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Search Engine Marketing for Insurance Companies – an Introduction

Symbolic Picture: Search Engine Marketing for Insurances

Many potential clients start their search for a suitable insurance company on Google. The following keywords, for example, show that there is great potential for search engine marketing in Switzerland:

  • Versicherung (insurance): 3’600 monthly searches
  • Krankenkasse (health insurance): 5’400 monthly searches
  • Autoversicherung (car insurance): 4’400 monthly searches
  • Hausratversicherung (household contents insurance): 3’600 monthly searches
  • Lebensversicherung (life insurance): 1’900 monthly searches

Thus, a top-ranking position in Google search is essential for an insurance company to win new customers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Search Engine Advertising (SEA)?

The great potential on Google leads to fierce competition. In addition to direct competitors, insurance companies also fight with numerous comparison portals for the top positions.

Since up to four ads can appear above the organic search results, paid Google Ads campaigns are essential. The following example for the search term “Krankenkasse” (health insurance company) illustrates this: The top four positions are occupied by ads. This is followed by local search results from Google Maps / Google My Business and only then the first organic search result appears.

Google Search for Health Insurance Positions 1-4: Google Ads Google Search Results for Health Insurance: Positions 5-9

The strong competition also leads to high click prices for the top positions, as you can see in the following examples:

  • Versicherung (insurance): 3.16 CHF per Click
  • Krankenkasse (health insurance): 8.77 CHF per Click
  • Autoversicherung (car insurance): 13.19 CHF per Click
  • Hausratversicherung (household contents insurance): 17.11 CHF per Click
  • Lebensversicherung (life insurance): 8.74 CHF per Click

In order to keep these high costs in check, it is advisable to tap into the organic search potential with good SEO. In addition, an optimized and well linked website increases the quality factor, which in turn reduces the click prices for SEA.

As a result, a combination of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA) is ideal for your marketing mix.

How to Start with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

For sustainable search engine optimization, it is best to proceed as follows:

  1. Content: Based on keyword research you define the search terms your target group is actually looking for. The keyword research is the foundation of the content plan and content creation for your website.
  2. Technical Optimization: Based on a comprehensive technical SEO check, you should optimize your website for search engines from a technical point of view. The best content is useless if search engines cannot index it completely and correctly.
  3. Link Building: High-quality links from other websites to your website (backlinks) strengthen the authority of your website in the eyes of the search engines.
  4. Social Media Strategy: Similar to backlinks, visibility on social media is a quality signal for search engines. Therefore, your SEO project should include a targeted social media strategy.
  5. Ongoing SEO Measures: You should monitor your SEO performance to identify and solve emerging problems such as broken links, a slump in loading speed or a new competitor using the same keywords. It is also very important to regularly create new relevant content to keep your website interesting for search engines and users alike.

How to Start with Search Engine Advertising (SEA)

For successful search engine advertising we recommend the following steps:

  1. Setting up Search Campaigns: First of all, you need to set up search campaigns for the relevant keywords. Due to the great competition and high click prices in the insurance sector, it is particularly important to work towards a good quality factor. You can achieve this by structuring your keywords granularly into campaigns and ad groups and align them with ad texts and landing pages.
  2. Setting up Display and YouTube Ads: In order to increase search volume for the relevant terms and awareness of your company (top level of the sales funnel), we recommend setting up display and YouTube ads in addition to search campaigns.
  3. Setting up Remarketing Campaigns: Remarketing campaigns remind website visitors of your company while they are visiting other pages on the web. Ideally, you can increase the conversion rate by showing your advertising to visitors who have not yet converted.
  4. Monitoring and Optimization: Campaigns should be continuously optimized based on performance data. This allows you to use your marketing budget as effectively as possible and to react to changing market conditions.

If you set up remarketing campaigns, however, you must take the following important points into account:

  • Brand Safety: Your ads should of course never appear on websites that damage your image. This is also relevant for display advertising. However, the risk is particularly high in the case of remarketing, as the targeting is purely based on user behavior. If users visit dubious websites, your ads could be displayed to them there. To ensure brand safety, you can use various tools such as Zulu5 (brand safety monitoring tool), Adobe Brand Safety Tools from the Adobe Advertising Cloud or Google Display & Video 360 (DV360), which offers premium placements and brand safety targeting.
  • Data Protection: According to the European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), remarketing is only permitted if users give their consent through active opt-in. Next year, Switzerland will also be launching a revised data protection law, which is very similar to GDPR and will probably also require an active opt-in for remarketing.

Are there Alternatives to Google?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is often used synonymously with Google. This makes perfect sense for Switzerland, as Google has a market share of 94.83% (source: StatCounter). The second- and third-placed search engines offer some additional potential: Bing (market share 2.69%) and DuckDuckGo (market share 0.92%).

The following list for Bing (DuckDuckGo incorporates Bing Ads) shows that the search volume in Switzerland is significantly lower, but so are the click prices:

  • Versicherung (insurance): 65 searches per month, click price 0.34 CHF
  • Krankenkasse (health insurance): 102 searches per month, click price 2.17 CHF
  • Autoversicherung (car insurance): 122 searches per month, click price 3.45 CHF
  • Hausratversicherung (household contents insurance): 113 searches per month, click price 1.87 CHF
  • Lebensversicherung (life insurance): 40 searches per month, click price 1.39 CHF

So, it may well be worthwhile to include Bing as a niche provider, especially since the effort required to set up the campaigns is low as a function to import your Google Ads campaigns exists in Bing.

 

To sum up:

Search Engine Marketing has great potential for companies in the insurance industry. Due to the fierce competition, we recommend an online marketing mix that includes both SEO and SEA. It is particularly important to monitor your campaigns closely and continuously perform data-based optimizations. This is the only way to make the best use of your advertising budget!

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