Is TV Dying As An Effective Law Firm Advertising Medium?

Is TV Dying As An Effective Law Firm Advertising Medium?

Many opinions surface when TV advertising is discussed in conjunction with law firm advertising. I will be the first to say that if the budget permits, and TV advertising is done well, TV ads are “currently” one of the most effective ways to obtain clients. This is especially true of law firms that also have a comprehensive Internet presence. The marketing cost per client obtained from TV may not be as low as the cost to acquire clients from the Web, but TV provides faster initial returns and can amass a significant number of clients. To prepare for the future, law firms that have not focused on the Internet should quickly start to position themselves by choosing a qualified law firm Web marketing vendor and implementing a comprehensive Web presence.

As an avid Olympics fan, I missed few events this year. However, I recorded the events and watched them at night, fast-forwarding my digital video recorder (DVR) through every commercial. I polled a large number of friends, and they told me they did the same. I am preparing to watch a Carolina Panthers/New York Jets game that came on ten minutes ago. I am recording the game and will start watching it in 50 minutes so that I can fast-forward through the commercials. This is the way increasing numbers of people are watching TV.

Multiple sources now agree that that TV viewing and advertising are in danger. A New York Times article stated, “It has long been predicted that these new media would challenge traditional television viewing, but this is the first significant evidence to emerge in research data. If the trends hold, the long-term implications for the media industry are huge, possibly causing billions of dollars in annual advertising spending to shift away from old-fashioned TV.”

The article continues, “The television industry has been expecting — and dreading the day — that TV viewing peaks, and then either plateaus or slowly declines in the face of encroaching Internet and phone use. According to data that Nielsen will [fully] release on Thursday, television viewing as a whole is steady, in part because older Americans — particularly those over the age of 65 — are watching more than ever before. Digital video recorders deserve some of the credit for the uptick, since they let people stockpile shows.

But for three straight quarters, there have been declines in viewing among Americans under 35, even when DVR viewership is factored in, according to Nielsen data analyzed by The New York Times.”

A recent report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism discussed how the younger generation gathers its news. It’s clear that the times are changing. The article stated, “Young people are generally less interested in watching TV and listening to radio than their elders. Instead, between 20 and 27% of people under 44 use mobile phones to access the news; tablets are generally used between age 25 and 54. Social media is often used as a gateway to search for news, particularly by younger respondents. News websites and search engines (Google or Bing) are still the main gateways to the news, ahead of aggregator websites (MSN and Yahoo) and social networks (Facebook then Twitter). There is also a difference between young and old in the way they participate and interact with online news and content, the younger, again, being more active on social networks and less so on traditional websites.”

In other examples of threats to TV viewing and advertising, in early 2012, Citigroup reduced its rating on several media companies from buy to neutral. In explanation, Citigroup stated that TV viewing and ad purchasing are declining. Other data show that cable TV subscribers are shrinking.

As reported in an MSN Money article, Coca-Cola is less enthusiastic about 30-second TV spots. The article states, “With ad-skipping rampant, the company has lost faith in the effectiveness of traditional ads in comedies and dramas, save for the Super Bowl, ‘American Idol’ and other programming that consumers watch live and talk about the next day around the Coke machine,” according to MediaPost.

Rich Greenfield of BTIG has argued that 2012 will be the first year in history that traditional TV consumption will decline. That is forcing networks to get creative to find ways to squeeze more money out of advertisers. Also, as the public watches TV less, political advertisers are changing their advertising methods.

Whether subscribers are growing or shrinking, the number of TV viewers who skip ads is growing despite the TV mediums’ efforts to say otherwise. Ask virtually any DVR or TIVO owner how many ads they watch. Most will say, “zero.” Additionally, ad skipping technology is advancing. The major TV networks are trying to prevent Dish Network from selling its “Auto Hop” feature that skips past ads.

The Internet Communicates and Interacts Rather Than Emulating A Megaphone

Traditional methods for attracting potential clients are also changing. Consumers like the ability to interact with their service-providers. Unlike TV, which is similar to a megaphone, the Internet provides detailed, interactive information and allows visitors to do so much more than idly watch.

Seth Godin gave an excellent talk on the approach of attracting “tribes” rather than spending increasing amounts each month and blasting a message out with hope of reaching clients. Social media and blogs take time, but they are excellent ways to build your own tribe.

Internet Advertising Advantages

Online advertising will outpace print advertising in 2012, according to eMarketer. By 2016, many experts predict that online advertising will outpace TV advertising. However, ad “spending” is not where the entire marketing focus should be. Return on investment should be the focus. Potential law firm clients may be watching TV, but if they are fast-forwarding through the commercials, the TV advertisements are not delivering the law firm’s message.

Another advantage Web advertising has over TV is that consumers who watch TV or movies on the Internet do not normally have the option of skipping the commercials.

Obtaining Help

Internet advertising is clearly the future of law firm advertising. Prospective clients are increasingly using the Internet in every area of their lives. We will be happy to assist your law firm in developing a successful Internet presence. We have numerous law firm testimonials from clients who are getting impressive ROIs from their Internet investment as well as paying far less for Web conversions than TV conversions. Please contact us at (800) 872-6590 or to learn more.