In 2014 I wrote this post about a couple of things I had noticed most lawyers were missing in their online advertising campaigns (both Facebook and Adwords). Some of this has changed, but there will always be something that lawyers really should be on top of but aren’t.

1. Remarketing
This is really a no-brainer, and not enough people are doing it. If you’re in family law, you’re relegated to Facebook for your remarketing, but Google is still a great platform for remarketing in many other practice areas. Both platforms offer very low prices for remarketing, as well as algorithms for serving ads to “lookalike audiences.”

2. Ad Extensions
Again, Adwords Ad Extensions seem to be overlooked way too often. They’re extra space on the page, and they actually offer info that users want to see. I’ve written a couple posts on maximizing Adwords Ad Extensions, so I won’t go in to too much detail, but it’s 2017 and everyone should have extensions set up.

3. Conversion tracking
This was actually number 1 back in 2014, and it’s still on the list today. In 2017, however, the issue is more about having a well defined conversion funnel than it is about having conversion tracking installed. Lawyers have come a long way with online ads, and most accounts I run into these days do have conversion tracking set up in some form. However, it’s usually inactive or set up for something that has no relevance to the business.

Coming up with a specific conversion that has relevance to your business (email subscribers, phone calls, CRM signups, etc) is crucial in determining ROI for any advertising campaign.

Because it’s 2017, I’ll go ahead and add on a 4th item that most people really need to be doing…

4. Test more than one ad AT ALL TIMES!
I’m not really sure how this is something I run into with such frequency, but you really need to always be running multiple ads. There’s no one in this business who can predict what the market will react to, and even if they could, the online advertising landscape changes rapidly. It’s absolutely critical that you A/B test your ads (for a Google campaign I start with 4 ads per ad group, with Facebook I start with 3 ads per group)

Of course, there are more things that can help your advertising campaigns. If you’re interested in finding out more (or just getting a $100 coupon for your new Adwords campaign), shoot me an email (Toby at

If you’re familiar with blogs like The Points Guy or forums like Flyertalk, points & miles are likely not news to you, but if you’re not a forum geek like myself, you might need a refresher. If you’re advertising online (or running a business in general) you want to get the most out of every dollar you invest. Points & miles are a great way to boost your ROI a little bit, but they really are just a little bit more exciting than the cents per point (at least, they are for me!).

I periodically get questions about what card is best to use, and really the answer depends on your needs. For Adwords and Facebook spend, I generally recommend the Amex Business Gold Card. For advertisers funding traffic sources with large single purchases, the Amex Business Platinum card offers 1.5x points per dollar on purchases over $5000. Chase offers 2 business cards with great bonus rewards on office supplies, internet and phone service and even shipping.

So let’s get into the pros and cons of the cards. All of these cards offer 1 point per dollar on “regular” spend. I don’t go much into the benefits of the cards other than bonuses on spending, but most of these cards offer lots of other benefits (airport lounges, free wifi, private concierges, global entry fee credits, etc.).


American Express Business Gold Rewards Card – The Gold card currently has an increased signup bonus offering 75,000 membership rewards points after $10,000 of spend, which is a good offer, but I’ve heard that there have been better offers in the past. That said, the Gold card offers 3x points on one of 5 categories (travel, advertising, gas stations, shipping or select technology) up to $100,000 per year, however you do have to select one category per year. If you advertise with Google Adwords or Facebook [or work with me — my credit card charges code as advertising 🙂 ] you can pick up a little bit of extra ROI. You’d have to spend ~$8300/month on advertising (or in another category) to maximize this benefit, but I value Amex points at least at 2 cents per point, so you’d get at least $6000 in value from your bonus points.

I recommend keeping the Business Gold rewards card if you spend more than $15,000 per year on advertising. I’m a big fan of American Express, and I find their points to be incredibly versatile. The Gold card also has a relatively low fee, and it’s waived for the first year.


American Express Business Platinum Card – The Platinum card has a 100,000 membership rewards points signup bonus until January 25th of 2017, so this now is a great time to sign up. Remember that Amex bonuses can be once per lifetime, but this is definitely one of the best public signup bonuses for this card. On top of that, you’ll get 1.5x membership rewards points on purchases over $5000 (great for funding advertising sources), and you’ll get a 50% refund of your points on pay-with-points purchases from Amex travel. There are so many cheap business and first class fares available now, that it can actually end up being cheaper to use this option over a standard award redemption.

I should also point out that the personal Platinum card has most of the same benefits, but with a slightly different points earning scheme. Instead of having a refund on pay with points and 1.5x earning on purchases over $5000, the personal card offers 5x points on airfare booked with airlines or Amex. It also offers a $200 airline fee credit, and if you can get some value out of the 5x points on airfare, these two cards can be very complimentary.

I recommend keeping the Business Platinum card around for purchases over $5000, for the $200 airline fee credit and 50% points refund. After valuing in the airline credit, the $450 membership fee comes down to $250/year, and it’s pretty easy to get $250 of value out of the points refund feature.


American Express Starwood Business Card – The signup bonus on SPG cards have been lowered recently, so I don’t necessarily recommend applying for this card at the time of writing, but it’s a great card nonetheless. You’ll earn 2 SPG points per dollar on Starwood and Marriott stays (The Starwood-Marriott merger made it the biggest hotel chain in the world, so it’s pretty easy to find a property almost anywhere you go) and 1 point per dollar on everything else. I value SPG points at a base value of 2.5 cents, but I find you can easily get 6 to 15 cents per point in value when transferring points to airline partners (I booked a business class ticket from Asia to Europe last night for 34,000 SPG points!)

For 34,000 SPG points transferred to Alaska Airlines, I got a value of more than 25 cents per point on my Cathay Business class ticket!
For 34,000 SPG points transferred to Alaska Airlines, I got a value of more than 25 cents per point on my Cathay Business class ticket from Hong Kong to Amsterdam next March!

I keep the SPG business card (and the personal version) around for daily spend and for the elite status qualifying nights it offers. The bonus categories on the SPG cards obviously aren’t great, but you can get such incredible values from the points that I think it makes sense to try and put any non-bonus spend on these cards. The card does have a $95/year fee, but that’s waived for the first year.

** NOTE: Personally, I find flying Cathay Pacific to be very convenient for getting to most of the places I want to go, and they have a great business class product. Therefor, I’m a pretty big proponent of the SPG cards. The most important thing in points & miles, however, is finding a system that works for how you want to travel. Where you live and how many people you are planning to travel with greatly impacts what types of points you will need to accumulate. **


Chase Ink Business Preferred Card – Chase has been hot lately with the release of their new Sapphire Reserve card, but they’ve also beefed up their business card offerings. The Ink Business Preferred card currently has an 80,000 point bonus after $5000 of spend on the card. Offering 3x points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet/phone and advertising on the first $150,000 of spend per year, Chase is pretty clearly one-upping American Express. The catch with the advertising is that it’s specifically for social media sites and search engines, but Chase still comes out ahead of Amex by allowing card holders to earn points in all 4 categories instead of just one per year.

Chase has tons of great airline transfer partners, though they do appear to be focused more on the personal card side of the business. The other problem a lot of “churners” have with Chase is the 5/24 rule which effectively prevents anyone who has opened 5 new cards in the last 24 months from being approved for a Chase credit card. There are reports of people getting around this periodically, but Chase is generally considered one of the more strict card issuers.

I’d definitely recommend the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card to anyone spending money for their practice (everyone has a phone and internet bill). If you’re not sure how much you’re going to spend on advertising (less than $8000/month, I would say) this card is probably a better pick than the Amex Gold Business card. The fee is also $95/year, so I can count at least 3 big ways this beats the Amex Gold Business card. Kudos, Chase.


Chase Ink Business Cash Card – In general I am not a huge fan of cash back cards (there is an exception to this — more in a moment). It’s hard to get more than 2% in value out of them, and they aren’t very exciting. I do understand why people like them, and I have a few of them myself. While I don’t have the Chase Ink Cash card (I’m unfortunately quite far past 5/24), it’s definitely worth mentioning. It currently has a $300 cash signup bonus which isn’t anything remarkable, but it earns 5% cash back on a number of office expenses up to $25,00o per year, and 2% on gas stations and restaurants up to $25,000. And on top of all that, there’s no annual fee.

Like, I said, I’m not generally a huge fan of cash back cards (I love to travel and I enjoy planning travel), but this is a great deal. 5% cash back is as good if not better than what you can generally get on an award redemption (sure, there are awards like the one I posted above, but largely they’re not that great). Because there’s no annual fee, you don’t have to “recover” any value, so if you’re going to spend the money in the card’s bonus categories anyways, I’d give this a thumbs up.


Capital One Spark  Cash Back Rewards Card – Again, I don’t use cash back cards too often anymore, but admittedly I do keep the Spark Cash Back card handy. It’s currently got a $500 cash bonus, and the $95 annual fee is waived the first year. It offers 2% cash back, and it’s incredibly straight forward. You can pay off part of your statement with cash back, and it processes very quickly. But the biggest thing for me is Capital One’s customer service. Perhaps I’m getting lucky, but I always find their system and agents to be quick and knowledgable, which is something I value highly (I really waiting on the phone).

It doesn’t offer the value that some of the cards above offer, but I don’t think simplicity is something to be overlooked. Not everyone has time for the fuss of points & miles. This card is great if you’re just looking for a reliable card that gives you easy to redeem cash back.

This is by no means a comprehensive review of the cards out there, but if you’re looking to boost your ROI on your business spend, these will get you on the right track.

If you’re interested in how I book my travel or where to start with spending money on advertising, shoot me an email at toby (at)

Adwords can be outrageously time consuming for business owners. Learning the difference between CPC, CTR, how to set up conversion tracking, digging through data to find actionable trends — it’s a job in and of itself. That’s why when there’s a way to make your life with Adwords easier, take advantage of it.

Luckily, the folks at Google give us a few ways to take some of the leg work out of Adwords. I’m a big fan of Adwords scripts and I’ve written about them before, but I haven’t spent much time digging into Automated Rules.

In the last few weeks I have been working on streamlining my automation and building a more uniform strategy on this side of Adwords. Like I said, I’ve used scripts in the past, but I honestly have never put much of a focus on automation — the legal search market ebbs and flows, and I previously thought rules might be restrictive to the ads. However, I’ve really come around to Adwords Rules in recent weeks.

I won’t be covering how to set up rules here — Google’s help center has all the answers here, here, and here.

Like anything else, I suggest trying before you buy, so test out a few rules (make sure to use the preview feature to see how your rules will react) and see if they deliver the desired effect.

How do I decide what Adwords Rules to use?

Rules are actually very simple and I’ll explain my strategy in plain English. I should note that the numbers I’ve used below are an example and it’s very important to take your account’s historical stats before implementing rules. I should also mention that I put lots of time and effort into keyword research — if you’re not starting from a strong set of keywords, you won’t get good results.

First, at the beginning of each month I want all of my keywords enabled. It’s like a reset each month.  When it comes to legal search, keywords come and go in terms of popularity — I very rarely actually delete a keyword anymore. I realize that enabling a wave of keywords at once could cause issues, but I’ve also built in some rules to try and prevent anything from getting out of control.

Second, I want to pause anything with an average position lower than 8, and anything that’s received 1000 impressions and no clicks. I find that very few keywords actually meet these qualifications, but if they do it’s unlikely that a click would result in a conversion. I’d like this done once a week.

Third, any keywords that we aren’t showing for due to low bids get raised to the first page bid once a week. For this rule, it’s also important to set a maximum allowable bid.

Finally, conversions. The previous rules are nice, but it’s nothing if we aren’t limiting keywords based on ROI. We obviously need to give keywords a little bit of budget to spend before determining whether or not they will deliver conversions. So, I’d like to pause anything that doesn’t convert within $80 of spend paused, and anything that has a conversion price of more than $100.  I tend to give new keywords the benefit of the doubt, but I also need a rule that catches anything before it gets out of hand. I want the $80 limit to be checked every day and the $100 limit to be checked once a week.

Here’s what that looks like in Adwords –

Screenshot 2016-09-07 14.51.12
** I realize the last rule says $130 cv but it’s actually $100 **

I’ve done these rules across the entire account in this example, but you can segment it down should you want to do things with more precision. Obviously the potential of Adwords rules is much, much greater than what you see here. There are also a few things that can’t be covered by Rules (there doesn’t seem to be a way to reset bids to the ad group level — something I like to do with moderate frequency).

I’ll cover more about Adwords Rules, Automations & Adwords Scripts in particular in my next post. If you’re interested in finding out more about Adwords, please sign up for a free consult here or send me an email (toby at

Yesterday morning was the Google Adwords & Analytics Keynote. Google announced some big new changes to Adwords and Analytics, and here I’ll cover the ones that are most likely to affect you in the legal advertising space.

1. More ad text

This is a big one. Google Adwords is giving us 5 more characters in the headline (for a total of 30 characters) and 10 more characters in the description (for a total of 80 characters). 5 and 10 characters on their own may not seem particularly impressive, but do recall that there’s quite a number of 5 letter words we can use here (legal, ebook, guide, to name a few). Additionally, “call us!” and “contact us” clock in at  8 and 10 characters respectively. I think you can see where I’m going with that one.

2. Bid adjustments by device type

Google has been reporting since last year that more than half of their trillion-plus annual searches come from mobile device. Following the keynote, they’ll be rolling out platform changes to allow users to adjust bids for desktop, mobile, and tablet separately. This will allow us as advertisers to focus more on mobile, and to have more flexibility when it comes to bidding.

3. Location extensions expansion

Location extensions are getting an upgrade. Not only will there now be “Promoted Pins” on Google Maps, but Google says their bringing more changes to location extensions to make them better.

4. Demographics for search ads

Google is adding more demographic targeting for search ads. Previously available only for the display network, we’ll now be able to target users based on their demographics in conjunction with their search terms. It’s not hard to see the potential to help maximize ROI within search campaigns by using demographic targeting.

5. Overhaul of Adwords design

While not really related to the performance of our ads, Google is rolling out some new site designs for Adwords starting this week. SearchEngineLand has provided us a couple sneak peeks of this new design, (here and here) and while it’s nothing revolutionary, the Adwords interface hasn’t seen a major redesign in almost a decade. I’m sure this reboot will help us take advantage of some of their new features and maybe even help us find some features that had been buried.

You can check out a more detailed list of Google’s announcements here and at Mockingbird.

In my last post, I covered the different types of Adwords extensions Google offers. You can check those out here.

Now, I’ll cover how to set up extensions in your Adwords account. I’ll be covering sitelink extensions specifically, but most extensions are very similar in terms of setup.

Campaign vs Ad Group Extensions

Depending on the type of extension you’re setting up, you’ll need to decide if you want it at the campaign level (meaning all ads in all ad groups within your campaign will show the extensions ) or ad group level (meaning only the ads in a specified ad group will show the extension).

For most of the extension types we use, I leave them at the campaign level. Call and location extensions usually stay the same regardless of the content of the ad, so we can leave these at the campaign level and still have different content within the ad groups.

Sitelink extensions, however, are often served well at the ad group level. For campaigns that tackle a couple of different keyword groups (for instance child support vs alimony) you may want to move the extensions to the ad group level.


Once you’ve chosen at what level you want the extensions, you’ll want to get a few sitelinks you want to use.

We’re going to set up ad group level sitelinks for an ad group covering chid custody. You’ll get to set up a few links (set up 4 of these to start with). For this example our link will be –

– – if you’ve got a “Getting Started” page on your site, these are great sitelink extensions. You can put a very direct call to action on the search page and get people engaged immediately. Even if the call to action in your ad text didn’t catch the user, this is your second chance.


Now, we’ll navigate to the ad group we want to use (campaign > ad group), and select the “Ad Extensions” tab.

Screenshot 2016-04-30 14.14.48

On the upper left hand side, make sure you’ve got “View: Sitelinks Extensions” selected, and then click the + Extension tab lower down the page.

Screenshot 2016-04-30 14.16.07

You’ll be prompted with a menu to select sitelinks for your ad group. If you’ve already created some sitelinks, these will appear here.

Screenshot 2016-04-30 14.21.07


Click on the + New Sitelink button near the bottom, and you’ll get a popup like the one below.

Screenshot 2016-04-30 14.24.20


Now you can fill out the information for the sitelinks. You get a few characters for the headline, and a few characters for the description. The Final URL won’t show in the ad, so it’s not a problem to have a long or not so pretty URL here. I generally don’t schedule sitelinks or use separate links for mobile ads, so we’ll skip those features for now. If you’re running time-limited sitelink extensions (perhaps for an offer that ends at the end of the month), you can set your extensions to start/stop at certain times.

When you’re ready, you can hit save here. This will close the popup and take you back to the previous screen.

Screenshot 2016-04-30 14.29.09


When your sitelink is done, it’ll show in the “Selected sitelinks” column, and will be ready to save. The 2 small arrows next to the sitelinks allow you to select or deselect sitelinks. When you select the sitelinks you want (you’ll need to select 4), you can then click save and they’ll be ready to show alongside your ads!