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Preliminary Results In: Facebook Ads Don’t Seem to Work

by Carolyn Elefant on June 8, 2012 · 4 comments

in New Marketing Ideas, Tech & Web

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Sometimes, a gut check works just as well as, or better than a guru.  More than two years ago, when Nolo  was a book publisher rather than a content source for  an marketing content provider, I blogged about whether lawyers should use Facebook to market a practice.  Ultimately, while I suggested that lawyers might play around with Facebook to see what kinds of results it might yield, I concluded that Facebook ads probably wouldn’t be very effective because after all, who wants to think about legal problems at a recreational site like Facebook.

Of course, this isn’t rocket science – and I suspect that most lawyers felt the same.  Turns out, too, that our guts were right:  a recent survey by Reuters concluded that four of five Facebook users have never bought a product or service as a result of advertising on the site.  The survey applied to all types of services and products; presumably the one of five who did buy weren’t purchasing professional services.

Bottom line: sometimes a gut works as well a marketing guru.

  • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

    I’d say the results are just the opposite. A 20% conversion rate is pretty huge for online advertising.

  • http://gyitsakalakis.com/ Gyi Tsakalakis

    In general, a 20% conversion rate is excellent for just about anything online… However, my experiences with Facebook advertising for a legal practice are much like the experiences of many other types of businesses:

    Tons of impressions, very low click-through rates and even lower conversions.

    The problem is intent. People always want to draw a comparison between Facebook ads and Search ads. They don’t get it.

    Facebook ads are interruption ads, no different from advertising on TV. Sure, they can more specifically target who they show ads to, but people on Facebook are looking for what you’re selling.

    This will be one of Facebook’s major challenges: finding ways to monetize.

    Games do pretty well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more focus on other special functionality apps. But advertising (and sponsored stories) will never compete with search because of the intent problem.

    If you merely want brand exposure to targeted demographics, Facebook ads might be for you.

    Frankly, in my experience, you’ll get a better “return” just participating, networking, etc than you will advertising. And all that costs is your time, which admittedly, for lawyers, can be expensive.

  • Heidi Meinzer

    I think the value of Facebook depends on who your clients and potential clients are, and what your practice is.  I love dogs and I am a part-time dog trainer.  I use Facebook to connect with dog trainers, animal behaviorists, rescues, shelters, etc.  Lo and behold, my practice (formerly pure litigation) is steadily growing to encompass animal law and transactional matters, particularly for dog trainers, vets, rescues and the pet care industry.  I actually do get quite a bit of business from Facebook — not because I’m using Facebook as an attorney, but because I’m doing what I love and connecting to people who have the same interests as I do.

  • http://www.enlawyers.com/ Kurt Nachtman

    We tried Facebook for about 8 weeks.  Spent almost 500 bucks.  Never got a click that converted to a contact.  Not even a phone call, let alone a client.   I’d tend to agree that it is great for impressions and branding, but legal advertising for a small firm like mine is about value; it’s about converting $$ to clients. 

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