Cost of Google AdWords on the rise

AdWords for Law FirmsGoogle AdWords is not much of a secret for lawyers and law firms these days. Many lawyers and law firms use Google AdWords as a way to generate leads for their law firm.

The concept is pretty simple as it relates to search campaigns. Lawyers and law firms run advertisements to individuals who are searching online for legal help. When individuals type in a keyword that is the same or similar to a keyword that their campaign is setup for, their search advertisements show up.

Take a personal injury in a particular geographic area who is running Google AdWords. When individuals search for a “personal injury lawyer” in their designated area, their advertisements show up. Of course, there are nuances in terms of how this campaigns are setup in terms of the keywords.

Lawyers and law firm can select to set their keywords on broad, phrase or exact search. Depending on how this is setup, the advertisements might show up more or less frequently. Law firms can also include negative keywords, which are words they do not wish to show up for when people search.

Most law firms also use a marketing entity to setup and run their Google AdWords campaign because the complexities involved in setting a campaign might be too much for a lawyer or law firm to handle or keep up with. Of course, companies will run your pay-per-click advertising are going to charge a significant fee for doing so. You could try to run your Google AdWords yourself, but if you do not know what you are doing, you can burn through a lot of money quick.

There are also other campaigns that can be setup through Google AdWords. For example, there are display advertisements that can be run as individuals are reading other content online (online billboards). There are also video campaigns that can be run on YouTube or while individuals are searching (online television advertisements).

No matter the circumstances, the cost of running Google AdWords is going up considerably. According to one source, the average cost per click in 2005 was $0.38 per click. But as of 2016, that number has jumped to $2.14 per click. In other words, the cost of a single click has gone up approximately six times over the last eleven years. If you track the data, there is no reason to believe it will stop. Of course, for lawyers, the cost of a single click is usually considerably higher than the average of many other industries. Single clicks can cost as much as $20 to $30 or even more.

In fact, the increasing cost of clicks has been gradual over time.  But in 2015 and 2016, the data shows that the costs of clicks has been accelerating faster over the last couple of years.  The fact that the cost is going up at an increasing rate should give lawyers and law firms some pause.

Many lawyers and law firms might have seen lawyers and law firms experiencing significant growth with pay-per-click advertising when the cost of a click was way down. They might have been doing billboard, phone book or other advertising time (while some other firm was doing pay-per-click and doing much better) and might conclude that it’s time that they get in on pay-per-click advertising themselves.

Perhaps those lawyers and law firms have the money to spend. Perhaps they can really bet the bang from pay-per-click advertising through Google AdWords that they are desiring. But perhaps that isn’t the case.  Lawyers and law firms should at least exercise a little caution.

The reality is it is getting expensive to run Google AdWords. Lawyers — and most law firms really need to look at the cost. They need to analyze the amount of business they are getting (or would prospectively get) versus the cost (when the cost per click is much higher today than 2015). They then need to analyze other potential ways to get the same leads and determine what make sense for them given their circumstances.

For example, organic search engine optimization can generate the same bang if it can be achieved. Organic search engine optimization does not require spending funds on a daily basis to stay there. Of course, social media advertising and marketing is on the rise as well.  Some think social is the new frontier to online advertising.

Again, this is not to say that Google AdWords should not be considered. At the same time, the cost has really gone up. To give an analogy, getting in now might be like investing a bunch of money in the stock market when it’s already at a high point and there is not much more money to be made. Getting in might be too late in the game when considering the budget of some lawyers and law firms.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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