It’s a common story. Your firm has invested in its website and digital marketing efforts, either in-house or with a vendor. Reports show an increase in visibility, traffic, clicks, impressions, and other metrics, but you can’t attribute much, or any, new business to your online marketing.
There is a serious issue with the lack of attention that some digital marketing agencies, and law firms, place on ROI. They instead choose to focus on visibility, impressions, traffic and clicks. With the steady growth of Facebook Ads and the importance of online advertising in general, many savvy law firms are increasing their investments in digital marketing. As with any marketing investment, it is important to know what to measure and how. At then end of any analysis, it should all come back around to ROI.
If the reports that you are getting about your website, and its performance, are showing solid traffic and clicks, but very little in the way of conversions (contacts), there may be some issues with content, design, or conversion methods. In addition to onsite factors, one of the many potential explanations has to do with growing issues related to bot visits, ad reporting and click fraud.
Lately there have been several articles addressing issues with ad reporting and fraud:
- The Economist: The article discusses Dentsu, a large agency that admitted overbilling by its digital-ad division in Japan. It also states that Facebook says it had inflated the average time that people spent watching video ads. These and other reports have contributed to an increasing concern among online advertisers that their ad dollars are not being spent efficiently. There are growing doubts about the trust that can be placed in some agencies and online media investments.
- MIT Technology Review: This article talks about bots, and their ubiquity on the web. They perform lots of functions and tasks at varying levels of helpfulness to humans. As the article states, “They gather data about Web pages, they correct vandalism on Wikipedia, they generate spam and even emulate humans. And their impact is growing. By some measures, bots account for 49 percent of visits to Web pages and are responsible for over 50 percent of clicks on ads.” But what is the value of a bot clicking your law firm’s ad?
- Ad Week: The post, “Bots Will Cost Digital Advertisers $7.2 Billion in 2016, says ANA study” further explores issues that bots bring into play with digital advertising.
Law Firms Should Keep the Focus on ROI
To help protect your firm against wasting money on marketing efforts that aren’t paying off, it is beneficial to consider doing the following:
- Share Case Data. Sharing case data with your vendor will provide necessary information to determine if the leads generated by the campaigns are good quality. It will also assist in the decision-making process of whether to continue with the same strategy or make changes.
- Request or Compile Better Data. Don’t solely rely on clicks, visits, impressions and click-through rates. Look at leads, cost per case, cases signed for each traffic source, and of course return on investment (ROI).
- Watch Carefully When Using Cost-Per-Impression (CPI or CPM) Campaigns. CPM buying using programmatic or interest-based targeting methods across networks can be particularly suspect and may not be very effective. Watch your results closely and track as much data as you can. With Pay-Per-Click advertising, like with Google Ads, you only pay when an ad is actually clicked. Although you may still get fraudulent clicks, Google has a decent filter to protect against this and minimize damage.
- Ask Questions. When dealing directly with ad networks, ask for information on how they are combating bot activity and fraudulent behavior. If you are given vague answers or someone disparages such questions, that is a red flag.
- Focus Your Campaign. If you focus your campaign so that ads only show in your geographic area of interest, it will provide better results for your campaign and will avoid spam or suspicious traffic coming from other countries.
If you have an in-house marketing team or work with an online advertisement agency, make sure that they are data-driven and measure results that matter. This will allow you to make better investment decisions as well as provide better marketing results.
At Consultwebs,we look closely at our clients’ ROI data which allows us to advise them on where and how to invest their marketing budget. Besides investing in ads, we also recommend diversifying and investing in SEO. We have found that law firm websites appear in ads as well as in organic results, they obtain more credibility and are able to deliver multiple messages to their prospective clients which in turn, earns the firms more cases.