The advertising landscape constantly evolves. The proliferation of media platforms creates new benefits and challenges to law firms seeking to grow through marketing. Our role is to keep an eye on shifting trends to ensure our clients stay ahead of the curve and most efficiently invest their marketing budgets. The selected data points and insights below are intended to help others think about their own strategies in the context of broader trends in legal marketing.
Brand Awareness is at the top of the marketing funnel and is uniquely critical to the nature of marketing for plaintiffs’ personal injury firms. Often an unforeseen event leads to the need for legal service – latent brand awareness influences the behavior of a potential client when they need services most. Increasing Brand Awareness requires strong messaging that reaches a broad segment of the target market frequently and consistently.
Television remains a powerful channel for brand building. Linear TV, which includes Broadcast and Cable, is still king, but viewer consumption is slowly decreasing, and advertising spend remains flat. By comparison, Connected TV viewer consumption is increasing, along with an accelerated uptick in ad spend – on average, 35 percent year-over-year. It is a more attention-grabbing headline to write “the death of broadcast”. The reality is more nuanced. Access to inventory, cost of inventory, local marketing dynamics, and other variables affect the right strategy for a given firm.
Digital video, like YouTube, is increasingly important in the media mix. YouTube reaches over 81 percent of adults in the US, and 62 percent of users access the site daily, with an average of 19 minutes and 39 seconds consumed each day. YouTube provides broad reach and targetability – targetability that Broadcast TV and Radio cannot provide. However, keep in mind that audience members are less captive than they are with Television ads. Imagine a commuter on a train pulling up a YouTube video – that person’s attention is fighting many more distractions than someone watching TV in the living room.
The age demographics for video are clear:
Audio is undergoing its own shift with the emergence of streaming platforms. The reality is that terrestrial radio (AM/FM) remains the dominant reach vehicle for the audio universe across age demographics, it achieves an almost 93 percent reach. Other digital platforms like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, and Apple create the long tail of listening options and should be used selectively.
Social Media offers another effective way to touch consumers with a brand message. Over 240 million Americans (that is roughly 70 percent of the total population) are on Facebook and almost 130 million Americans are on Instagram. Both platforms are owned by Meta and offer intuitive and effective ways to build, launch, and manage campaigns. Keep in mind that Facebook audiences skew older than Instagram audiences – it is worth considering spreading investment across both platforms for maximum impact.
Direct Response is at the bottom of the marketing funnel and is incredibly important in converting potential clients into signed clients. The reality is that Google owns this battlefield, and it continues to be incredibly competitive.
Paid Search on Google includes both traditional Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Local Services Ads (LSA). Over the years, Google has updated its interface to favor their own advertising inventory. The result is that “above-the-fold” visibility in a Google search is dominated by paid ads. Viewing organic results requires scrolling, which creates unwanted friction in the user journey.
As Google continues to optimize its platform, the average cost-per-lead (CPL) will increase. Typical motor vehicle accident PPC search terms can range anywhere from $500-$1,000 depending on local market dynamics. And even LSAs, which have only been available for law firm use for a short period of time, have seen a dramatic uptick – with CPLs nearing $400 in some markets. While increasingly compressed, the economics still work in favor of pursuing paid search. Firms simply need to be vigilant on conversion rates and reporting to ensure they are managing cost-per-case as responsibly as possible.
Despite Changes, Marketing Principles Still Hold True
The more things change, the more they stay the same. At PMP, we try to break big things down into their component parts to best advise our clients. The reality is that, despite the emergence of new technologies and the shifts in consumption habits, marketing principles hold. Marketing, like any investment, is best served by a clear objective, a strategy of diversification, a long-term view, and conviction. We are aggressive about staying knowledgeable on trends, but we act conservatively in chasing them.