Google Shared Endorsements in PPC Advertising – How To Prepare Your Law Firm

Last week, Google announced that from November it will include what it calls ‘Shared Endorsements’ in its Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads. This means that the faces of customers or clients of a business and the review they left for that business on Google will be included in the advert.

Google explains how it will work:

“For example, if you search for “Italian restaurants,” you might see an ad for a nearby restaurant along with your friend’s favorable review. Or, in Google Play, you might see that another friend has +1’d a new song or album.”

Here’s how a shared endorsement in an ad will look:

Google users over the age of 18 are allowed to opt out if they choose, preventing their picture or review being used in advertising. Under-18s will be opted out automatically.

Facebook already uses socially contextual adverts and updates as you’ve probably noticed. When a fan of your Facebook page shares one of your updates or clicks ‘Like’, their friends see this. Unlike Google, Facebook users can’t opt out of this entirely; only tighten up their privacy settings.

What Does This Mean For Your Law Firm?

Advertising like this provides added social proof within your advertising and can benefit your Law Firm. However, it doesn’t only demonstrate that you lived up to your promises and impressed your clients, it offers that message to prospective clients from their friends who have said that about your Law Practice.

As I explain to lawyers who want to grow their practices, “What you say about yourself is good. What others say about you is gold.”

Recommendations and referrals from delighted clients are the most powerful marketing you can have. Having the opportunity to include a photo of your client and their review in your PPC ad for their friends to see when looking for a Law Firm could swing the balance in favor of your Firm getting that new client.

Will Your State Bar Approve?

Shared endorsements in PPC adverts is something that’s brand new. The State Bars may not have had an opportunity to completely understand what it is or to issue guidance. Some State Bars frown upon the use of testimonials in marketing that solicits contact from the public so they may object to your Law Firm using shared endorsements in your ads. Check with your State Bar for clarification.

How To Prepare Your Law Firm For The Change

If your client has posted a review about your firm on your Google  page and they have a photograph, they may well feature in your PPC adverts. In order to take advantage of this new feature you need:

If you haven’t got Google reviews, now is the time to start soliciting them from your satisfied clients.

Simon Aronowitz, who is on the PILMMA Board of Advisors, offers this simple tip to increase your Google reviews:

“Many of the cases that Personal Injury and Disability Lawyers handle can take a minimum of six months up to two or three years to settle. That’s plenty of time to get clients using Google Plus and trained to post a review.

“Instead of waiting until the client’s case has been settled, Law Firms should instead try to get that new client to set up their Google Plus account during the intake process.

This doesn’t just mean that their account is already set up for when the Law Firm wants the client to use it; it also ages the account and gives it history, reducing the chances of Google removing that client’s review.”

What do you think about Google’s Shared Endorsements in PPC advertising? Let us know in the comments below.