Industry Updates

Marketing Insights Review


Andy Cullwick, head of marketing, August 06, 2019

It is fair to say that 2019 has been a rollercoaster of a year so far when it comes to marketing. There have been trials, tribulations and challenges across both paid for and organic advertising.

The first quarter of the year saw record breaking amounts invested in paid for marketing and although we saw successive increases in spend across April and May (following a fall in March), we’ve since seen falls in spend across June and July.

As a result, spend by the top brands fell 20% from quarter one to quarter two. What’s more, for the first time in three quarters, we’ve seen a year-on-year fall in advertising spend with overall spend down 10%.

The picture is fairly consistent across both of the larger spending media areas with quarter-on-quarter reductions in spend across TV (down 33%) and paid search (down 10%). However, spend on Radio and Press advertising was up 43%. It is worth noting that this area only accounts for 3% of overall spend.

Year-on-year we can see that spend on Radio and Press is down 50% and TV is down 16%. Online spend is down 1% but this is negligible and the percentage of overall money going into online advertising continues to increase, standing at 55% of overall spend in the last quarter.

How are the different sectors fairing?

Spend on Personal Injury marketing was down 21% quarter on quarter and 14% year on year. However, it did still remain the second highest quarter for spend since the same period in 2018 but was 14% lower than Q2 2018.

Whilst online spend was down 11% quarter-on-quarter and 7% year-on-year, it still accounted for 53% of the overall spend in this sector. This is a record rate and shows that more and more brands are turning to digital to capture personal injury leads.

This is reflected in the fact that we are seeing up to 40% more advertisers across certain campaign areas compared to 12 months ago.

TV spend was also down, 33% quarter-on-quarter and 17% year-on-year. Yet unlike PPC, which is seeing long-term growth with spend up 69% compared to two years ago, TV spend has fallen 7% over this period.

Overall spend on Med Neg is also down, 23% quarter-on-quarter and 6% year-on-year. However, despite a 13% quarterly fall in online advertising, spend is up 19% year-on-year and accounts for 70% of all Med Neg advertising. This is significantly higher than the split between online and TV spend for Personal Injury and a substantially higher percentage than any other quarter across the last two years.

Whilst overall spend across Med Neg has remained fairly stable across the last couple of years the amount invested in online marketing has almost doubled and so has the percentage split by media channel.

The top 5

We monitor the top 5 brands in the industry and can see that all but one reduced spend quarter-on-quarter and only two saw annual increases in advertising spend. The advertiser that increased spend quarter-on-quarter did so ten-fold compared to quarter one and 62% compared to the same period last year. We believe that they previously outsourced their lead generation activity and are now managing it in-house.

Whilst they are spending online, they are investing the majority of their marketing in above the line activity across TV, radio and press advertising with online only accounting for 7% of their marketing spend. They spent more on TV in Q2 of 2019 than they did in the last three quarters combined and they haven’t spent as much on TV in any single quarter in the last two years as they did in Q2 2019. They are also spending in the region of 50% more per month on TV advertising than the second highest spending TV brand.

Digital Marketing still the key for most

Whilst the previously mentioned competitor isn’t spending much of their marketing budget online this isn’t the same picture across the other advertisers in the top 5. Whilst all the other top 5 members reduced online spend quarter-on-quarter, all but one increased year-on-year. What’s more, the quarterly percentage reduction in online spend by these advertisers is much lower than the wider market.

Only one of the top 5 is spending less on digital marketing than they did two years ago, with the top 5 spending 55% more in the last quarter than they did two years ago. The growth of spend by the top 5 is 10% higher than the rest of the market and shows the bigger brands are dominating paid search as they account for nearly 80% of the spend.

Organic Shockwave for many

At the back end of May Google released a major algorithm update which had a major impact on three of the five brands, seeing the visibility of their websites tumble by up to 40%. As a result of this it means they will appear lower in organic search results and see fewer visitors to their website. Meanwhile, First4Lawyers saw the second highest growth in organic visibility across the legal sector enjoying a 42% improvement.


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