The UK health insurance sector is failing to implement effective digital marketing campaigns despite growing online interest from consumers, according to new research from marketing technology and data specialist CACI.
CACI’s newly launched Digital Marketing Scorecard, The State of Digital Marketing in UK Health Insurance, evaluates the 19 biggest providers for their strategy and implementation of the most important digital marketing channels, including search engine optimisation, display advertising and mobile.
The biggest insurers such as Vitality, Saga and AVIVA post the best average performance across all channels, but they are routinely outranked in the individual channel performance by challengers. This comes as rising consumer interest sees a spike in internet searches in the last two years, which are up by 12%.
CACI bench-tested various health insurance brands for SEO, social media marketing and mobile search results. When it came to laptop/tablet/PC SEO Westfield Health and Saga were top, but on social channels Vitality and Simplyhealth ranked very well. CACI’s report points out that factors like the correct site structure, meta tags, page descriptions and page loading times are all crucial when it comes to SEO ranking.
The worst performing digital marketing channels not only show poor execution, but many providers are not actively engaging in a number of them. Affiliate marketing is one such example, with a majority not using affiliate programmes in their digital marketing strategy. Clear gains could be delivered by implementing them, while best practice dictates that specific website sections for affiliates are a must.
While smaller providers do struggle to compete with the overall offerings of their larger rivals, smaller health insurers still came among the top performers in a number of categories, for example Freedom in the category of affiliate marketing. Overall, strength in respective disciplines is dictated not by size, but by strategy and execution, showing that brands large and small have an opportunity to grab market share in using these tools.
Suzanne Jiggens-Johnson, Director of Digital Consulting at CACI says: “There is a real shift under way in the UK health insurance market and insurers are dragging their heels in making the most of their digital offering. More and more of us are searching for health insurance online than ever before.
“Our research underlines the importance of identifying the areas where your business is primed to perform better than the competition. On the basis of our research, there are numerous examples of smaller companies outranking their larger competitors. As the sector evolves over 2018, we expect that these innovative smaller providers will gain an advantage on their larger peers and exploit poor performance in digital marketing across the board by being nimble enough to add new capabilities quickly and efficiently.”
Insurance Edge Editor comment;
Having worked for a large insurance broker, and after gaining SEO qualifications at Salford University Business School, worked with SMEs to raise their SEO page ranking, I can tell you there is no magic bullet when it comes to SEO and no strategy which will work all year round. For one thing Google continuously tweaks its algorithm, and then there are seasonal search variations, like say `winter flu jab.’
I did a blind search (logged out of my Google acocunt) for `cheapest uk healthcare plan’ and these were some of the top organic results;
Here are some SEO basics for anyone in the health insurance market;
Build a site packed with useful content, add a sitemap, think carefully about the page headings and site structure – the way it is interlinked matters, but your primary goal is to make it easy to navigate. Then get it indexed – in Google News as well as Google’s main engine. Forget about flashy graphics, carousels and sliders – you can’t optimise a slider, so a big portion of your home page above the fold means very little to Google.
Publish unique, original, content and then get your articles liked and shared on social networks, with a varied range of backlinks. Don’t over-do it on links and un-link your site from anything that looks spammy, outdated or features low grade content.
Contantly bench test for common search queries. You can find these queries using autocomplete, customer emails, social network hashtags, Google Adwords, Google Trends and so on. Probably useful to spreadsheet search trends by calendar month but don’t assume that the search terms which worked last Easter will get you on page 1 this year.
Google owns You Tube so post healthcare `How To’ videos, backlink to your site and choose specific pages, so you can test response in your Google Webmaster site reports. Make sure you add a coherent, company related caption to all your website and content images. These captions will help define your site to Google.
Spending Money Boosts SEO Rank
It really is that simple. If you spend money on Adwords, or even generic sites like Yell, you can get a better page rank on some search terms. But your best investment is almost certainly going to be paid for/sponsored content featured on well established news, magazine or niche websites which have a high rank on Google. Getting a company spokesperson on say BBC Breakfast for 2 minutes can generate over 5,000 visits to your website within an hour.