Submitted by Deanna on Tue, 11/24/2020 - 12:14

Google Ads is one of the biggest sources of leads for attorneys and legal marketers today. With more than 90% of the search engine market share worldwide, lawyers from any area of law can find new clients though Google. What’s trickier is finding the right consumers online. Because more than 60,000 users search on Google every second every second, there’s a good chance your marketing budget will be wasted unless you target your ads to the consumers who are most in need of your legal services. One of the best ways to ensure you’re using your marketing dollar wisely is by using demographic targeting in Google Ads.

What is Demographic Targeting?

Demographic targeting allows you to show your ads to a subset of users online who meet demographic criteria that you’ve specified ahead of time. Google Ads allows you to target your campaigns based on the following demographics:

  • Age: This allows you to target users based on how old they are. Ads’ targeting options are 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+, and Unknown
  • Gender: Whether the user is Male, Female, or Unknown
  • Parental Status: This allows you to target families. The options are Parent, Not a parent, and Unknown.
  • Household Income: How much a family earns. The options for targeting are Lower 50%, 41-50%, 31-40%, 11-20%, Top 10%, or Unknown
  • Combinations: These are combinations of any of the above demographics, such as “Male, Parent, Household Income Top 10%.”

You’ll notice that every demographic has an “unknown” category. This is because Google, like other search engines, doesn’t know everything about each user. Sometimes a user will be searching in an incognito window, or have software installed on their computer to block cookies or tracking pixels. Due to the high percentage of “Unknown” users, there’s no way to completely exclude a single demographic through Ads targeting.

How Can You Use Demographic Targeting?

How your firm uses demographic targeting will vary depending on the area of law that you practice. Some demographic targeting options may not be useful for your firm, such as gender for a Social Security disability attorney. On the other hand, age may be vital for disability lawyers. Here are three hypothetical examples of how various law firms could use demographic targeting to their advantage:

Example 1: A Social Security disability lawyer finds that the leads he generates on Google seem to be higher quality if they’re over age 40. To avoid serving his ads to a younger audience, he excludes the ages of 18-24, 25-34, and 35-44. This leaves his campaign running for users who are 45+, or whose age is unknown.

Example 2: A family law attorney who specializes in custody agreements wants to sign more parents seeking divorce. To avoid serving to users who are seeking a divorce without children, she can specifically target users who are a parent. On the other hand, if the divorce attorney avoids taking cases with children, she could exclude all consumers who are known parents.

Example 3: An employment law attorney has clients from all walks of life, whether they are a cashier who’s been shorted overtime pay to an executive who faces sexual harassment in a billion-dollar corporation. He has found that he doesn’t want to exclude anyone in the lower-income demographics, as they often have valid claims. That being said, this attorney knows that he can earn more from those who have higher household incomes. The employment law attorney bids 25% higher for those who have a high household income. This way he’ll still receive leads from low-income families, but he’s also willing to pay a premium for the cases that will be worth more.

Before Getting Started: Do Your Research

While it’s tempting to take a chainsaw to Ads and target your ideal consumer, keep in mind that the more you use demographic targeting, the smaller the audience your campaigns will have. If your firm already struggles with volume, adding demographic targeting will reduce your lead generation numbers even further. Demographic targeting is a good fit for firms who are spending more than they’d like per lead, or who would like to increase the quality of the leads they generate on Ads.

Finally, some areas of law fall under Google’s “sensitive vertical” umbrella, meaning that there may be limits to the demographic targeting you’re allowed to use. Some Social Security claimants may find that they can use age targeting, but household income targeting is a policy violation. Always do research on your specific area of law and Google’s policies to ensure your ads don’t get suspended.

Implementing Demographic Targeting

You can find options for demographic targeting and exclusions on the Ads platform’s homepage. You’ll be able to see how much you spend by demographic, how much volume is available within your already-existing campaign, and what your cost per lead is by demographic. You can be as broad or as granular as you’d like with your targeting: you can implement targeting on only one ad group within a campaign if you’d like.

By doing a little extra research into what type of consumer your firm wants, you may be able to dramatically reduce your paid lead costs while increasing your firm’s lead quality.

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