From year of mobile to year of the consumer: acquiring clients in 2015

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For years, insurance professionals have been told to invest in their mobile platforms.
 
While this advice remains sound, new insights from the United States collated by Marchex’s “2015 Mobile Advertising Performance Report” indicate that an effective mobile strategy requires agencies to view smartphones and tablets as one part of the larger consumer experience.
 
In fact, while most demographics are heavily engaged in mobile and web, it usually serves as a springboard to human interaction.
 
“Our data shows that financial services and insurance brands are already experiencing profound changes related to the broader online-to-offline trend: that it is now typical for a consumer to search on their mobile phone for an insurance provider or bank and make a phone call or an in-person visit based directly on that search result," said John Busby, Marchex SVP of Consumer Insights and co-author of the report.
 
The search-to-call trend is particularly profound among Millennials and members of Generation X, but is increasingly becoming the norm as smartphones replace computers as the primary source of information gathering.
 
“With the onset of the PC, there was so much emphasis on getting people to do something online.  But the mobile device is the perfect device to invest in because it serves as a bridge between the online and offline world,” said Busby.
 
The report, which can be viewed here, reveals that consumers will call an insurer or brokerage as the direct result of clicking on an advertisement more than 1 billion times in the US in 2015.  Last year, 31% of those calls were prospective clients seeking coverage.
 
Busby recommends adopting a comprehensive approach to mobile advertising, from search engine optimization to appearing in directories such as Yelp.

“I think there’s a notion among advertisers that paid search, such as advertising on Google, is the only way to get a direct response from consumers,” he said. “But the data shows that all different forms of mobile advertising, including directories, search and display, are all great ways to reach a mobile consumer.”
 
He also suggests that agencies implement a call analytics platform to measure the results of all sources of mobile advertisement, to know the impact that each is having.
 
Finally, the report shines a light on one of the biggest obstacles agencies face when trying to recruit new clients: hold times.
 
Although BIA/Kelsey predicts that mobile searches will generate 73 billion phone calls to businesses in the US by 2018, prompting “the new currency of the Smartphone Era,” the call experience that most insurers currently provide is below par. 
 
In fact, Busby’s report finds that 25% of calls made to national call centers and 20% made to local agencies end in a hang-up because of long wait times.
 
“This just reinforces that while people are paying attention to mobile and online experiences, they also need to be paying attention to the call experience,” he said.

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