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Lawyers have been advertising on TV for decades, with varying degrees of success and decorum. In the early days, it was controversial and litigation ensued as to whether it was legal, that is, until most state bar associations approved it along with restrictions. It was also extremely expensive to run television ads, with most campaigns costing between hundred thousand dollars and a million dollars. However, today’s landscape of video advertising is another universe as compared to 20 years ago. Now, it is almost mandatory for law firms to advertise using digital video, particularly given how cheap it is and given the various platforms the message can dispersed.

The future of digital online marketing is clearly the use of video.

The current trend is that our attention spans are becoming smaller and consumers are becoming less likely to read long, text from advertising and are moving quickly to only want short, content-laden videos.

With the cost of creating quality digital videos becoming lower each year, the increased ROI on the marketing budget makes using digital video almost a no-brainer.

The Future of the Video Web
If you spend any time online you will quickly come to realize that the world-wide web is relying heavily on video. Every website, ranging from entertainment sites, social media sites to news sites uses video. Obviously, the push of using so much video content over the last 15 years is the reliability of very fast download speeds and the ubiquitous use of smart, handheld devices that easily allow users to view video content.

Just remember, the use of reliable online video content was fairly rare even as of 2005, when a small, unknown video-based website called YouTube was created. Up until then, there was no dedicated platform or technology for easily playing digital video content. Currently, YouTube is the largest platform for watching digital videos with the site having uploaded 300 hours of video every minute of every day. Further, given this amount of content, it is not surprising that almost 5 billion videos are watched on the site every single day. Again, this is just one platform. There are many more.

Right now, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are increasing their use of video with the “stories” feature on each of the social media platforms. With all of these platforms, it can become somewhat dizzying and confusing which platform to use for their online video advertising. With the ease of use of all of these platforms, a savvy lawyer should be using all of them to get the message and brand out there. It is estimated that 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2019 will video content.

Digital Video Advertising
Because of the significant increase in the use of digital videos online, there was a corresponding boom in the amount of money spent on digital video advertising. An example of this is where an ad would play for 10 or 15 seconds before you watched the latest funny cat video on Youtube or Buzzfeed. Stationary ads and banner ads are still useful in this space, but video ads allow law firms to connect with consumers at a deeper level, conveying more information in a much more credible and human manner.

Further, and more important, is the use of algorithms that can sniff out what people are thinking even before they realize it. Have you ever performed a Google search on a particular product or issue and then notice that, days later, you see ads for the product in your Facebook screens or when you pull up a YouTube video? Now, law firms can pay to have targeted ads sent to consumers when they, for example, look up information about mesothelioma lawsuits or class actions about a specific product or injury.

High Quality Micro Video Advertising
Because there are so many videos online and consumers are exposed to so many videos on a daily basis, we have become unlikely experts on the quality of video advertising. We know, right away, when a video is either poorly made or poorly conceived. Further, our BS meters have become well-honed at the sight of dishonest or at least disingenuous content. Therefore, creating high quality, honest, information dense videos is extremely important for law firms. Making the ad personal in some fashion will also draw the consumer in and possibly create an unbreakable relationship with the consumer. If done correctly, a law firm can develop a lifelong send of trust with a consumer.

One current trend is using high quality micro video advertising as opposed to more traditional, longer video ads. In the beginning of video advertising most ads were around 30 seconds long. Now, the trend is to use video ads that are 10 to 15 seconds long. The theory behind this is based upon the notion that businesses fail to create relationships with modern consumers using just one, long video advertisement. In fact, a trusted relationship can be developed of time and many “hits” on the consumer using micro ads. This micro-ad theory has been shown to be popular with that ever elusive millennial consumer. It is well-known that the Millennials have very short attention spans as compared to other age groups and generations. They were practically raised by the internet and are quite savvy when it comes to online advertising. And this is where digital video advertising and social media come into play.

Advertising Within Social Media
Video advertising and social media platforms have become so ubiquitous that it seems like a marriage made in heaven. Facebook users have become accustomed to their feeds being filling with auto-playing video ads. Further, as mentioned above, with the use of extremely clever algorithms, these video ads can be highly relevant. Another tool that social media platforms use is the ability to direct who will see the ad with laser-like accuracy. Because sites such as Facebook know just about everything about their users, they can use those data points to direct ads at their users for every specific qualities, more efficiently than a television commercial after the local news. Facebook can send ads to a specific zip code or to consumers who had made specific searches on products or issues.

Another current trend in online digital video advertising is the personalization of ads. Using social media, law firms can create a personalized brand in a particular geographic area or particular legal field. For instance, if a lawyer has a significant amount of followers on Instagram or Twitter, that lawyer could be an “influencer” in their arena of choice.

Just think of what could be done when a highly targeted, personal video is sent out by an influencer who has 100,000 followers. The microphone used could be deafening with a following like that.

About Author

Jim Carroll is a contributor for Bigger Law Firm.

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