Marketing Review - 2019 marketing spend at record levels

Industry Updates

Marketing Review - 2019 marketing spend at record levels

2 minutes

Andy Cullwick, head of marketing, March 10, 2020

2019 marketing spend at record levels

2019 was another record breaking year for marketing spend in our sector with the top 20 spending in excess of £30 million on paid search, TV, radio and above the line advertising.

However, Q4 bucked the trend slightly and was the only quarter of 2019 not to spend more than the same quarter in the previous year. Overall spend was down 21% year-on-year, with falls across both online and TV but increases in press and radio advertising.

Despite an overall fall in online spend for the quarter, the majority of the top five advertisers increased their online spend as we saw most of them reduce their investments in TV spend.

This trend has continued into 2020 with January seeing the second lowest level of spend in over 12 months and down year-on-year by over £1 million. However, much of this reduction in spend has been from a large drop in TV spend. There hasn’t been a material drop in the number of advertisers, but the amount of money they are investing in TV has fallen by over 60% as they move it into online spend.

We’ve also seen a resurgence in radio and press advertising as a cheaper route to market for brands with spend up almost 5-fold compared to a year ago and up 50% compared to December.

Much of the reduction in spend is within the PI sector as the overall levels of spend across Medical Negligence remains flat. However, we have seen a 40% increase in online spend across Medical Negligence year-on-year.

Challenging year ahead

Recent announcements from the Ministry of Justice have given a little more certainty as August has been set for when the whiplash reforms will hit us. We therefore expect the coming months to be increasingly challenging as more firms invest in marketing to fill their cupboards ahead of the reforms.

In addition, we will see more competitors looking to change the focus of their marketing ahead of August as they look to target more profitable EL claims. However, it isn’t as simple as just advertising across work accident keywords.

Our own analysis shows that less than half of our EL enquiries come from work accident specific search terms, with the majority coming from more generic personal injury and ‘no win no fee’ searches. These are also the driver of the majority of our RTA enquiries.

What’s more, the EL landscape is changing. Search volume is down and falling and the number of advertisers has increased dramatically. Some of these advertisers are new to advertising and their inexperience can be seen as they bid high to get traction. As a consequence, they are driving up the cost of leads in this area and forecasts suggest there will be further increases in competition in this area.


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