Insurers Should “Evolve” with Digital Marketing: Survey

Digital marketing shifts to social platform.

With more consumers using online sources to research insurance products,  insurers are putting more into digital marketing campaigns.

Insurers estimate that 60% of consumers go online to gauge products and pricing before buying an insurance policy, and though they are making more efforts to be there, personal lines insurers appear slower to adapt their digital marketing efforts according to a Celent survey .

Although the bulk of their digital marketing budgets go to familiar methods–emails account for almost 40%, while paid keyword searches and display ads take up over 30%–those methods may soon make way for online games and social networks, reports Digital Marketing in Insurance: A Partnership with Potential.

Open to change
While insurers place a lot of trust in their favoured approaches–70% say that emails are more effective than traditional media, and 68% say the same about paid keyword searches, they are open to change.

At present, the newer forms of digital marketing take up less of insurers’ marketing budgets: online games and social networks only make up 14%, according to the survey report. But when asked how they would change their marketing priorities in five years, 85% said they would allot more to social networks–which presently make up less than 20% of their budgets–and spend more on blogs (67%), podcasts (56%), virtual worlds (35%) and online games (33%).

The respondents to the survey included personal lines (57%), commercial lines (47%), individual life (25%), and health (12%) group life/health (12%).

Health insurers have shown the most initiative in crossing over to new digital methods, using blogs, social networks and wikis more frequently than their personal lines counterparts, the survey shows: for example, almost 70% of health insurers are using social networking in marketing efforts, compared to less than 20% of personal lines carriers.

Not quite there
That usage doesn’t quite match up with what insurers expect of their consumers, though. Almost half (45%) of respondents expect their consumers to use digital tools to find out about new products, compare prices (43%) and buy products (32%.)

The respondents cite insufficient metrics, and poor internal capability to create/handle new tools as key barriers to emerging digital efforts.

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