In today’s episode, we examine how Google is making its advertising services more appealing to both marketers and customers and why their platforms are succeeding despite a shift in market behavior with which companies such as Facebook are struggling.
As Apple, Facebook, and Google revealed their fourth-quarter results, it became apparent who won the advertising race. While Facebook’s stock fell due to poor ad revenue, Google announced new records for 2021.
What is Google doing to keep advertisers and users on its platform? From more stringent advertiser verifications steps to new updates to their ad products to make your legal firm’s advertisements perform better, as long as you know what you’re doing.
Now is the time to get involved in the conversation and discover how to make the most of Google Ads to help your law firm continue growing.
Resources mentioned in our episode:
Send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Liel: [00:00:00] Well, Facebook is in the midst of its biggest stock drop ever, and it’s trading at an 18 month low. Google has easily outperformed all of its Big Tech peers over the past year. What is their secret? Google Ads? I’m Liel Levy, co-founder of Nanato Media and author of Beyond Se Habla Español, How Lawyers Win the Hispanic Market and This Is In-camera podcast, and we think that the most effective targeting is when people sales target themselves by entering a Google search query. Welcome to In-Camera Podcast, Private Legal Marketing Conversation, Grace, welcome back. How are you today?
Grace: [00:01:04] Good. How are you, Liel?
Liel: [00:01:06] I’m good, Grace. We’re just talking, right? How busy it is when you start a new week after you’ve been to a conference. And so here is the kicker in this one. And I know you’re an expert on this because you had some very serious back to back conferencing planning last fall. But we are just, you know, as we are just starting to settle down already packing up bags and heading out to AJ in just a couple of days. We’re recording this on a Thursday. And so by the time we’re releasing these, actually we’re going to be at the American Association for Justice Winter. Conference convention conference, how they call it convention, I think
Grace: [00:01:52] They do battle with the convention, yeah,
Liel: [00:01:53] Convention, right? Yes. And so Grace. That’s that’s exciting. You know, like I was trying to go through the well, not trying. I was going through the schedule today because I wanted to identify exhibit hall opening hours, breaks and such. We can plan. And obviously, I also saw the sessions. And the one thing you know that we kind of or at least we we don’t mention a lot is like how much mass torts? Conversations and panels and talks are happening during AAJ, it’s mind blowing, it’s mind blowing. And here’s the thing I didn’t like there’s like a couple of them about juul like juul Grace. I haven’t heard about juul in like two years, right? And this is going to be really interesting. Not sure what I’m going to be sitting at any of them, but it sounds interesting.
Grace: [00:02:50] I mean, I really want to because AAJ is really that educational conference or convention. It is, you know, and they really just they bring to the table so many different avenues. And like you said, mass torts in particular for us is a big deal. So yeah, I think I’m going to do my best to try and attend some of those. Oh, please do. So if you see me running around and I always be
Liel: [00:03:13] Grace, I always see your running around like there is no seeing you not running around, so I’m already counting on it. But this time I just know that you’re running around not organizing a dinner at Nobu, but trying to make it to a mass tort session. So that’s the one thing I’ll keep in mind Grace, anyway. It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to it and stay tuned because we’re going to be a recording conversation either at or after the American Association for Justice Winter Convention. So Grace. Before that, we need to go through another conversation, and I think it’s fair to say that we are going to focus this episode to talk about all kinds of things Google, particularly Google ads. And I’m going to start here with some news and updates that potentially many lawyers have been hit over the past month or so with emails from their Google account asking them to verify themselves. And so Grace in order to explain this in simple terms. Google is ramping up their effort in order to ensure that people advertising in Google A there are legitimate businesses, they are who they say they are. And they’re also advertising for the right reasons. So. From the top, just listen to this. Are you happy to hear that Google is taking this initiative?
Grace: [00:04:44] So I personally am because I always thought that, you know, like the local service ads, how they required you to do verification to begin with for those. I mean, for me, it’s just another way of telling the user and based on intent that this is a legitimate business, you know, especially with the advent of, I mean, it’s not just the advent, honestly, but the last two years with COVID. We know all of us know what we got hit with when it came to spam. You know, all of these actions hacking. It was pretty crazy. So I don’t blame people and much less Google for requiring verifications. Yeah, I just heard somebody that recently got basically bamboozled. You know, that’s like a nice way of saying it, but bamboozled out of their money when they were trying to spend on Google and they, I guess, sent it to a different company. Somehow, some way a person got the wire information and oh my god, it was pretty bad and they lost close to a hundred and sixty k.
Liel: [00:05:50] Are you kidding me, Grace?
Grace: [00:05:51] I am not. And this was very recent. This was very recent. Mm hmm. At a law firm, huh? Yes, it was. And you know, I will. Obviously, for everybody involved, I’m not going to say whom. But you know, I I know a lot of different people and you know, this is one of those things that they do not have the money for that. So I mean, nobody does, right? But yeah, but that is just, you know, it’s I understand why Google’s doing it and I am all for it.
Liel: [00:06:17] Yeah. So I totally read it the same way that you are Grace, which is Google is trying to clean their slate, right? Like, Google is as annoyed. Well, I don’t know if they are as annoyed as other advertisers are about having to compete with fraudulent advertisers. And I mean, what you’re mentioning here with with someone that got defrauded one hundred and sixty k potentially that never even intended to be put for advertising efforts. The reality is that there is a lot of advertisers are in the space that they are framing themselves to be something that they are not right. And so or, you know, I’ll tell you another example law firms that are not playing clean and they’re advertising as two different entities on the same market and therefore showing up ads, double pretending to be like two different institutions when they’re in reality the same and called get funneling to the same place. So, you know, this kind of illegitimate activity, right, is going to get filtered out with this initiative, or at least an attempt to try to sort it out. And this is very much looking and focusing it through the, you know, legal marketing lens. But there is an even back story to this, which is Google initiating here back in 2018 what they call greater transparency in political advertising initiative so that they are able to provide the users accurate information about who is actually the business or the entity putting up the ad in front of them.
Liel: [00:08:00] And so this is extremely important Grace because while there is a lot of lead generation vendors, providers out there that are doing the right thing, they’re following the state bar rules when it comes down to this, showing disclaimers that they are not a law firm, that they are a joint advertising or they are advertising on behalf of a group of lawyers, whatever the model is. There are some that aren’t. And the reality is that now they are going to be kind of like pushed a little bit against the wall and say, OK, who you are, are you the actual law firm or are you a lead generation company? And if such, give us more information about what you do, who you work for and so forth and so on. And so I think this is a great initiative. I think we should be very supportive of it. And for those who have received the email, well, it’s very simple. You’re just basically need to go and upload a W9 on your business and give Google a little bit more of information on what you do. And probably you’re going to get verified within a few hours or a couple of days, and then you’re all done.
Liel: [00:09:00] But that’s the thing Grace right for you. It’s easy because you’re a legitimate. Now think for those that are not going to be able to put up that show. And so what’s going to happen to their accounts where they’re going to get paused or suspended? And so moving on into a march of this year, this whole thing is going to get unified into an advertiser verification program. Will Google is going to act? There’s going to add a new section to the verification process where there’s going to be. They’re going to be requesting information about your business and then they’re updating a little bit. Also, the. Timeline that you have in order to provide the documentation that they may request from you, Grace. So all in all of the diligence that Google is putting in place, I think is something that we should be happy about and it should be something that we should embrace and see it as a positive and, you know, staying on track on it, Grace. It’s a really, really good move that Google is doing in trying to to, you know, put some order in here. And so this also comes after Google recently last week announced their Q4 results for twenty twenty one and say that they’ve generated a revenue of sixty five billion. Just in Q4, and when it breaks down, sixty one point two of those billions came from Google advertising.
Liel: [00:10:34] And so this is just to give you some, you know, total numbers for twenty twenty one. Alphabet was the parent company of Google, had a revenue of two hundred and fifty seven point six billion in the year. Twenty twenty two. Now you may say, all right, it’s a lot of money, but. All right. Well, that is a forty one percent increase from the previous year from twenty twenty one, which was already a ground breaking year. Now they generating one hundred and eighty two point two billion and so. Grace, Google is really rocking it, yeah, and they’re strong and are strong and what this also comes to show us on the same week that as you’ve probably heard, Facebook reported terrible earnings on Q4, which they are attributing to Apple’s new policies. Google is not going anywhere, and while other platforms are going to have to fight to continue earning their place in the advertising space. Google is sturdy and strong and not going anywhere, and also comes to remind us particularly about the power of search, because here there is a very interesting area in this article that we’re looking at great where they’re breaking down the revenue by platform. And so here is how these revenue got generated.
Grace: [00:12:11] I say it’s funny that we’re talking about this because truthfully, that I mean, if the search increased, we knew it did. And then with all of the problems with Facebook, we kind of figured that there was a lot of people actually jumping off of Facebook with. So I mean, I personally, I just kind of been. I like to watch trends like we both do. I know we do. And then over the last two years, because of COVID. People went home, started searching more. Everything was more through search. Everything was more mobile. Everything is more online. So this these numbers, they just make sense to me.
Liel: [00:12:43] Here is how the revenue breaks down by platform. Ok, so Google search did thirty five point seven percent in terms of the revenues they’re attributed, right? So that’s for that. That accounts for forty three point three billion in revenue. And so in the same period the previous year on Q4, on the previous year, it was thirty one point nine billion. So that’s more that’s like a 30 percent increase, which is quite remarkable. Now, Grace. When we look at YouTube advertising here, I think it’s, you know, another space that has actually increased quite substantially, it has gone up by 25 percent. So, you know, from six point ten billion that it generated in Q4 2020, now it did 8.6 Billion. And then there is the Google network that primarily going to be your display in other platforms that did a total of twenty five point five increase. So that was nine point three billion this year from seven point four the previous year. So, you know, growth is across the board. Obviously, the search network kind of like takes the biggest prize, and it’s also by far the biggest revenue generator when it comes down to revenues from Google ads. So I mean, this is for anyone having any doubts whether advertising and being present on Google has any value, right? And just to give you a little, you know, more point of comparison about the size and market share that Google has, not that we need a reminder of it. Let me share with you the revenues of Microsoft right now. Let me, yeah, let me sell. Let me share with you. Microsoft search revenues two billion.
Liel: [00:14:38] Three billion. Right. So obviously, Grace Google is not going anywhere, and they continue to lead the ranks in strength for when it comes down to advertising. And again, I cannot reiterate in of how valuable search is. I mean, search is bottom of the funnel quality leads. It doesn’t get any better than that. All right, Grace. Now we have more things to look into Google ads. Now it’s time that we revisit one campaign that we kind of like positioned it as a darling at the end of twenty twenty one and we said, Hey, this is going to be promising Performance Max campaign, which kind of like trying is it’s going to be replacing local ads campaign. Is it good? Is it worth trying? So, you know, we’ve been a few months into this launch, so I think we have a better opinion about it now Grace. So for those of you who did not listen to the previous episode that we talked about, performance might as well. Please go do so. It’s out there, but it’s a campaign that Google created to try to lure in advertisers that are not currently advertising in Google, primarily because of the complexities around setting up a campaign. So what Google created here is a type of campaign or a strategy where you just need to provide some basic details to them and they’ll do everything for you, right? And so what happens when you opt in into this type of strategy is that. You’re pretty much. Putting the fate of that investment in the hands of. A I. And can we say confidently, that is it.
Liel: [00:16:38] The best type of campaign that you can run, and I think the answer now after having it’s been performed for quite some time, the answer is no. Right? Why? Because you don’t have a lot of control over who is actually seeing the ad and what actually is a valuable conversion. And so Google, while it’s trying its best ad. Showing your ads across all of its platform, Grace performance, Mack’s campaign shows ads on inside Gmail inbox, right? And so. Well, it’s really trying and it’s generating you a ton of impressions along the way. The quality of those conversions be actually not be good at all. And so how do you fix that? Can you actually fix that? And the reality is that there is. But here’s. The complexity is that to feed Google more information for it to program its AI. For it to work in a way that it serves you. It requires technical skill. And so it kind of like defeats the purpose right of. Having a campaign that it’s easy to launch. When then, in order for it to actually work, you need to feed to it and program it with a lot of data and set up several rules for it to actually understand what to do. And so under that reason, Grace, I’m not going to see performance. Max campaign is a bad campaign. I’m just going to say it’s not an easy fix like many hoped it would be. It’s not an equivalent to local service ads that pretty much does a better job of getting you in front of high intent leads. What are your thoughts, Grace?
Grace: [00:18:33] So I can actually tell you, I I have tried out performance Max, and I’m actually in the middle of switching. Yeah, not for the law firm, though. I do other things outside of this particular space on my own, and that’s everything but legal. As a matter of fact,
Liel: [00:18:51] I love that we should do. We should do a conversation just about all of the different projects and industries that you’ve been involved with that have nothing to do with legal.
Grace: [00:18:59] It’s my favorite, honestly, honestly, because, you know, when a product and or service that’s as specific as what I’m dealing with is so much easier to really target, honestly, because, you know, the space for personal injury lawyers in particular, it’s so saturated that it can be kind of special, you know, to do the brand building. And all of that takes some time. Whereas with what I’m dealing with and I’ll tell you, it’s a pest control as a matter of fact. So, yeah, it’s very, very specific and it’s in Florida and it’s a radius thing. So I’m able to kind of hyper target and make it a little easier on myself and the campaign to use Performance Max. So it’s funny that we’re talking about it because I just switched from in our ROA strategy with a 600 percent ROA basically to performance MAX. And I am finding that it looks like I can control it because of my technical expertise a little better than I think most people can. Yeah, but I won’t know just yet. For about a week or so on our next call, I will know exactly what’s happening with Performance Max as opposed to, you know, in the legal it’s going to be for other industry, obviously. Yeah, but
Liel: [00:20:21] Yeah, totally Grace. So, you know, since you brought it up, and for those who are kind of like stuck in these campaigns that are saying, OK, what can we do? All right. Well, there are a few things you can do. Number one, easiest one, use your data, use your existing data you have, you have contact lists, you have existing clients that you can feed the data to to to to Google in in the form of emails that Google can then read and say, OK, we have enough of a sample here for us to then now use our A I and create a lookalike audience based on the data that you’re giving us. So if that’s an option to you, use it because you know what? It can potentially help you find more relevant audience than what Google may potentially do just out of configuring the campaign with the most and simple, simple and basic setups.
Grace: [00:21:12] And there’s something really cool that’s specific about performance max that I think could be good. You know, at least it seems that way, and that is that you can be extremely targeted to the point where you can put the URL of another company that is very much like yours and tell them to use the audiences that go to that URL. So in our case, you know, in the case that I’m talking about when it comes to pest control, I pulled in Auchan truly Nolan and I forget there’s like to put like five URLs on there in serving the South Florida area because that’s my target, that’s my demographic. And the people that were visiting the page were visiting the page for Florida. So I put in those four or five URLs to make the targeting better and not have it display somewhere where I may not want it, you know? Yeah, it’s not going to be locked down, though it does tell you very, very clearly at the bottom of performance Max that they’re going to expand the targeting to maximize your choices. But based on their A I. So you do have to, I mean, really still pay attention almost on a daily basis when you’re using performance Max. Yeah.
Liel: [00:22:25] Now here’s the other thing Grace that you can do is just revisit your ad copy, right? Revisit your ad copy and one of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re going to google it to advertise, particularly those who are treating Google as if it was a social media platform. Right? Because Facebook, if anything, is that it’s sort of easy to initiate a campaign, put up a post and you boost it and you can run that as a campaign. Google, a little bit more complex. Right? And so the idea of running a performance max campaign can actually be very attractive to lawyers that are used to doing some sort of campaigns in Facebook, but may have not necessarily tried Google. And so it’s very important that you compartmentalize and understand, particularly when you’re going after Google in platforms where you are likely going to also be showing on the search network, you want to definitely write ad copy that is suitable for the search network. Right? Because the mentality on social media, you want to be shocking, right? You want to show something that’s going to stop the scroll and kind of like, grab their attention. That’s not what you’re going for. On the search network search network. You need to be effective at selling your value proposition, right and do it effectively and with a clear call to action. And so you’re not seeking here the interest you’re seeking here to conversion.
Liel: [00:23:49] So Grace, that’s a thing, you know, three basic things that can be done to try to get the campaign to work out for you. Make sure that you’re writing the right type of copy when you’re setting up your Performance Max campaign and its exact components, right? Because you’re being given at your, you’re getting asked to ask headlines and then what the copy and such and then Google pieces are all together for you. Now talking about ad structure, there’s another very exciting kind of like update that’s in the works and that is bulleted lists on search network ads. Grace. So I know. Writing in bullet points. Your ad copy for Google ads in the current format, which is more kind of like a paragraph is actually a mistake. But for those who have loved and always thought that I want to present my messaging in bullet points. Guess what? Great news it looks like. Google is now testing the descriptions, like the actual text, the copy inside an ad for it to show up as bullet points, a stray bullet points to be more specific. And that is not to replace your other extensions, so you can show your bullet points, and obviously you still have the headline and you can still have extensions. So the cool thing about this Grace? Well, aside of all of the testing that you can do in really narrowing down testing, call to actions and that sort of thing is that you can really very easily deliver selling points or value proposition points in a very effective way to the actual reader.
Liel: [00:25:43] And from the user standpoint is it allows you to kind of like, how do you say having that overview that doesn’t require you to actually do a lot of reading? You can go over it without necessarily having to read an actual paragraph and you can subtract from it the value points that are going to either be important or not to you, Grace. So I think this is very interesting and I think it’s going to be very relevant for the, you know, for the way that Google is now shifting away towards running more kind of like dynamic ad campaigns where Google does the mix and match you give it, you give copy, you give you give titles, you give headlines to give extensions and then Google goes and piece it all out together. While the same is going to happen here with the bullet points, right? So I think it’s an interesting test. I don’t know. Let’s be on the lookout because potentially this is going to be released out to better and better to a larger audience and eventually potentially become a feature on all accounts.
Grace: [00:26:48] So I certainly do think that, you know, I mean, they’re always testing new things. I mean, even says that what we’re looking at together and, you know, the bullets I’m for, I’m against, I really just depends on what the subject is. You know what I mean? Because depending on the industry, I want to see bullet points. If it’s a bug, yeah, I might want to see bullet points. You know, I want to see what kind of bugs you can take care of, right? Termites and ants, roaches, white flies or residential commercial. So in that case, OK, maybe, you know. But when it comes to a personal injury lawyer, I don’t know what we want practice areas in bullet points. Do we want calls to actions and bullet points like it just seems somewhat odd, depending on the industry for bullet points to even work, you know. So bullet descriptions? Ok. Maybe, you know, food, things like that. I mean, I could see how it would apply and how it would work well in certain industries. But for us, I don’t know that I. I believe that it could be helpful. I mean, who knows, we’ll see it
Liel: [00:27:51] On that one Grace. I think I will disagree with you. I think it can actually be very I mean, I like the idea that it’s cannibal, but it’s something that you can just quickly go through it. And I think it also really is going to allow you to very efficiently highlight your selling points, your differentiators. And you know, I think one of the things that it’s important to achieving an ad is to really kind of like remove roadblocks, talk about benefits and have a clear call to action. And so I think primarily, you know, people who write a good copy there are going to be able to also write great bullet points. But people who have not been good at writing copy now they’re going to have a bigger, a bigger chance to stand out and make their ads be performed better, potentially increase or click through rate. Because the current at the current ad format that is written as a bullet point thing sucks. It doesn’t perform well. So I think if anything, it’s going to just increase the ads for some advertisers. Now here is another thing, Grace that also just a few weeks ago, you know it’s been spotted as being tested. Is that now favicon? And for those of you who don’t know what a favicon is, is kind of like that little square logo of yours that probably you use on your website. So whenever you’re looking at all of the different tabs that you have open, you have the name of the site in which you are.
Liel: [00:29:23] And then there is like a little square with an image, right? That’s the favicon. And so now Google Ads is testing, showing the domain favicon in the ad. And I really love this one because it’s branding and particularly for those who have strong brands, which is really the goal and what everyone should be doing now, they’re going to have a bigger, a bigger differentiator when it comes down to showing up on the ad section because the one thing that really kind of like has sucked about the ads is that what really stands out like what what makes the ad section recognizable is the little ad word that is right next to the URL on the top. But now the favicon. Being right there next to the in between the ad and the URL is going to steal the show is where the eyes are going to go to and if it’s a brand that they recognize and appreciate. There you go. You, you click there. So great move. We’ll see if these rules out again. These are things that Google tests, not everything that Google test rolls out immediately. Sometimes it takes a lot of time because before they become available to other markets or advertisers. But there’s a lot of things to be excited about Grace. So let’s bring it down to three takeaways if you’re ready for them.
Grace: [00:30:41] I am ready. So I’d say the first takeaway for me would be having to do with a search, right? I mean, it’s just stronger than ever and telling people that, you know, what was it? Three million? Three billion? Oh, three billion for Microsoft search? All right, guys. I mean, if you haven’t
Liel: [00:31:02] Yet, I’m dragging stuff, dragging Microsoft Grace. They did nothing to you.
Grace: [00:31:06] I love Microsoft, their products. I really do. But obviously their search is lacking when it comes to this. So if you haven’t gotten into Google, if you don’t have LSAs, you don’t have performance max ads. Totally. Just please, please do something, you know. I mean, don’t throw money against the wall and hope it sticks, because that’s not going to work, as hopefully you’ve learned through all of our podcasts, but you know, with a well-thought-out strategy, don’t have to have a huge budget. You can start testing things, try things out. And I mean, really, you could still do this. You know, you don’t have to be number one, you don’t have to have a hundred percent domain authority. You don’t have I mean, you don’t need all of those things. You’ve got to start somewhere, though, so don’t leave it for next year. Don’t leave it for never because you are going to be left behind. I mean, the more that this stuff is just keeps coming up and the more that you’re able to create good content and people want to find you, you’re going to come up in Google organically, but do some foray into ads you need to.
Liel: [00:32:10] Yeah, totally Grace. Those are very good takeaways. As a matter of fact, one of them definitely being do not lose your confidence in Google because they’re not going anywhere. Search has proven to be an extremely strong platform that the consumer’s right your your potential clients just like to use. It’s it’s the venue how they find answers and solutions to their problems. And so that still is getting strong and you have to get on board on it, right? So that’s takeaway number one. They’re going to learn. Number two is how do you do it? We’ll test things out. There is very simple solutions like, let’s say, ads, which at this point should be a no brainer, right? But don’t put don’t put all your hopes in that. It’s not as easy as you’re just creating your LSA and expect for everything to get solved on you, particularly in your in your if you’re in a competitive market, in a competitive practice area. So you’re going to have to try other things, whether that’s going to be performance max, I mean, it’s going to it may generate some results, but be realistic. You need to you need to feed good data to Google so that you can expect them to generate the type of results that you expect. And then, you know, if you can then set up some good search ads. The last thing I’m going to say here, Grace, if I may, is do not be either pay per click or SEO guy, right? Or gal. It’s you need to understand these things work together, and you need to understand as well that users are considering more than just one option.
Liel: [00:33:45] And I think, you know, the scanning of the search results page has become a user. Have it right? Like you kind of like scroll up and down and see, OK, who’s here, who’s there, who’s showing more than wants? And so you’re kind of like making judgment calls without necessarily visiting any side just by the information that that Google is feeding back to you, right? And so the visibility you’re getting, you know, we talked about snippets not too long ago, how important it is to mark up your pages so your listings show more prominent. So you’re showing in more sections across the search results page. All of that is super valuable. So it’s it’s I think we’re past the times where you can only choose to go one route. We need to be more holistic Grace. And the other one is, you know, we’ve all grew grew very strong on the idea that Facebook was also sturdy and their advertising platform was the most powerful in search, right? And it still continues to be very, very efficient. But you know, they’re going through some very, very, very turbulent waters and are they’re going to be coming back from it? Maybe. But when you’re looking at the available data that it’s to you at this point, if. One thing we’re learning is that we’re the intent is the highest, such as in Google, the the revenues are speaking up for themselves.
Grace: [00:35:16] They sure are. When money talks, right?
Liel: [00:35:20] All right. Grace. Well, safe travels and I’ll see you in a few days.
Grace: [00:35:25] I’ll see you in a few days, Liel.
Liel: [00:35:27] All right. Take care. Bye bye. And if you like our show, make sure you subscribe. Tell your coworkers. Leave us a review and send us your questions at: email@example.com. We’ll see you next week.