By Kevin O'Keefe

Internet ad sales rise sharply, email marketing drops

Sellers of products and services are using sponsored links in search engines in a big way and going away from other Internet marketing such as email.

The Washington Post yesterday reported Internet advertising revenue jumped 40 percent in the first half of this year, driven largely by the growing popularity of keyword ads tied to search results.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study conducted for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, U.S. revenue for the first six months was $4.6 billion, compared with $3.3 billion for the same period in 2003. Search made up 40 percent of the ad revenue in the second quarter of 2004, compared with 29 percent in the year-ago period.

Ad revenue from e-mail marketing dropped 29 percent in the second quarter, to $47 million, as many Internet users equated legitimate pitches with spam.

What does this mean for lawyers?

First, people, whether they be consumers or businesses, are using the search engines when selecting a product or service. If they weren’t, advertisers would not be making the buys they are. This is further evidence lawyers with an Internet presence must make it an effective one – one that can be found in the first couple pages of search results at Google.

I am not saying lawyers need to go buy sponsored links, or keywords, to get that presence. That’s just one way that works some of the time. More effective is to publish relevant content on a regular basis so you will be appearing high in the ‘organic results’ of the search results.

Second, it appears email marketing is becoming less effective. Though law firm email newsletters and email alerts are certainly not spam, there is the risk your target audience may perceive them as so.

Like it or not, Internet search is a big deal and it’s where lawyers need to excel if they are going to effectively market their law firm in today’s world.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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