Last week, we kicked off a new series on legal marketing metrics with an in-depth look at four revenue-focused metrics that offer a high-level assessment of how your campaigns are performing, in terms of both qualified leads and revenue.
This time around, we’re looking at four underappreciated metrics that can serve as a valuable north start in the day-to-day management and optimizations of your legal advertising campaigns. These aren’t the ROI metrics that the partners of the firm will ask about -- but they are the levers you can pull to grow ROI.
The Opportunity Indicators: 4 legal marketing metrics that light the way
This week’s metrics are all a little gray. Individually, they mean very little. But, combined with last week’s metrics, they’ll help illuminate the path to improvement.
These are the tactical metrics that marketers can easily test, control, and manipulate -- and we’ll walk you through just how to do that with a few experiments we’ve seen make all the difference for our legal clients.
1. Search Impression Share
Search impression share measures how often your ad appeared for a given keyword, ad group, or campaign. An impression share of 40%, for example, means you’re successfully reaching for 40% of the potential clients searching for your keywords on Google.
Like all of the metrics covered this week, there’s no right or wrong impression share. 10% is not necessarily bad, and 100% is not necessarily good.
Instead, it indicates opportunities.
But before we get into how to interpret impression share, let’s go over a few of the reasons why impression share might be on the low side:
- Your campaigns are limited by budget: Legal keywords get expensive fast, and even a daily budget in the thousands can get depleted in a matter of hours. Once your campaign reaches its daily cap, your ad will stop showing until the next day when the budget is removed.
- Your campaigns are limited by bid caps: While it’s possible to set a cap on your cost-per-click (e.g., saying you want to pay no more than $5 for a keyword), setting too low of a cap means you’ll lose out to higher bidders for prime first page placements.
- Your campaigns are limited by a low rank or Quality Score: Similarly, if your website has a high bounce rate or your ad sees low engagement, Google is unlikely to show your ad on the first page of results.
Again, it’s perfectly acceptable to have a low impression share (and it might even be more worrying if the share was >90%, as that could mean you’re overbidding).
Here’s what it means instead:
- It shows you how your campaigns are optimizing: If your most ideal keywords (say, “medical malpractice attorney”) get a low impression share, while your more generic, “filler” keywords (say, “lawyers”) get a high share, Google may be optimizing for clicks when you really want to optimize for leads or conversions. Consider employing a different bidding strategy or use manual bid adjustments to specify how much you’re willing to pay for each keyword -- if a medical malpractice lead results in a seven-figure settlement, you’d probably be willing to pay a lot more for that click than you would for someone looking to get out of a speeding ticket.
- It shows you if you need to be more intentional with when or where your ad appears: If your impression share is under 25%, your ad likely stops showing before noon each day. To make the most of this small time window, think about when and where potential clients are most likely searching for your services. If you believe clients usually look for lawyers after work, use dayparting to schedule your ad in the evening. If you believe clients usually call from a hospital waiting room, use location targeting to only target local hospitals. Either of these strategies will help you laser-focus your limited budget.
- It shows you what will likely happen if you add to your budget: Many lawyers approach advertising with the idea of starting small and pouring more gas on the fire if it works. And while we generally recommend this approach, it’s also possible that you’ll get diminishing returns at some point, as a result of saturating your addressable market. Generally speaking, if impression share is low, you can continue adding to your budget with no diminishing returns. If it’s high, you may be close to tapping out that particular campaign and should look into adding additional channels, ad groups, locations, or keywords as a means to scale.
2. Average Position
Your ad’s Average Position shows how prominently Google features your ad. An average position of 1.4 means your ad typically appears at the top of the first search results page, therefore capturing the largest audience. If your average position is 4.7, your ad likely appears on either the bottom of the first page or the second page, meaning searchers will only see it if they scroll past the first few ads and the first 10 organic listings.
But, just as we saw with Impression Share, there’s no ideal average position. Sure, it would be nice to be the first result a potential client sees, but this coveted spot goes to the highest bidder and could cost double the price of a lower position.
So how do you use it?
Like with impression share, average position shows you how competitive your ad is for different keywords you care about.
If there’s a list of keywords you really care about (and are willing to pay a premium for), you can target a higher average position to ensure that your ad gets seen. This strategy is particularly effective for high-value cases with a low search volume. If only 30 per month search for a certain defective medical device, you probably want to do everything you can to get in front of all 30.
It can also be a good strategy to ensure that your ad always comes up first when someone searches for your firm’s name. Lawyers are notoriously competitive, and you can bet that at least a few rival firms are bidding on your name in hopes of nabbing some of your leads. Beat them to the punch by securing the first position.
3. Cost Per Click
Is it better to get 20 semi-targeted clicks for your budget, or just one very targeted click?
It’s a question that has the legal marketing world divided -- and one that you’ll only be able to answer through testing both strategies.
Each keyword (each click) comes at a different price, as determined by a real-time bidding mechanism in which Google allocates limited ad inventory to the highest bidder. Keywords like “best auto accident attorney” or “mesothelioma lawyer” are considered extremely competitive as countless law firms are willing to pay top dollar for a slice of the potential settlement. In contrast, broader keywords like “legal help” are less competitive and less expensive, as fewer firms are bidding on such an ambiguous search query.
To make the most of Cost Per Click, compare your conversion and Cost Per Lead across two distinct campaigns: one targeting generic keywords at a low Cost Per Click and one targeting specific, high-intent keywords at a higher Cost Per Click.
If you see a $200 Cost Per Lead from the low-CPC campaign and a $70 Cost Per Lead from the high-CPC campaign, then you’ll know that the premium keywords were worth the price. Or, if it’s the other way around, then it might be a better strategy to “cast a wide net” and optimize for clicks.
This next one’s more of an umbrella than an individual metric. Engagement refers to the actions your visitors take after they click on an ad. An engaged customer spends a few minutes on your site and clicks around to view multiple pages. An unengaged customer leaves after a few seconds.
To understand engagement, open up Google Analytics or your analytics tool of choice and look at individual indicators like:
- Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors that left your website immediately after clicking your ad.
- Average session duration: The length of time the average paid visitor spent on your site.
- Pages per session: The average number of pages the average paid visitor viewed on your site.
These metrics together help you assess how well your ad and website resonate with your visitors.
If visitors leave your site after a few seconds, then something’s not working. You could be bidding on the wrong keywords, where visitors could come in looking for something that you don’t offer. You could be bringing in the wrong traffic, where visitors feel like they’re not part of your target audience. Or there could be a disconnect between the ad and the website, where visitors click an ad for ‘auto accident lawyers’ and then land on a page with no mention of auto accidents.
If visitors stay more than a minute and view multiple pages, then you can rest assured that you’re bringing in the right audience and have a message that resonates with them.
To make the best use of this metric, track all of your ads with identifying information (UTM codes). This information can then be queried your analytics tool to show you how engagement compares from one campaign to another.
Law firms can almost always get cheaper traffic from display or social advertising channels, but the traffic is typically lower quality than search traffic. Looking at engagement metrics will give you a good proxy for measuring the quality of your visitors.
Until next week,
And there you have it -- our top four key performance indicators and, now, our top four opportunity indicators. These are our favorite legal marketing metrics, and the ones that offer both a high-level overview of your campaigns and the actionable insights needed to optimize their performance.
Tune in next week for the final part of this series, where we’ll go over four metrics that can do more harm than good.