I recently launched the Rothman PPC For Lawyers podcast, a podcast dedicated to sharing insights about digital marketing for lawyers, and the first episode was about ways personal injury lawyers can handle the expensive cost per clicks (CPC) they have to deal with on their keywords. There is a reason why I led with that episode and chose to focus on personal injury and car accident cost per clicks.
I chose to start with that episode topic because it is the number one thing I hear about Google Ads from personal injury lawyers and agencies that have PI lawyers as clients. Cost, cost, cost. PI lawyers and their ad agencies are cost-obsessed, and their biggest worry about search engine marketing is the high cost per click that comes with the personal injury space on Google ads. In that first episode, I cover ten ways to handle the high cost per click situation, and here on the blog in coming days I’m going to further examine some of the suggestions I made in that podcast episode. But before we discuss methods for how to handle the high CPC, let’s first examine why personal injury keywords are more expensive than other keywords on Google Ads.
Why The Cost Per Click Is High
The cost of the keywords in Google Ads is driven by advertisers. It’s a modified-auction system. I say “modified” because it’s not just about the almighty dollar and who bids the most. Relevancy, expressed in the “quality score” metric, also plays a huge role in who’s ads show on a search and where those ads show. But for purposes of this article, let’s focus on the cost side of the auction equation. To get to the point, personal injury keywords are expensive because personal injury attorneys make them expensive. If all PI attorneys wanted to start bidding $20 on car accident keywords, then car accident clicks would cost $20. Instead, PI attorneys have decided to bid anywhere between $50 and $500 on car accident keywords, and thus, that is the reason these keywords cost $50 to $500.
So why have personal injury lawyers decided to make car accident and other personal injury related keywords expensive? The answer is because getting traffic from those keywords is very valuable and can make the lawyers a lot of money. The more revenue that traffic from a group of keywords brings in, the more money advertisers will be willing to bid on those keywords.
Let’s look a moving company versus a personal injury law firm. If a local moving company advertises on a keyword like “local movers near me” and the search user contacts the moving company and signs up for the move, on average, the moving company is going to get $600 to $1,200 of revenue, let’s call it $1,000. And for a personal injury lawyer, if they are advertising on the keyword “car accident attorneys” and a car accident victim clicks on their ad, has a good case, and signs up as a client, the personal injury lawyer is going to get revenue, on average, of something around $7,000 (articles online say the average car accident settlement is around $21,000 and the average PI contingency fee is one third).
Getting a new personal injury case is worth more than getting a new local moving customer, and therefore, PI lawyers are willing to bid more for traffic on personal injury keywords than moving companies are willing to bid on moving keywords. Google Ads is an auction where advertisers set the price, and the price advertisers are willing to pay is based on the economics of their industry.
You’re probably saying, okay, that makes sense. PI cases are worth more than moves, and injury lawyers bid more than movers, but seriously, why are moving clicks $15 to $20 while some personal injury car accident clicks can get into the hundreds of dollars? I get there is a difference, but why is that difference so big?
The Big Lick
The reason personal injury keywords can get very expensive, is because of the big case potential, or as some trial lawyers call it, the big lick. A local mover will get lucky every now and then and get the random $5,000 local move. To that I say mazel tov, good for you. But $5,000 isn’t going to change a career or a life.
The difference with personal injury, is the potential for really big cases. Some car or truck accident settlements can get into the six figures, seven figures, and even eight figures, and the attorneys gets a third of the settlement. I’ve written before about how one big case a year can dramatically affect the average cost per case, and this big case potential is the X factor in the cost of personal injury keywords.
Smart lawyers know that any day of the year, that random seven figure fee could come walking into their office from a Google Ads click and totally change their career and circumstances. Those rare, but super high value cases are baked into the real average value per case, and since that value is there, real, and large, many injury lawyers are willing to bid a lot of money to show up and get traffic from car accident and personal injury searches.
This all explains why personal injury keywords cost so much. And since the why has now been explained, we can start digging into how to deal with the expensive nature of personal injury cost per clicks.
In this first episode of the Rothman PPC For Lawyers podcast, I provide ten ways personal injury attorneys can handle expensive keyword costs, and in upcoming articles on this blog I’ll be doing deep dives into many of the solutions discussed on the podcast episode. Enjoy the episode below, and come back to the blog in the coming days for more information on how to handle expensive personal injury keyword cost per clicks.