Whether you own a law firm or run PPC campaigns on behalf of personal injury law firms, you’re probably wondering why there aren’t useful industry benchmarks for you to measure yourself against. There are two probable reasons for this:
- The statistics don’t make agencies look good enough to share
- If a law firm has a good campaign going, they may not want to share useful information with competitors
Wordstream (a reputable source) does publish benchmarks each year, but they lump conversion rates and average CPLs for the whole legal industry together. Criminal defense, estate law, personal injury, and other practice areas are too different to combine data.
Local IQ also publishes benchmarks, but they derive their numbers from WordStream. Furthermore, the numbers just don’t make sense. For instance:
- It claims the average cost per click in the injury niche is $9.30. This is only true if they are combining CPC data from the display network and partner sites (which is not useful information)
- The average cost per lead mentioned in the above sources is $159.17 – this is far too low for quality injury and car accident leads. If we let a broad match campaign with the “maximize conversions” bidding model run wild, we would beat those numbers, but the quality would be terrible.
Below, we will draw from our personal experience to outline some benchmarks that we believe are representative of the industry. Afterwards, we will share important factors that influence these advertising statistics, and why it’s impossible for certain results to be replicated for every firm and in every city.
We’re known for law firm SEO marketing and PPC management for law firms, and we’ve accrued a great deal of data over the past several years. Hopefully you’ll find the information shared below to be useful. If you have any questions about your PPC campaigns, or if you’d like us to build you a campaign from scratch, please get in touch.
What’s a Good Cost Per Lead For Injury Lawyers on Google Ads?
Google Ads Cost Per Lead (CPL) For Car Accident Lawyers
If you get decent car accident-related calls or form submissions for $500-$700 apiece from Google Ads, you are doing extremely well. Leads for $800-$1500 would be quite good, depending on your market. We have even seen clients with good conversion rates getting car accident leads for up to $2,000 apiece for periods of time in certain markets, and as long as the quality is good, that would be considered successful. Typically, calls from Google Ads search campaigns have the highest likelihood of being big cases for law firms among paid channels.
Here’s a screenshot of one of our successful campaigns (30 day period). This screenshot was taken in June 2023, and the campaigns focus exclusively on car accident terms. A “conversion” is either a call, form submit or text message.
Benchmark Cost Per Lead For General Personal Injury Cases
If you are bidding on terms like “personal injury lawyer near me,” you may consistently get leads for $600-$1000. We have even seen months-long campaigns generate leads for $300-$500. It will be a mixed bag of slip and falls, auto accidents, domestic violence, and many issues that are 100% unique. We’ve also noticed that lots of medical malpractice queries come through personal injury campaigns, even if the searcher didn’t use the keywords “medical malpractice” in their Google Search. Dental malpractice, surgical errors, medication errors and other common issues will slip through the cracks even if you don’t want those cases.
What’s a Good CPL For Local Service Ads (LSAs) For Law Firms?
$250-$500 per call would be good on the LSA side of things. From there, the LSA platform is fairly good about refunding the advertiser for fraudulent or irrelevant calls. Please note that there is a blind spot here for car accident firms: if you get a call from an at-fault party, or if someone has a property damage issue, you can’t necessarily get refunded for that call. The practice area designation in the LSA platform is “auto accidents,” not “auto injuries.” So you will end up paying upwards of $500 for callers that you can’t sign as clients, similar to traditional PPC search ads.
What’s a Good Conversion Rate For Car Accident or Personal Injury Campaigns?
Our best car accident campaigns convert around 35% after a period of optimization. Right out of the gate (and because we have in-house data to work with), we often see 20% conversion rates for car accident campaigns. A 10%-15% conversion rate would be somewhat mediocre in this niche, and that’s because the bar is fairly high – when clicks are this expensive, a 10% conversion rate may not be tenable for most law firms. In most other industries, a 10% conversion rate would be excellent.
Here’s another screenshot of a campaign we run in Arkansas. This campaign exclusively focuses on car accident terms, and a “conversion” is a call, text or form submission. We are happy with the 21% conversion rate, although we are working on improvement there. The cost per lead is very good though – so that will remain the priority. This is also an interesting example of an extremely low-budget campaign that still performs well (the screenshot is for a 30-day period).
Workers’ Comp PPC Campaigns Are Somewhat of an Anomaly
Workers’ comp campaigns seem to function by their own set of rules. We do run these fairly often, and workers’ comp cases are highly profitable for lawyers in certain markets. We have a client who told us that he makes about $15K per case.
We do manage some campaigns that hit a 20% conversion rate in certain months, but it’s far more common for us to see 7%-10% conversion rates and a CPL of $600-$1,000. We even have clients who are happily getting workers’ comp leads for upwards of $1,500 apiece. Interestingly, most of these leads turn into signed cases, and there isn’t nearly as much junk as plaintiff’s personal injury cases. So the actual cost per signed case is still reasonable for most firms.
Clicks can be gotten for $70 or less (far less than auto cases), so the overall cost per lead remains manageable even with lower conversion rates.
What’s a Good Click Through Rate (CTR) For Law Firm PPC Campaigns?
Who cares? In this niche, you should not be optimizing for CTR. You should be optimizing for cost per signed case, with CPL as a leading indicator. Our flagship auto injury campaign has a 4% click through rate and a 33% conversion rate (4 month period in 2023). That’s by design – those kinds of numbers drive profitable growth for a business.
If your click through rate is 10%, but your conversion rate is also 10%, your cost per case will be extremely high. You DO NOT want to bait borderline leads into clicking your ads. What you do want to do is weed out as many low value clicks as possible through your ad copy. Here’s an example of what we would consider to be a good ad:
Google hates these ads, and the Google Ads platform will tell you that you need to add more headlines, add “car accident lawyer” as a headline, and so forth. The Google Reps will point to a low “optimization score” because of fewer headlines.
But ignore this noise. If you don’t specify in your ads that you want injury cases, you will be bombarded with calls from people who have property damage claims or have “at fault” listed on the police report.
Other Factors That Influence Your Google Ads Performance Statistics
Reviews Help Your Google Ads Conversion Rates
When a client has an active Google Business Profile with a number of 5 star reviews, we always link that profile to the Google Ads campaign as an “asset.” Your ad will then show in the Google Map Pack with your review stars. These campaigns convert at a much higher rate than ads without reviews (this is common sense).
Campaign Volume and History
In 2023, Google Ads performs best when the campaign spends at a high volume and has 50+ conversions recorded (this is an arbitrary number, but it’s a common benchmark we use). For instance, if your account spends $10K per month for three months, you will ideally have 50-60 conversions. At this point, you may benefit from one of these bidding models in Google Ads:
- “Maximize conversions” with a target cost per acquisition (CPA)
- “Maximize conversion value” with a target return on ad spend (ROAS)
Google’s own reps, who are actually contractors that get paid more when you spend more, will suggest that you use these models right out of the gate, even if you have no account history. This rarely works. You need a skilled ad manager to build meaningful account history manually before you can expect Google’s AI to work for you.
But once you hit a threshold of conversions in your account, you will see incrementally better performance after you turn on these automated features.
Bid Adjustments For Calls
You can tell Google that you are willing to spend more for a click that is likely to become a phone call. For instance, we successfully run a handful of manual campaigns in which we set the CPC bids to $125, then tell Google we are willing to spend 400% more per click if the click is to the phone number extension in the ad.
These campaigns sometimes have CTRs of 50%-100%, because we are only bidding competitively on clicks that are likely to be calls. The conversion rates on these campaigns can be 40%-70%. The cost per lead may be $400-$750, and the volume will be fairly low, but it’s a good angle to take in certain markets.
What Kind of Volume Are You After?
Law firms that only want to spend $2,000-$5,000 per month may actually have a higher CPL because the account isn’t getting enough data to benefit from Google’s automation features. These low-volume accounts have to be managed manually, and while they can perform very well, you are at a disadvantage.
On the flip side, if you want to earn 100% market share in your city for car accident terms, you have to spend much, much more per click. We refer to this as the “monopoly tax.” If you want to monopolize all of the car accident-related clicks in your region, you will have to pay more per click.
The sweet spot is to spend enough money to feed a significant number of conversions into Google Ads, utilize the “maximize conversions” bidding model, and take the conversions that are available at that price point. For many firms, this may be $10,000-$20,000 per month.
Your Landing Page Experience and Brand
Your website needs to be lightning fast, have phone buttons above the fold, have a handy form submission option, and have visible testimonials. You will also benefit from genuine headshots and photos of your law firm. You do not want to send visitors to a generic landing page or a website that makes it hard for the visitor to call you.
You Need End-To-End Conversion Tracking
To properly optimize your Google Ads campaign, you need air-tight tracking for:
- Phone calls
- Form submissions
- Text messages
- Other meaningful conversion actions on your site.
You will need to set up form tracking through Google Analytics, call tracking through a platform like CallRail, and connect those accounts to your Google Ads campaign. This is important for attributing revenue to your advertising campaigns as well as feeding the right kind of data to Google Ads for optimization purposes.
We Would Love To Chat Further
This has not been an exhaustive discussion – the topic is too big for a blog post. But we do hope this sheds some light on a murky subject. If you need help running a Google Ads campaign for your law firm, please get in touch. We can discuss more context surrounding the campaign mentioned above, and we can give you a realistic outlook on your market.