for performance means you only get charged when the goal of your campaign is achieved. For example, if the goal is to get more followers then you only get charged once a user clicks the ad and then hits the “Follow” button on your profile. You could also do the same for App installs, Twitter Ads would charge you once the user goes all the way through the journey and downloads and installs your app. This is a welcome change from traditional PPC, which charges the advertiser for the first action/click regardless of what happens after (conversion or not).
Whenever Search Authority begins a PPC campaign for Lawyers we like to consider remarketing campaigns. These campaigns work a bit differently than the traditional keyword-focused or location-based targeting. Remarketing campaigns utilize “cookies” from websites that ID you as someone that has visited the site previously. These cookies can take abandoned shopping cart items, pages or products you visited and include them in a targeted ad after the fact. This is incredibly effective because the user has already displayed interest in some form which makes them more likely to convert than a typical first-time visitor.
The big players are Google and Adroll. Google has a huge advantage because it can integrate information from Google Analytics (site usage), Youtube and the Google Play Store to help you create custom audiences. It can take some time to set these up properly (Web Development assistance may be needed) but the conversion rate is often 50% or better when compared to typical ads, with some research saying as much as 70%.
Adroll is more of an all-in-one solution that can help Legal PPC Agencies launch and control display and retargeting campaigns on all the major platforms like Google, Meta and LinkedIn.
YouTube ads are a great way to promote your business. Law firm PPC agencies have the ability to highlight your firm’s personality and what areas you specialize in. Video messaging is extremely effective when trying to differentiate yourself from the herd of competitors and reinforce branding with taglines and repetitive themes.. Production quality is only limited by your imagination and many firms have received positive ROI from this method.
YouTube is owned by Google and therefore you create and control the Video ads from the Google Ads dashboard. Because it is part of the Google family, Video Ads will also show outside of Youtube on any participating website in the Google Ad Network (2 Million + sites). Ad run time can range from a few seconds to a minute and be both skippable and non-skippable (they cost more). Formats can include full-screen as well as banners for a more unobtrusive approach.
YouTube (Video) ads for lawyers are primarily best for raising awareness. PPC for lawyers sometimes needs to get creative and think outside the box. For example, make ads purely for family law services and geo-fence the ad around family courthouses.
Cost of Lawyer PPC
PPC for Lawyers can be a make-or-break decision and shouldn’t be taken on by a novice or someone who cannot dedicate a sufficient amount of time. Legal professionals have the unlucky privilege of having the most expensive CPC keywords on the market today. According to a recent study the keyword “lawyer” ranked as the fourth most expensive term at $54.86 with “Bail Bonds” topping the group. Now with a cost like that, you can see why it’s so important to have a strategic partner with extensive experience.
That experience and insight can help lower ad costs by improving ad quality score, custom destination pages, lowering page load times and ensuring your calls to action resonate with people about to make a conversion. Law firm PPC management should be entrusted to a reliable partner that can provide positive ROI on multiple campaigns simultaneously.
Why Choose Search Authority for Your Lawyer PPC Campaign?
Here at Search Authority we have the luxury of insight. Because we specialize in both SEO and PPC we can execute keyword and competitive audits – both organic and paid – to see what is performing best in real-time. We can use that intelligence to populate keywords and targeting preferences to ensure we hit the ground running and start sending you leads as soon as possible. Other agencies compartmentalize each service and treat them as separate entities, ignoring the data that’s right in front of them.
Search Authority can also assess the quality of your landing pages for PPC ads and ensure they are optimized correctly so they positively impact your landing page experiences, quality scores, and drive down CPC rates.
These are just a few examples of how our unique approach to PPC and SEO compound positive ROI for our legal partners.