When it comes to digital marketing channels for lawyers, Google search ads have long reigned supreme. And it’s easy to see why: They’re a safe bet. If someone is actively searching for a lawyer, they’re going to make a pretty good lead.
But what about the other major player in the advertising duopoly? With 20% of the global advertising market share, Facebook’s advertising platform is a force to be reckoned with and clearly works for many industries… is law one of them?
Let’s dive in.
What Facebook Ads offer legal marketers
1. Cheap clicks
The average cost of a click generated from a Facebook advertisement is a mere $2.15. Compare this with Google search ads, where the average keyword for the legal industry clocks in at $40 a click and the most coveted keywords can easily exceed $100.
In other words, you can get 20 visitors from Facebook for the cost of a single Google visitor.
2. Rich interest-based, behavioral, and demographic targeting
For better or worse, Facebook has a lot of data on you--every post you’ve shared, every photo you’ve uploaded, and every page you’ve liked. Couple this with state-of-the-art machine learning and natural language processing algorithms, and the social media giant knows a lot of information about a lot of people… 2.5 billion to be exact.
All of these data points are then passed on to advertisers and are precisely what gives the Facebook ad platform so much power. Facebook has identified and extrapolated thousands of popular interests, demographics, and behaviors, which can be targeted and combined to reach just about any customer persona you can think of:
- Divorced or separated upper-class parents of toddlers (family law leads?)
- Blue-collar workers who recently changed employment status (employment law leads?)
- Bilingual Hispanic adults who previously lived in Central America (immigration law leads?)
- Entrepreneurs with a STEM background interested in intellectual property (startup or patent law leads?)
If you wanted, you could even target a segment as obscure as: Conservative male teachers aged 27-32 with a master’s degree who recently moved, like Jimmy Fallon, dislike Stephen Colbert, and have a significant other with a birthday coming up in the next month.
That’s the power of Facebook’s targeting, an area where Google remains miles behind.
3. Centralized lead gen and client-friendly forms
Few small law firms have the resources to crank out quality landing pages for each of their ad campaigns. And with Facebook Ads, you don’t need to.
Facebook allows marketers to bypass a website altogether, capturing and collecting your lead’s information straight from the ad. With Facebook Lead Ads, you can build a form within the ad itself. While the form asks for the lead’s name and email by default, you can customize it to collect whatever fields and data points you need to qualify your new lead.
From the lead’s perspective, Facebook Lead Ads provide a seamless experience: The lead will see your ad in their Facebook feed, click a customizable call-to-action button to express their interest, and immediately see your form in a new pop-up module. All of their details will be pre-populated from their Facebook profile, and they can overwrite to update old email addresses or phone numbers or click to submit the information as is. Afterward, they’ll be shown a customizable thank you and encouraged to visit your firm’s website or Facebook page.
The whole process takes 30 seconds, after which your lead can get right back to catching up on their feed.
While this is great for newer firms that have yet to build a website and established firms with a less-than-ideal site, it’s also worth testing for firms that have a strong landing page strategy as many of our clients have found that Facebook’s Lead Ads see a better conversion rate than their own landing pages.
4. Powerful remarketing
Last but not least, Facebook makes remarketing a breeze.
Remarketing (or retargeting) is the practice of advertising to those who have recently visited your website. The strategy works best for high-ticket purchase items, long sales cycles, and research-heavy decision processes where a visitor may take a couple weeks to evaluate their options before taking any sort of action. And finding the right lawyer is one of the most researched decisions we’ve encountered, with most consumers taking days if not weeks to read reviews and check out competitor firms before ever picking up the phone.
With remarketing, you can say top-of-mind with your potential clients every step of their research process so that when the time does come to hire a lawyer, you’ll be the first they think of.
Facebook provides advertisers with a proprietary pixel that they can install on their websites to track and retarget visitors from a customizable time window, typically the past 30 days. Once set up, you can add this pixel to your campaign’s audience and nurture them over time with display advertisements, and subtle reminders of why they should go with your firm--such as recent awards, press, client testimonials, and settlements.
You can even reach these prime prospects outside of Facebook, thanks to the network’s integration with Instagram and thousands of other websites and mobile apps that make up the Facebook Audience Network.
Where most marketers get tripped up with Facebook
1. Facebook requires a very different strategy
While not necessarily better or worse, Facebook is different than Google--as is the strategy it demands.
Google search advertising takes a strategy of market fulfillment. By virtue of searching for specific keywords (e.g., “personal injury attorneys near me”), viewers of your Google ads have assumed intent. They’re looking for a law firm and are likely ready to speak to an experienced lawyer today.
With Facebook, there’s no guarantee of this intent. Viewers of your ad aren’t actively searching for a lawyer. They just happen to match the behavioral and demographic profile you targeted.
And while Facebook’s a great channel for many consumer brands and impulse purchases, hiring a lawyer isn’t typically something you do just because you saw an ad. You need to have a reason to litigate. A consumer can be exposed to your auto accident injury ad for months, but they’re not going to think twice about it until they’ve been in an accident.
Facebook requires a different strategy, one of market creation and education. If a client knows they have a case worth pursuing, they’re going to go straight to Google or Avvo and find a lawyer. But if a potential client is on the fence or uninformed about their legal rights, then they’re unlikely to proactively search for legal representation.
And these are the leads Facebook thrives at capturing.
Facebook is a powerful awareness and education platform, through which law firms can get in front of hundreds of thousands of prospective clients for relatively cheap. The audience may or may not have an immediate need, but there’s bound to be at least a handful of valuable leads in there that have been mulling over the possibility of pursuing a case and just need a little reinforcement to know that their case matters.
Those firms that succeed understand that the Facebook audience requires a little more warming up and ease into the legal consideration process with offers of free consultations and no-risk case reviews.
It’s also important to remember that these leads may need to see your ad several times over a few weeks before they’re ready to take action. Let your campaign run for at least a month before shutting it off if you don’t see immediate results.
2. With great targeting, comes great responsibility
While Facebook lets you target just about any audience, you have to be a little discreet about it.
Facebook has a long list of advertising policies, the violation of any of which can get your ad campaign rejected. Chief among these in the case of lawyers is a policy forbidding ads that assert or imply viewers’ personal attributes, including race, religion, age, sexual orientation, medical condition, and criminal record.
Under this policy, a criminal lawyer would not be able to include phrases like “Were you wrongly convicted?” or “Are you a convicted felon?” because they both imply that the viewer has a criminal record.
Facebook also prohibits shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content--meaning if you’re a personal injury lawyer, you should stay clear of using images of injuries or auto accidents.
To play it safe and minimize the chance of your new campaign getting rejected, we’d recommend reviewing the complete Facebook advertising policy beforehand or partnering with an agency well-versed in the rules and regulations.
So do Facebook Ads work for lawyers?
As long as you’ve made full use of Facebook’s targeting and put in the work to adapt to a market creation strategy, you’ll likely see a strong return on your Facebook legal advertising campaigns.
But, as with everything in the world of digital advertising, we recommend you go in with an open mind, put a few hundred dollars in for a one-month trial, and measure your results against your Google or other marketing campaigns competing for the same budget.
In the end, the data always speaks louder than industries best practices.