Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The impact of Google aggregating insurance

I thought I'd follow up my earlier post, where I mentioned how the entrance of Google into the online UK insurance space was more of an issue for the aggregators than the individual insurers or brokers.
Note: those brands you think are insuring your car are actually fairly likely to be brokers, trying to earn a profit by selling you insurance from a smaller set of insurers.

In 2010 over 50% of all private car insurance was purchased with the use of the Internet, so it is only sensible to assume that has only increased over the last 18 months. It's therefore surprising that many insurance brands in the UK have made the decision not to have a large online marketing presence and take advantage of this traffic and growth. Sure, some companies are targeting organic or paid search online, but the major search terms are now pretty much dominated by the primary aggregators (MoneySupermarket, GoCompare, Compare The Market & Confused)*.

Either through a conscious decision, a lack of securing funds or some other factor, many insurance companies now accept the dominant role of the aggregators and pay them handsomely. In fact some even accept that up to 80% (or possibly more) of their business comes from the big players.

This current situation may not be permanent, but climbing above the big aggregation and comparison sites in either SEO or PPC is something that would take a lot of time, effort, skill and therefore money.

And this is why aggregators have more to lose now than the companies they provide customers to. They have more at stake when the biggest search engine places its own sponsored box just beneath the top two PPC adverts on a search results page. In effect giving itself a free third place listing and thus siting this service above the organic results.

For any other company this third place Pay-per-click position and top SEO place would cost a fortune to establish and maintain. Save nothing of the improved experience of a comparison service being built into the search journey.

*Sure some are spending significantly on TV (e.g. Direct Line, which is trying all it can to build brand loyalty in the run up to its proposed extraction from the now mainly Government-owned RBS group), but these cases are the exception.
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