The Influence of Comparison Sites on the Digital Pathway to Purchase Car Insurance

The Influence of Comparison Sites in the pathway to Purchase Car Insurance

Author: Marie Sheehan

One third decide which car insurance provider to go with on a comparison website
While 92% of UK consumers will use a search engine at some stage of the pathway to purchase motor insurance, 87% actually start the journey there. 30% then move to the brand website, however almost half go to a comparison or aggregator site.

29% are then making the decision to purchase and stopping their journey on the aggregator site. A further 9% of those who visit provider’s site are going back to aggregator sites.

Do consumers see the aggregator brand and the motor insurance brand as the same thing?
From the “Search Acquisition Module”* of the Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness programme**, where we capture every keyword searched on and every click made, we know that after “car insurance”, “compare the market” is the second most used search term – putting it before any of the brands. In fact the top three destination sites from consumers’ search are aggregator sites.

Car Insurance keyword search

Organic & paid key word search by domain. Research completed by Global Reviews in Q3 2014
UK Motor Insurance Brands DSE

The top two reasons that consumers use aggregator sites are that 63% think it would be the easiest way to compare different options and 57% say that it is the easiest way to see a range of policies from different providers at the same time.

Choice overload
Consumers could recall 46 motor insurance providers. With the market being so fragmented, consumers are looking for help and cues to help them make the purchase decision. From a consumer’s point of view the line between a brand and an aggregator is becoming increasing blurred.

“It’s quicker this way”
52% of consumers go to the comparison sites for pricing information and only 32% go to the brands sites themselves. Consumers tend to look for information up front on aggregator sites and then make their purchase on brand websites (42%). They are doing this on the basis of speed.

Should Motor Insurance Providers act more like comparison sites?
Consumers who go to the aggregator first believe they will finish the journey faster, whereas consumers who go to the brand website believe they will get the best price. The question is can the brands not introduce a comparison across the market themselves? As aggregators are acting more like brands, why don’t the brands start to act more like aggregators and start taking back control of the consumers touch points?


If you would like to know more, please contact us.

*The Global Reviews Search Acquisition Module gives you back what Google took away and give you the keyword analytics of those who bought not only from you, but those who chose your competitor.

**As part of our ongoing programme of studies into the digital marketing effectiveness of UK motor insurance providers we ran the latest round of our Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DSE) benchmark in November.
The Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME) programme focuses on the Discover and Consider stages of the online purchase journey.

The Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME) programme focuses on the Discover and Consider stages of the online purchase journey.

The Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME) programme focuses on the Discover and Consider stages of the online purchase journey.

The DME identifies both the barriers and enablers to how and who consumers shortlist in the online purchasing decision journey, what drives final preference and crucially WHY your potential customers (but now lost opportunities) pick another brand over yours.

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What is the online experience for prospective mortgage consumers?

On a bi-annual basis, Global Reviews collects the research journeys of in-market customers and analyses how they go about selecting a preferred mortgage lender. The results help businesses understand the drivers behind the audience that are not selecting them in their final decision, which in turn helps to uncover new opportunities to tackle and ensure that marketing dollars are working effectively.

MortgagesVisit our reports library to download FREE industry reports from across our digital marketing and digital sales effectiveness programmes.

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How are Australian consumers researching superannuation?

As part of our Digital Marketing Effectiveness programme we asked 200 Australians who were in the market for superannuation to use the internet to research, shortlist and choose a provider.

SuperannuationVisit our reports library to download FREE industry reports from across our digital marketing and digital sales effectiveness programmes.

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Changes in the way Australian consumers are researching and selecting home insurance providers

Home Insurance

Author: Suzy Coulson

Competition within the home insurance market is heating up. While most Australian home owners are seeing a slowdown in the rise of home insurance premiums, the big insurance companies are beginning to feel the pressure to bow down to the rates offered by their smaller competitors, or risk losing customers.

Throughout 2014, Global Reviews ran four Digital Marketing Effectiveness studies to follow the research journeys of consumers currently in-market for home insurance and analyse how they go about creating a consideration shortlist of preferred providers. In comparing the results from across the year, it is evident that the way consumers research and select home insurance providers is changing.

One area that saw quite a shift in results as the year progressed was within the reasons for putting a brand on the consideration shortlist. Whilst brand familiarity and trust remain consistently important when selecting a provider, previous use dropped dramatically in recent months. In April 47% of consumers considered brands because of previous use, but this has since dropped to 35% in both the July and November studies. Instead, price and website usability have started to become more common reasons for considering a home insurance provider.

Researching home insurance

So if brand loyalty is no longer such an influence and price and website usability is becoming increasingly important, how does this impact the home insurance industry and which brands are being considered?

Insurance giants AAMI, Allianz and NRMA have each remained fairly steady across the year with the number of people shortlisting them showing no change from February 2014 to November 2014. However, their competition is drawing closer. As the importance of price and website usability has increased, so has the number of people shortlisting Budget Direct, RACQ, Real Insurance and Youi – averaging a 7% increase between February and November. While GIO and NRMA were previously the third and fourth most shortlisted brands respectively, they have now been overtaken by Budget Direct and Youi.

The question for the bigger insurance companies is, do they try and match the pricing of their smaller counterparts and risk revenue loss, or do they stick to what they’re doing and risk losing customers?

Website usability is clearly becoming increasingly important to consumers, and with 16% (n=419) stating that they would leave the website and go to another provider if they encountered problems it is vital that providers are meeting the customer’s expectations and not losing out to the competition unnecessarily. So where price cannot be met, home insurance providers need to at least ensure that their websites are working in their favour.

To find out more about which providers are getting shortlisted and who’s offering the best website experience, please contact:

Darren Watson
Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9982 3412

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Usability of health insurance websites drop (so does the desire to use them)

Health Insurance

Author: Suzy Coulson

The health insurance landscape is set to change with the privatisation of Medibank Private. We won’t necessarily see the effects immediately, but it will undoubtedly impact the industry and the general public who use it. While Medibank Private has been supported and protected by the government, this will soon change, which will throw Medibank Private into a new realm of market competition.

Before any changes do come into play, Global Reviews ran a Digital Marketing Effectiveness study to capture the ways in which consumers are currently researching and selecting a health insurance provider. Between November 2013 and November 2014, there have been some notable changes with a drop in brand preferences as well as a shift in the reasons why consumers are considering brands.

Across the top 10 brands for health insurance, only three brands saw an increase in the number of prospective customers putting them on their consideration shortlist, with a combined increase of 12%. This increase doesn’t make up for the combined 41% decrease of the seven other top 10 brands. Of the three brands who had increases, Medibank Private had the biggest lift with 5%. They were followed by GMHBA who increased by 4% and Bupa with 3%. Heading the other way, Australian Unity and HCF suffered the biggest losses, both with a 9% drop, followed by HBF and NIB with a 7% drop.

Along with a drop in brands getting shortlisted, there’s also been a drop across some of the key reasons why brands were selected to be on a shortlist. Previously, the following reasons for shortlisting a brand ranked quite high:

  • The website helped me compare options
  • They gave me plenty of options to choose from
  • Their products/offers were easy to understand
  • Their website helped me find products/services quickly

In this latest study, however, all the above reasons dropped by an average of 9%. Meanwhile, selecting a website that is visually appealing and/or looks easy to use was chosen by consumers on an average increase of 5% from the previous study. So whilst health insurance websites may look better than they did 12 months ago, their usability appears to have suffered because of it.

The Global Reviews Sales Effectiveness benchmark study shows that website functionality has indeed dropped for the health insurance industry. Either that, or consumer expectations have increased. At the same time, the desire to use the websites has also dropped. In 2013 when the benchmark industry average was 51%, 48% of consumers were stating they would want to research policy options, get a quote and purchase the insurance online. Now, in 2014, the benchmark industry average has dropped to 49% and the number of consumers wanting to complete the research through to purchase process online has also dropped, now at 35%. Consequently, as website usability drops, so too does the desire to use it; to the point where having the ability to apply online has dropped from an importance rating of 8.2/10 down to 7.9/10. Considering 17% of consumers would leave a website and look for another provider if they encountered problems, it’s vital to ensure website usability doesn’t continue to drop.

As the dynamic of the health insurance industry faces change with the government letting go of control of one of Australia’s biggest health insurance providers, it marks a vital time for providers to reassess their offerings and the channels in which they deliver that offer. Consumers currently aren’t considering as many providers as they were previously, and research is showing that lacking website usability is contributing to this. Nobody can predict how the industry will be impacted by the privatisation of Medibank Private, so if brands want to secure a leading position in this changing market, then they need to take a look at their websites as this is one variable than they can control.

For information about our upcoming research please contact:

Jane Robertson
Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9982 3417
M: +61 400 560 652

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Is the ACCC set to change which mobile providers we choose?

accc mobile phone review

Author: Suzy Coulson

Australia’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), released a discussion paper in August aimed at finding a way to lower the costs Australian consumers are currently paying for their mobile phone services. Whilst this is great news for mobile phone users, this does mean a potential shift in which providers we choose.

In July, Global Reviews conducted a marketing effectiveness study into the ways in which consumers research and select mobile phone providers to meet their needs. It was found that of those who didn’t have a preferred provider before they began their research, 54% would go into their research specifically looking for the provider with the best prices i.e. rates and fees. Once consumers had commenced their research, 60% built their shortlist of providers based on them having good rates and fees.

As it currently stands, Optus and Telstra are the most shortlisted brands at 68% and 66% respectively. Whilst Optus and Telstra are the dominant players, there is room for other brands given that consumers said that they would research an average of 4.7 providers. Even so, they still hold quite a lead on the next most shortlisted brands, Vodafone (40%) and Virgin (34%).

Being the largest telecommunications companies in the country, Optus and Telstra can perhaps afford to play around with the rates and fees they charge their customers. Smaller companies, however, most likely don’t have such freedoms which is an issue considering that on an importance scale of 1-5 (1=not at all important, 5=very important), customers rated low fees and charges as a 4.5 in importance when it comes to choosing a preferred provider. This was made evident when Optus, who was originally only preferred by 17% versus Telstra at 35%, managed to finish just one point behind Telstra in final preference thanks discovering their “good plan options” during the research and discovery phase.

With the amount that service providers are charging each other to receive phone calls and text messages now under scrutiny by the ACCC, the costs between providers is set to drop from May 2015, which will in turn allow for a drop in the fees charged to the consumer, opening up the competition to the smaller companies.

So as fees and rates begin to get more competitive, will we begin to see a change in which brands consumers prefer? Will the criteria in which we shortlist and choose providers change? In the coming weeks, Global Reviews will be running a sales effectiveness benchmark to evaluate the digital sales experience of the major telco’s and see just how prepared they are for this potential shift in how consumers will select a provider. The complete website journey will be assessed to see if providers can cater for the full range of customer needs, not just the pricing.

Download our free report for more insights from the study.

For information about our upcoming research please contact:

Jane Robertson
Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9982 3417
M: +61 400 560 652

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Revealing the winning factors for the most preferred Australian travel insurance providers

Flight cancelled

As we head into the final months of the year, many of us are beginning to daydream about our next holiday. It is at this time every year that Global Reviews runs a Digital Marketing Effectiveness study to understand how Australian consumers, who are planning their upcoming holidays, are researching and selecting travel insurance.

With 39% of future travellers surveyed in 2013 not able to recall any travel insurance providers, the process of picking a provider is going to be heavily reliant on conducting research and establishing a ‘shortlist’ of companies to pick from.

As part of our research we asked consumers to use the internet to find travel insurance providers who would best suit their needs. After initial research, the following providers were the most commonly listed within consumers’ shortlists:

  • Allianz – 39%
  • Australia Post – 33%
  • NRMA – 23%
  • AAMI – 22%
  • 1 Cover – 21%
  • Medibank Private – 19%
  • Travel Insurance Direct – 18%
  • Virgin Money – 15%
  • Insure & Go – 14%

Familiarity with the brand’s name and appearing within search engine results were the two main reasons why brands were shortlisted. But what were the key winning points for each of these highly shortlisted brands?

Travel Insurance shortlisting2

The above graph highlights the main selling points that each brand is generally considered for. With so many players in the market offering near identical products, focussing on what gets your brand shortlisted could be one way of setting yourself apart from the crowd.

We are just weeks away from running this study again so it will be interesting to see how well these top eight brands have leveraged off their key selling points. Or perhaps we’ll see a different set of brands rising to the top?

Contact us to be amongst the first to receive our upcoming study results and gain further insight into what is making your brand a winner when it comes to researching travel insurance.

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Health insurance digital experience not meeting prospective customers’ needs

In October we will be carrying out the next wave of studies from our Australian Health Insurance research programme. Previous research revealed the following top elements that prospective customers are wanting on a website when researching health insurance:


Health Insurance

This same research also assessed how easily these prospective customers could locate and understand the health insurance product range across the nine websites that were benchmarked. Across the industry, the effectiveness of being able to do this averaged 38%, with only two brands showing a semi-reasonable performance.


Effectiveness of locating product range
Which rating below relates to your site?

Considering 18% of prospective customers will leave a website if they encounted problems, you can’t risk falling below the line when there are brands who are already delivering.

Contact us to find out how your website rates and to ensure that your brand is included in this next wave of studies.

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How consumers are researching motor insurance

As part of our Digital Marketing Effectiveness programme we asked 200 Australians who were in the market for motor insurance to use the internet to research, shortlist and choose a provider.

We tracked which websites consumers used and then asked them how they would typically access these websites:

Motor Insurance Q314To find out more about how consumers are using the internet to find a motor insurance provider, download this free report or contact us to see how your website fits into the mix.

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Trouble areas on superannuation websites

Retirement Chess

Companies included in this study: AMP, ANZ, Australian Super, BT, CBA, ING Direct, OnePath, SunSuper, VicSuper and Westpac

In July 2014, Global Reviews ran its bi-annual Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) research for the Superannuation industry which measures the online customer experience offered to consumers when looking to open a new superannuation account. Across the six stages of the customer journey, the industry is scoring an average of 45%. The benchmark consists of three consumer inputs; customer behaviour, audit & attitude, as well as the Global Reviews best practice audit.

SuperDSE Q32014

Industry falls short at explaining the products

Upon arriving on a brand’s website, consumers are typically going to be seeking out what investment options are on offer to them. When it comes to the functionality behind introducing these options, the industry averaged a score of 48%.

  • Only four of the ten companies benchmarked in this study scored above 50% for helping customers to find and understand any fees and charges. As a result, the industry average was 44% for this category.
  • CBA was the top performer when it came to how easily consumers could find fees associated with a fund, with a 98% success rate in finding this information. On the other end of the scale, the lowest performer for this category saw only 21% of consumers being able to successfully locate the fees associated with a fund.
  • The biggest weakness across the whole industry is in the detail and context of the fees and charges information. The industry scored 25%, with Westpac taking the lead on 48% – 11 points ahead of the next best performer.

Consumers have very little assistance in helping to pick and compare product options

In order to pick a fund, companies need to assist consumers in matching a fund to their individual needs as well as allow them to compare their options. For this stage of evaluation options, the industry averaged a mere 29%.

  • ING Direct was the top performer here with a score of 54%. The lowest scoring company scored just 9% – mostly brought down by the inability to compare investment options.
  • Only three companies currently provide an interactive comparison function. Australian Super and VicSuper led here, both with 37%, with ING Direct sitting 10 points behind on 27%. ING Direct did, however, perform the best in terms of the ease of comparing options.

For more information about the Superannuation Digital Sales Effectiveness study, please contact:

Ché Carbis
Regional Commercial Director
T: +61 3 9982 3419
M: +61 411 962 857

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