Law Firms Need to Track Conversions
Over a year ago, Google launched Call Metrics as an ad extension for AdWords. Writing about this new product, I was particularly excited about its potential for law firms and other professional services firms. This was because lawyers, like all businesses, are focused on their return on investment when it comes to advertising. While its nice that your website may attract a significant volume of visitors, the goal is for those visitors to convert into clients.
For law firms, tracking conversions is particularly challenging. While an email contact form is one method of identifying a conversion, both clients and lawyers tend to prefer that their initial communications take place over the phone. As I’ve heard countless times from our clients “I just want the phone to ring.”
Google AdWords Call Metrics
We have been looking for some way to automatically link money spent on Google AdWords campaigns with calls to the firm. Enter Call Metrics (not to be confused with Google’s Click to Call for mobile devices). This ad extension attaches a temporarily assigned toll-free number to search ad text. If the number is manually dialed, the call is forwarded to the firm’s preferred phone line and the campaign is charged a fee. Call Metrics supplies AdWords with an additional set of data:
- time of call;
- area code of dialer;
- answered (or not); and
- phone call cost (while the cost is $1.00/call by default, you can also specifically bid on phone calls).
This data is pure gold for those of us who manage pay-per-click campaigns for law firms. There’s nothing that makes my life easier than telling a client that they spent $700 last month on AdWords and it produced 12 phone calls, each over 15 minutes long. Unfortunately, not long after Call Metrics was launched, it was suddenly pulled from the Canadian market due to quality control problems. While our US clients continue to enjoy this service, Canadian firms remain out of luck.
New Call Metrics
Irrespective of Canadian availability, Call Metrics has always had a fundamental problem: only a small number of phone calls will come directly from the ad. Most visitors will go to the website from the search ad, review lawyer bios, maybe read through a practice area page, go to the contact page and then pick-up the phone. This bypasses the Call Metrics system. Accordingly, I am very excited to hear (by way of our Engage Agency rep), that Call Metrics will soon be able to dynamically embed the toll-free number straight into your website. While this product is still in limited beta and only available in the US, I think it offers Google’s holy grail of legal marketing (in terms of value, not immortality). Think of it as pay-per-client.
The New Call Metrics will finally give-us a rock-solid conversion metric for law firm pay-per-click campaigns. This also means we can finally start to take advantage of various tools that will optimize conversions within a campaign. In other words, we’ll have the data we need to focus on making the phone ring whether it happens to be particular search keywords or a sweet-spot for bidding.
The obvious critique of this system is that most lawyers don’t really want the phone ringing off the hook. They’re too busy to handle a high-volume of cold-calls. In response, I would note that we already do our best to control for poor traffic to our client’s websites. This means including negative keywords such as “pro-bono” and “free.” It also means making both the ad text and the copy on the website very clear about the type of law in which the lawyer/firm practices and the type of clients that they will accept. If this filtering isn’t 100% effective, a good assistant can always help screen your calls.
Canadian law firms will now need to sit patiently and wait for it to hit the domestic market. At Skunkworks, all we want for Christmas is the New Call Metrics.