Are you currently spending or planning to commit budget on PPC advertising to generate medical negligence case enquiries, either on your own or through an agency?
Online marketing is the fastest-growing channel to generate new case enquiries and it’s not letting up, with significant budgets being earmarked in particular to pay-per-click advertising campaigns. A far fetch from firms’ first forays into Yellow Pages advertising 30 years ago, predominantly due to remarkable levels of individualised targeting of consumers.
As digital specialists immersed in the legal market for seven years, we track law firms’ advertising activity on Google; the costs of obtaining clicks on target keywords; and importantly what types of cases are converted from those clicks.
What’s the latest on the medical negligence PPC market?
Since our last article on the effect of Clinical Negligence Reforms on digital marketing, we have seen the cost-per-click of target keywords go through the roof; quite a number of small to medium-sized firms dipping their toes into PPC advertising; and even some questionable tactics to manipulate Google clicks.
Medical negligence related keyword terms are one of the most fiercely competed for in the legal industry; and even with the proposed reforms – where you would expect the industry to err on the side of caution, over the past year there has been a 274% increase in the average price per click of search terms.
You can see from the graph that the average price per click is hovering around £23 and even peaked at £39! Considering that this is not a lead but a click, it’s proving to be an expensive game to be in.
If £23 is the average price per click, how expensive can these search terms get? Below is a list of some of the most expensive medical negligence search terms in the market as at August 2017, which are also some of the most expensive terms globally according to Google:
- no win no fee medical negligence – £59.69
- medical negligence – £54.55
- medical negligence no win no fee – £48.40
- medical compensation – £46.40
- hospital claim – £45.58
- medical negligence solicitors – £42.73
- nhs claims – £37.90
- no win no fee medical negligence solicitors – £37.42
So what’s driving up the cost?
1. PI and Clinical Negligence reforms
As personal injury reforms will see a reduction in compensation claims from 1 October 2018, particularly those most minor injuries arising from a road traffic accident (RTA) – and not just whiplash – firms have been moving PI PPC budgets into medical negligence.
Additionally, in the post-Jackson era, pursuing medical negligence claims is also becoming a whole lot harder, and firms are investing in PPC now to get in ahead of any future significant reforms.
Both of which are driving up the competition and thus increasing pay-per-click prices – good news for Google!
2. Fewer claims
Whether due to the reforms and/or the NHSLA delivering on its strategic plan – supporting the NHS to reduce harm through learning and effective incentivisation, new clinical negligence claims in 2015/16 fell in number by 4.6% to 10,965 compared with 11,497 received in 2014/15.
The reduction of claims is putting increased pressure on firms competing for their target PPC keywords relating to medical negligence.
3. New entrants coming into the PPC market
For many years we have seen the larger players in the market, such as Irwin Mitchell and Slater & Gordon continually dominating the top positions for personal injury & medical negligence keywords, despite this, small to medium sized law firms will still invest sizeable budgets to take them on.
This additional activity in the market has contributed to the increased prices. Unfortunately, critical mass in PPC is where you get the efficiencies in pay-per-click, and we’ve seen quite a number of the same firms leaving the PPC sphere during the same period.
The following list shows a handful of firms who have invested in medical negligence keywords since we launched our platform – The Medical Negligence Experts in September 2016 and then stopped:
- Wollen Michelmore (medicalhealthcareclaims.co.uk)
- The Law Superstore, a trading name of Reallymoving.com Ltd (thelawsuperstore.co.uk)
- T G Baynes Solicitors (mydentalclaim.com)
- Appleby Solicitors (applebys-law.co.uk)
- Thompson Solicitors (thompsons.law)
- Wake Smith (wake-smith.co.uk)
Other new activity has come from firms who have structurally changed their business leading to an increased focus on medical negligence, such as Foot Anstey who split their clinical negligence practice away from their core business to create Enable Law, with a dedicated medical negligence website and focused digital marketing activities bidding on medical negligence keywords.
And of course mmadigital’s launch of The Medical Negligence Experts platform as a disrupter in the PPC market: a technology-based medical negligence marketing collective. The collective uses technology which creates algorithms in real-time via a custom built lead management portal to deliver high-quality leads at a fraction of the cost of the major claims management companies. Underpinning this is an automated PPC bidding platform which places ads on our digital channels in the most efficient positions, on the best performing times and days of each week in real time.
4. Firms manipulating Google
In order to get a competitive advantage, inevitably, some firms will employ questionable tactics to get ahead of the game.
One activity we frequently see is ‘double serving’, where Google actively prevents companies bidding on the same keywords for more than one website. A firm falling foul of this is Fletchers Solicitors with www.fletcherssolicitors.co.uk and their sister brand: www.patientclaimline.com both bidding on the same keywords.
Whether intentional or not, Google requests advertisers to adhere to their Unfair Advantage policy.
We do not expect the competitiveness of the market to let up anytime soon. What is important if you are looking to generate leads via PPC advertising is that you think smartly about how you spend your budget. One of the worst tactics is inconsistency, as you don’t benefit from efficiencies of spend, also from an optimisation point of view it doesn’t aid the quality score that Google attributes to your website(s).
Taking a multi-channel approach will also deliver a blended affordable cost per lead, whilst working alongside technology and digital marketing specialists, preferably at the heart of the business.
If you would like to find out more about how mmadigital are working with claimant law firms and The Medical Negligence Experts collective lead-generation platform, give me a call or message us to book an online demonstration.