Car insurance brands must crack cross-device attribution to remain competitive, says Google, GFK and Nielsen report

Car insurance brands must adapt faster to people’s cross-device behaviours if they are to remain competitive, according to a UK report conducted by Google, GFK and Nielsen.

The advent of price comparison sites has led to an ever-increasing percentage of people researching online for the best deals ahead of buying or renewing any existing insurance policies.

A total 82 per cent of consumers research insurance online before purchasing, while 62 per cent of those who auto-renew their policy also carry out their own research. Of those who do, 60 per cent do so online (two per cent offline), according to the report.

Although nearly all (97.8 per cent) of people use a desktop or laptop when researching, one in five (20.7 per cent) of consumers use three devices - desktop/laptop, tablet and smartphone.

Over half (52 per cent) of UK motor insurance purchasers use a smartphone or tablet device at some point in their online research.

Google’s head of insurance, Andy Mihalop, told The Drum that the finance and insurance verticals “lag behind” others such as retail and telcos when it comes to the adoption of multichannel and multidevice attribution.

“Car insurance providers and aggregators are still struggling with multichannel and multi device attribution – it’s an industry that has worked on a final click attribution model for many years, so all the models have been built around last click.

“But multidevice attribution is something the industry really needs to adopt to keep up with consumers,” he said.

Mihalop said that in general the pace of change in consumer behaviour when it came to buying car insurance had accelerated over the last year, driven by the rise of price-comparison sites, and providers were struggling to keep pace.

“Tablets and smartphones in particular are seeing a huge shift and it’s critical that insurance brands and aggregators adapt and take advantage… the research has shown that nearly a quarter of people are now using three devices to research before they buy.

"Therefore, brands need to be able to provide consistent end-to-end optimisation across all devices. But the reality is that this isn’t happening for many insurers,” he added.

Meanwhile, the research also highlighted that insurance providers are missing a trick when it comes to using content to engage with and build brand loyalty with consumers.

Historically, car insurance brands have communicated with consumers typically once a year - at the time of renewals - and there are major opportunities which they currently miss out on, according to Mihalop.

“There is a huge opportunity to create content to help connect brands to consumers when they are researching insurance, and establishing a brand territory and relationship. Instead of just getting in touch once a year they should create great content which can give them a presence earlier in the consumer’s research journey, and help build relationships, create loyalty and value.”

He added: "We [Google] are talking to brands about them broadly becoming publishers and creating utility. Previously they have been focused on demand fulfilment rather than demand generation. We want to get them to think beyond that and start to influence consumers earlier in the journey and answer their questions better."

Google has outlined four core areas (pictured above) on which car insurance providers should focus to capitlaise and keep pace with current consumer needs. These centre on creating great content, optimising for end-to-end mobile, answering people's questions earlier in the online research journey, and implementing cross-device attribution tracking.

Below are some of the most common questions typed into Google when people are researching online insurance.

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