Granular, in-depth reporting is the bedrock of performance advertising in the insurance industry. Indeed, if advertisers can’t measure how different variables are influencing their performance, they won’t have the information they need to improve that performance by adjusting their bids for different kinds of shoppers. And if advertisers can’t maximize their results in the performance channel, publishers are at risk of seeing their budgets moved elsewhere.
Our whole ecosystem depends on deep transparency into each consumer’s location, shopping journey, demographics, home ownership status, driving history, and more. And when it comes to insurance advertising, few insights are more impactful than channel-level reporting.
When we speak of channel-level reporting, we’re talking about information that gives advertisers insight into two key details: the publisher that a consumer is visiting when they see an ad and the channel through which that publisher brought the consumer to their website. So whereas publisher-level reporting might show an advertiser what their conversion rate looks like when they advertise to consumers on the OfficialCarInsurance.com website, channel-level reporting tells them what their conversion rate is when they advertise to consumers who came to OfficialCarInsurance.com by clicking a paid search ad.
Advertisers need to intelligently implement channel-level reporting to optimize their performance, and publishers need to provide quality channel-level reporting if they want to optimize their traffic acquisition and help advertisers meet their business goals. Here are four things that insurance advertisers and publishers need to know about using channel-level reporting to drive their businesses forward.
1. Channel-level reporting offers valuable insight into a shopper’s intent
Channel-level reporting is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to predicting how valuable a given consumer will be to an advertiser’s business. That’s because channel is often a signal of how serious a consumer is about purchasing a policy.
After all, two health insurance consumers with similar demographics might shop on the same website, but the way they got to the site can provide important insight into how likely they are to purchase a policy. For instance, a consumer who comes to the site via a paid ad they see while searching “buy health insurance” on Google is potentially more likely to enroll than someone who clicks a social media ad while passively scrolling Facebook.
2. Channel-level reporting helps advertisers analyze performance and optimize bidding
The example above is fairly intuitive, but channel-level reporting enables advertisers to discover more granular insights that help them adjust their bidding for the best possible results.
For instance, we might take it as a given that consumers who arrive at an insurance shopping website via search are generally more likely to convert than those who arrive via social media. But exactly how much more likely to buy a policy are they? And, consequently, how much more should an advertiser bid to reach these shoppers?
When advertisers connect their sales data to their marketing data, they’re able to see precisely how much more or less often consumers convert when they come through various channels. Advertisers can then use this information to optimize their bidding accordingly. For instance, let’s say you’re an auto insurance carrier and you see that OfficialCarInsurance.com’s search channel is delivering a conversion rate that’s 50% higher than your average across all of your campaigns. Knowing this, you might decide to raise your bids for these shoppers by 50%.
Without channel-level reporting, you’d likely wind up paying the same price for all of OfficialCarInsurance.com’s traffic—despite the variance in the publisher’s channel-level performance. The result is that you’d overpay for the site’s lower-converting traffic while frequently getting outbid for the high-converting traffic you need to grow your business. But by taking advantage of channel-level reporting, you can bid high enough to acquire a publisher’s best-performing traffic and acquire their lower-converting shoppers at a cost that’s still profitable for your business.
3. Publishers can better serve their advertisers with more granular channel-level reporting
For publishers, this channel-level reporting is a crucial ingredient in helping advertisers get the results they need to continue spending money on a publisher’s inventory. And if publishers have large audiences, it often makes sense to further help advertisers by providing this information at a more granular level.
For instance, let’s say you’re a large publisher that attracts hundreds of thousands of search visitors each month. It’s likely that you’ll see a wide variance in the quality of that search traffic. In this case, it might make sense to sort different parts of your search traffic into separate channels for the purposes of reporting and bidding. For instance, you could put the consumers who arrive on your site via your highest-intent keywords into a Search Tier 1 and those who are less likely to convert into a Search Tier 2.
If you have a large enough audience to make it worth it, the more granularity you can give your advertisers, the more easily they’ll be able to right-price your traffic, get better results, and increase their spend with you.
4. Publishers can use channel-level reporting to acquire traffic more efficiently
Finally, channel-level reporting helps publishers better understand which of their traffic sources are performing for their advertisers, enabling them to make smarter, more profitable traffic acquisition decisions.
For example, if you’re a publisher and you notice that advertisers are lowering their bids for one of your channels, it’s a signal that it might be time for you to reduce your own spend on acquiring that type of traffic. Conversely, if you see bids for one of your channels increase, it’s a sign that advertisers are getting good performance from it, and that you should increase your spending to bring more of those shoppers to your site.
Want help optimizing your channel-level buying or reporting? We’d be happy to talk.
Channel-level reporting is crucial for insurance advertisers and publishers who hope to maximize their results. It helps advertisers understand and optimize performance while giving publishers the information they need to better serve their advertisers and grow their own profits.
At MediaAlpha, we’re proud to have been the first company in our space to offer in-depth, channel-level reporting, and we continue to pride ourselves on giving clients the transparency they need to achieve the best possible performance on our platform.
If you’re an advertiser looking to learn more about channel-level optimization or a publisher looking to learn more about the best way to report at the channel level, we’d be happy to help. Just reach out to your account manager to set up a meeting whenever is convenient. And if you’re not already a MediaAlpha client, you can schedule a time to speak with us on our website.