Local Service Ads (LSAs), a relatively new feature in the Google Ads platform, can be a great way for law firms to get calls from prospective clients. You only pay for actual leads (in theory), and if you get a junk call, you can dispute the charge.
This article will explain the inner workings of LSAs, how to set up an account, how to optimize the account, and how to factor these calls into your law firm marketing budget.
What Are Local Service Ads (LSAs), and How Do They Work?
LSAs are three paid advertisements that show at the top of the Google SERPs when someone enters a query for local services. They feature a “Google Screened” badge, and your reviews, business information, and more information are visible. Here’s an example for the search phrase, “personal injury lawyer near me:”
Your law firm will need to set up an account, fill out the information, and await verification from Google.
Once your ad is running on Google, you will be eligible to receive calls from the ad, and you are only charged when someone calls you. Furthermore, if you receive a junk call, you can dispute the lead and have your money refunded.
Are LSAs Expensive For Lawyers?
No, local service ads are surprisingly cheap. In the markets our lawyers participate in, calls cost between $100-$250 apiece. In fact, many lawyers wish more LSA call inventory was available for them to buy. If you only have $1K-$2K per month to spend (or less), this would be a good place to start.
Do Local Service Ads Work For Attorneys?
Yes they do, sometimes very well. We helped a new client enroll in the LSA program in January of 2022, and the only LSA call he received that month turned into a very lucrative case. Paying $200 for a great vehicle accident case is a huge win! Your account will need to be optimized correctly to get great results, but we will discuss that below.
What local service ads will NOT do is scale your law firm significantly. They don’t work like typical law firm PPC ads, where you can start with a $10K budget, and if the results are good, scale to $15K, $20K, etc. You will have to take what Google will give you, and since Google shares this ad inventory among the many firms enrolled in the program, you won’t be able to simply raise your bids and get more calls.
If you view LSAs as a low maintenance, low-cost way to get extra cases here and there, you will be satisfied with the results.
Do Law Firms Need To Run LSAs?
Not necessarily, but it’s in your best interests to do so. Consider the hierarchy of Google’s search engine results these days:
- Local service ads
- Traditional PPC ads
- The map pack
- The “people also ask” feature
- The traditional organic search results
If you rely on the map pack or the traditional organic results for leads, web users will have to scroll at least twice just to see you. We recommend setting up an LSA account so you can get a few cheap calls here and there.
How To Set Up an LSA Account
Initial LSA Account Enrollment
Firstly, visit ads.google.com/localservices and log in with the Gmail address (or Google Workspace email) you’d like to associate with your account. Firms who are working with a third party, like an agency, will often set up the account with a dummy Gmail address that everyone has access to.
At this point, all you need to do is follow the prompts shown on your screen. You will need your bar # on hand, but other than that, enrollment is simple.
The main pitfall is choosing a profile photo for your LSA account. Follow Google’s specifications – it needs to be a square headshot with the subject facing forward, and the background cannot be white or transparent. Nearly every firm chooses a light grey background.
Other setup tips:
- If your firm is bilingual, make sure you select the “speaks Spanish” option
- If you have an intake service outside of office hours, select “24 hours”
- If you are a PI firm, don’t select the “accept general lawyer inquiries” option – the quality of poor
- Upload as many professional photos of your office and partners as you have.
It doesn’t take long for Google to complete the verification process, so you can expect your ads to be online within a week of enrolling.
Choosing a Budget For Your Law Firm LSA Account
Firstly, you will need to set a weekly budget. Start with $1,000 per week minimum, but don’t worry, you will not spend nearly that much. We’ll discuss that principle in the next section.
For “bidding type,” go with Google’s recommendation of “”maximize leads.” LSA leads are never expensive, so you won’t have to worry about your entire weekly budget being spent on a single call. If you select the “set max per lead” option, you may limit your visibility.
For transparency’s sake, our clients have had the most success setting high weekly budgets ($2K per week minimum) with the “maximize leads” model chosen. Again, you won’t actually spend $2K per week!
Can You Optimize Your LSA Account To Get More Calls Or Rank Better?
To a certain extent, yes you can. But LSAs don’t work like SEO or regular Google Ads accounts, so don’t expect to capture 90% of the available impression share with these advertisements. Google is explicitly trying to involve more firms.
Optimizing Your Account’s Budget Level
At Majux, we heard two pieces of advice directly from Google representatives, and the reps contradicted each other (an interesting side effect of using a new feature):
- Advice #1 was to set your weekly budget level extremely high, like $6,000 per week, to prod the algorithm into showing your ads. This is safe because in reality, the LSA program will never let you spend even close to that, even if you wanted to
- Advice #2 was to set a realistic and comfortable weekly budget, because high budgets may look like manipulation and limit your visibility.
We tried both options, and the one that resulted in calls was #1. For now, we are setting huge weekly budgets, using the “maximize leads” model, and monitoring the accounts carefully so that the actual ad spend stays within our clients’ budget.
Earn More Reviews, Get More LSA Calls
Your ad will be more visible, and you will get more calls, if you have a competitive amount of reviews. The LSA platform actually pulls reviews from your Google My Business profile, so encourage all of your clients and past clients to leave reviews there. Note that if someone leaves a review directly in the LSA platform, that review will not show up in your GMB listing.
Answer the Phone
If you have a lead intake service that can handle after-hours calls, set your ads to a 24 hour schedule. It casts the biggest net, and you’ll have the best chance at landing a good case.
But if you don’t have anyone answering the phone after hours, make sure you set a specific schedule for your ads! Missed calls will hurt your LSA account’s standing, and you may receive less visibility from Google.
Do You Need an Agency To Run Your LSA Account?
Frankly, you do not need to hire a consultant or pay an agency to run your LSAs. If you already have someone running your PPC ads or managing your law firm SEO strategy, you could certainly ask if they’d be willing to set up your account for a fee.
The most important part is the initial account setup. After that, the ads will not necessarily require hands-on management. Typical Google Ads accounts need work almost daily, but that’s not the case with LSAs.
Call Majux, Your Legal Marketing Partner
Call Majux for help with your law firm content strategy, website build, SEO, PPC, or anything else. We work with law firms across the country, and we would be happy to share our expertise with you.