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 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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What do customers do when having problems on a banking website?

We surveyed 861 Australian consumers who were in the market for a banking product and asked them what they would do if they encountered problems on a website while they were researching and selecting a product.

This data was captured as part of our Digital Sales Effectiveness programme across the following benchmarks:

  • Credit Cards
  • Mortgages
  • Savings Accounts
  • Transactions Accounts

BankingIssue Info02Visit our research store to download our free reports.

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Golden boot winners of the Digital World Cup

Football online betting

Author: Marie Sheehan

As part of our ongoing programme of studies into the online effectiveness of UK sports betting providers we ran our Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) benchmark during the World Cup.

UK bookmakers were expecting to take as much £3 billion in action during the World Cup and we felt there was no better time to analyse online purchasing behaviour and track sports betting customers online.

Customer purchasing journey scoreboard

The study researches ‘in market’ sports betting online consumers using our unique methodology which has 500+ data points in 63 metrics per company being benchmarked.

As part of our programme we have scored how each sports betting provider performs at each stage of the online consideration and purchase journey. The scores listed below are calculated using a series of tasks, questions and best practice criterion at each stage of the customer journey. All scores are weighted according to our industry and consumer research based on the importance of site elements during the journey to customers to support decision-making.

Golden boot – top scorers per stage


“Initial Engagement” Golden Boot: William Hill with 68%

Evaluates: the customer’s first impressions of the website and the company brand

Measures: fundamental site elements like navigation, privacy, building trust and value proposition

“Introducing Options” Golden Boot: Coral with 63%

Evaluates: the customer’s ability to locate product or service options on the website

Measures: how easily customers can find all options and detailed information associated with the product or service such as fees, rates, inclusions or terms and conditions

“Facilitating Decisions” Golden Boot: Bet Fred with 58%

Evaluates: the company’s ability to assist customers in the final stages of their decision making process Measures: how easy a company makes it for customers to get answers to important questions

“Channel Selection” Golden Boot: Sky Bet 59%

Audits: the website’s ability to convey the options available to customers in order to place a bet

Measures: how well your website introduces both online and offline options for the customer

“Placing a Bet” Golden Boot: Coral 58%

Evaluates: how the website manages the beginning of a customer’s purchase process

Measures: best practice elements for a shopping cart type interface, including supporting content required before a customer places a bet

“Registration” Golden Boot: William Hill 72%

Evaluates: how the website manages the customer experience prior to purchase/placing a bet

Measures: best practice form elements and expectation management during the process such as error handling, process indication and both online and offline support

Full time analyses

The key to growing online sales is about understanding the (lost) opportunities, getting to know what you don’t know, and finding out what you can do differently. The Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness programme delivers the evidence-based insights and advice to better manage and improve customer experience and digital business outcomes.

A word from our pundit: “Do not try to fix what is not broken. Understand your journey through the consumers’ eyes and target the stages of the customer journey that are under performing.”

Our pundit, Liam O’Callaghan is available for comment on + 44 (0) 203 725 8262

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How are Sports Betting mobile sites performing?

Soccer Phone

Author: Marie Sheehan

The first mobile site study
In Q1, 2014 we conducted the first Mobile Sales Effectiveness (MSE) Study into sports betting websites in the UK.
The sports betting mobile sites reviewed were: Ladbrokes, William Hill, PaddyPower, SkyBet, BetVictor, Sportingbet, BetFred, Coral, 888, Bet365 and Betfair.

Small points difference in MSE Scores, UK Sports Betting Brands Q1 2014
In this study, Global Reviews’ mobile web effectiveness benchmark for Sports Betting providers delivered an overall industry average of 54%, with a small variance between scores; the highest score being 55.9%, attained by SkyBet followed closely by Ladbrokes with a score of 55.7% and BetVictor with 55.6% The lowest scoring site – Betfair – achieved a score of 48.5%.


These scores are calculated from four key tests; a set of practical tasks, an attitudinal survey and an audit of the site’s features – all done by prospective customers – as well as a best practice audit by experts, consisting of over 350 separate criteria.

Measuring the online purchasing journey – from first visit to the mobile site
The sports betting MSE benchmarks are made up of six phases which follow the customers’ journey from ‘Initial engagement’ – their first encounter with the website – through researching and choosing a bet to place through to filling in the registration form online.

In Q1 2014, UK sports betting brands did best at the ’Registration’ stage (scoring an average of 63%). The industry scored lowest for the ‘Channel selection‘ (20%) stage, with no brand scoring higher than 28%

‘Why choose you?’
In an intensively competitive market such as sports betting, bettors need full encouragement through the last step of their betting decision through the provision of external comparisons, access to FAQ, contact details and decision support through ‘why choose us?’ content.

Key pain points in the customer journey:

  • Few brands attempt to differentiate their services
  • Sites make contact details and help hard to find

‘Why register and bet through a mobile site?’
The ‘Act’ phase of the MSE study looks at how well the sports betting mobile sites explain their channel options for placing a bet, as well as how effectively the site encourage to users to complete their bet online.

Key pain points in the customer journey:

  • Mobile channels are poorly promoted
  • Registration requires more support

‘How easy is it to place a bet?’
When users find a bet they like, they then need to figure out how to place it – something not made as simple as it should be.

Key pain points in the customer journey:

  • Bet slips need more help and support
  • Users need to be reassured on safety and security

Although many sports betting providers perform well in some areas of the customer journey, most notably the registration forms, with an average score of just 54% none are providing the necessary consistently positive experience throughout the site from homepage through to registration and betting.

Most mobile sites fail to adequately signpost users to contextual help and support, as well as failing to show why potential bettors should select their brand above others. Sports betting sites, like brands in many other markets, also fail to encourage users to apply through the mobile site, and fail to adequately promote the ease and speed of registration.

White paper
Download the white paper on this study

Upcoming study
Our next study into the mobile web performance of sports betting providers will take place in September. To be included in this study or to find out more, please contact Liam O’Callaghan 0203 7258262

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KISS your website

KISS computer

Author: Marie Sheehan

Companies are losing one in five customers online by over-complicating their websites.

Ok, so it’s not “kiss” as in the lip smacker display of affection…

…..It’s KISS as in “Keep It Simple Silly”…

Our research*, which benchmarked 166 companies in the UK, found that 21% of customers would leave a website immediately to find another provider if they encountered a problem when shopping online.

Encountering a problem on a website

A third of customers find that they have to put in more effort than expected
The studies also revealed that on average 32% of customers had to put in more effort than expected on a particular website to achieve their desired task. The energy industry scored lowest with a substantial 40% of customers finding websites required too much effort.


Digital customer experience
While innovations in website design continue to evolve, understanding what’s required to simplify the customer’s buying journey is often misunderstood. Companies need to know how easy – and how difficult – it is to buy from them online.

*Our ongoing international syndicated programmes provide companies with a totally unique insight into how effectively they engage customers online and help them match a product to service to meet their needs.

We provide companies with targeted, actionable insights to improve their digital customer experience curb website visitor attrition and improve digital sales. It’s not necessarily about how companies would like to sell online; it’s about how easy you make it for consumers to make a purchase decision. We see companies realising an immediate online sales uplift once they change their approach.

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

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