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.
• Research shows poor performance in digital marketing channels
• Vitality, Saga and AVIVA rank highest overall – with challengers gaining an advantage in a number of individual categories
• Research comes as online searches for health insurance spike in recent years
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%.
Search engine optimisation is prevalent, where companies look to rank highly in online search engine results. This well-established digital marketing channel for health insurers means that there is strong performance in the basics, for example meta tags and blog content to improve organic search ranking over time. However, research shows that factors such as load speeds of websites are low, reducing their ranking by search tools like Google.
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 Jiggins-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.”