Today a whopping 38% of all daily media interactions happen on “second screens”.
With annual attorney television advertising approaching the $650 million mark, and a handful of law firms spending over $10 million each on campaigns, there’s no doubt TV ads are still valued as an earnest investment in the legal vertical. But while the reach of TV simply cannot be replicated, the “first screen” is only one “touchpoint” in increasingly essential multiscreen marketing strategies.
TV is traditionally considered the first screen, and people still watch a lot of it, mostly for entertainment value. But they do it differently now. They’re not exactly totally tuned in anymore. Most viewers now watch the big screen with a supplementary device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop, also known as a second screen, in their hands.
Shifts in consumer purchases and behavior support this trend. The number of devices per person has more than doubled since 2000 and figures indicate that over 60% of Americans now “browse” the Internet while watching some form of video programming. Nielsen has reported that 80% of smartphone and tablet owners log device time while watching TV.
Either way, it’s abundantly clear that people still watch TV, but it’s those who view it with a second screen in hand who hold the key to the future of multiscreen marketing and advertising for lawyers. Synching legal brands across devices is the only way that lawyers can truly leverage initial spend on television advertising.
Unfortunately the digital space is already a highly competitive place for lawyers to advertise or compete for attention. In fact the top 23 of 25 Google keywords used to link search topics to Internet ads are in the personal injury law firm category. That kind of demand translates to higher spending for competitive search terms like the phrase sitting in the most expensive seat right now—“San Antonio car wreck attorney.” It’s a cool $670 per click.
But that doesn’t mean smaller firms or lawyers with limited budgets are excluded from either attorney television advertising or digital advertising. It just means law firms need to be smarter and more sophisticated in their approach to marketing on all mediums. It’s about understanding how, when and where consumers spend time on different devices, as well as how to draw the lines between first and second screens to make a bolder impact, separate your legal brand from the competition and increase engagement with prospective clients.
TV’s new challenges: from distraction to engagement
So what are people—potential legal clients—doing on all these distracting devices while passively watching TV? Well, mostly surfing for information, often related to what they’re seeing on TV, which could just as easily be your law firm’s ad as an awards show or sporting event. Other times they’re multitasking (reading email, doing work, shopping online, etc.) in an efficient way that at least creates the illusion of productivity. Or they’re simply socializing via text and social-status updates.
Especially among the millennial generation, which has literally grown up on screen time, users are going to the Internet to dig deeper and ultimately engage more directly and personally with brands, whether that’s through social networks, interactive website features, online video or other digital marketing components.
That said, younger users are also smart enough to use their devices to distract themselves during what they deem as boring TV commercials (hopefully not yours). This makes marketers’ jobs ever harder. Attorney television advertising now needs to be more original, more compelling and more memorable than everything else out there to keep a viewer’s attention. Simultaneously legal brands need to be making an impression on the Web when, on a whim, browsers turn their attention to the second screen.
Knowing what trends in technology are allowing for the vast interplay between the first and second screens is critical to building a comprehensive marketing strategy for the future and learning how to reallocate some traditional advertising dollars toward connected devices. The exciting part is new cross-screen platforms and opportunities are coming online all the time and these will only improve how well lawyers can continue to market across multiple screens. As you look to the future, here are a few things keep on your radar.
Advertising is only as good as what you consume it on.
Simply put, advertising content must be tweaked for the medium on which it is viewed or digested. What works on TV, while it should similar enough in look and feel to maintain brand consistency, won’t be viewed (and therefore understood) in the same way on a PC or phone.
For example, Microsoft found that people don’t mind advertising as much when it appears on a larger-scale screen like a TV, or even a computer or tablet, but ads get progressively more annoying as the screen gets smaller. You law firm’s ad can feel downright intrusive on a smartphone, so keep that in mind for your mobile marketing strategy.
Adjust your digital content for the context.
We know that consumers feel differently about content depending on the device on which they’re interacting with it. For example, laptops, which are traditionally associated with work and productivity, are generally thought of as tools for teaching and informing, before shopping or gaming. Content known to be consumed via laptop, therefore, need to be catered to the context.
Mobile phones, because they are our constant “companions,” are more linked to behaviors like building relationships and communicating socially. Keeping user behavior on different devices in mind when developing content marketing strategies will help your attorneys engage more appropriately and gain better reach—not to mention what putting a consumer’s needs first does for reputation management and brand loyalty.
Monitor, measure and morph what’s not working.
The goal of every second-screen marketing effort should be to create authentic, helpful content and deliver it in a way that drives engagement with the user you’ve already hooked. This can happen in a huge variety of ways through a huge variety of tools and platforms, but the ultimate goal is to help users easily discover important information; consume it in a way that feels both palatable and memorable; and gain immediate access to the tools they need to share content with whomever they want.
If you’re doing your job, your digital analytics will show an increased number of active users, opt-ins and longer time spent interacting with content. If website page-performance numbers are stagnant or decreasing, on the other hand, it’s time to mix things up or try a new tool. And, of course, in the second-screen digital environment testing the effectiveness of new marketing tactics is not only entirely possibly, it’s a commonplace practice.
While it’s no longer as easy as signing up for an attorney television-advertising package, digital marketing doesn’t have to be a burden either. Network Affiliates has been staying in front of trends in legal marketing since attorneys were first allowed the distinction of advertising. To handle each part of the process, we maintain in-house creative, production and media planning departments. Longtime legal clients often call us the “one-stop shop” for law-firm marketing. Call us at (888) 461-1016 to start taking back your market share.