After an absence of more than four years, the leading insurance publisher All Web Leads resumed selling its auto insurance inventory on the MediaAlpha platform in July 2020. In the months since, its return has made a big impact on both companies.
With the addition of well-trafficked insurance shopping sites like NetQuote and insurancequotes.com, MediaAlpha buyers now have exclusive access to the click inventory associated with the millions of consumers who visit All Web Leads’ properties each month. Meanwhile, All Web Leads has seen its cost-per-click grow by up to 15% from reconnecting its publishers with the industry’s largest and most transparent source of auto carrier demand.
Recently, we spoke with All Web Leads president and CEO Bill Daniel to learn more about why his company decided to return to MediaAlpha, how the two companies managed the transition, and what the move has done to improve All Web Leads’ monetization.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
MediaAlpha: What were some of the reasons All Web Leads decided to resume selling its auto inventory on the MediaAlpha platform?
Bill Daniel: We thought the MediaAlpha platform had better tools for both publishers and carriers. We also thought that our click product inventory would be better suited for the MediaAlpha platform, meaning we thought there were some other things about the platform that would give us better performance for our carrier customers, and therefore better monetization for us.
We were one of the original publishers on the platform back when it was QuoteLab, so we’ve known [MediaAlpha co-founder and CEO] Steve [Yi] and his team for, gosh, I want to say more than 10 years. We’ve been in business with each other for a long time, and there’s a great deal of built-up trust and understanding. So moving back to MediaAlpha was kind of like coming home. During the process, Steve and I would jokingly refer to it that way with each other. And not really so jokingly—it really does feel good to be back.
MA: How was the transition for you and your advertising partners? It seems like a lot of data and inventory to move from one platform to another.
BD: What we’ve found from moving to the MediaAlpha platform is that the actual transition was seamless from a technical integration perspective. We literally flipped a switch one night at midnight and it worked perfectly—it took about 15 minutes for us to price discover the value of our consumers on the platform. Now, there was a lot of work leading up to that, but not as much work as there would have been with other platforms, due to the open nature of the platform and the easy integrations that are available to us as a publisher.
The change was really the advertisers, the carriers, the demand side of this. What they needed to do was to make sure they had enough budget and that they were bidding aggressively enough to get the same amount of our inventory on the MediaAlpha platform that they were getting before.
MA: How has the move changed your monetization?
BD: Our carriers have more budget available to spend on the MediaAlpha platform than they did with our old partner, and that’s created a better auction experience for us. There’s more people competing for our consumer clicks, and because there’s more competition, carriers have had to bid up a little bit. From our perspective, we’ve seen an increase of up to 15%. It’s really been excellent for our business.
What’s just as amazing and maybe more important is the feedback from the carriers that our inventory is performing even better. The only conclusion we can come to is that there’s less latency, less leakage, and less glitches as the consumers move from our workflow into the carrier’s workflow, with the intermediary being the MediaAlpha platform. That’s a testament to the platform itself.
MA: How have carriers responded to the move overall?
BD: Our carriers are thrilled. We don’t use the same tools they use since we’re a publisher, but they love the MediaAlpha platform and the tools that are available to them. The platform’s absence of lag time or performance issues has improved the user experience as consumers move from an ad on one of our websites to the binding process on the carrier’s site. In addition, MediaAlpha’s demographic targeting capabilities make it much easier for carriers to purchase our clicks from the inventory.
So really, the move has been a win-win-win. It’s a win for the consumer, it’s a win for our customer—the carrier—and therefore, it’s a win for us as a publisher.
MA: How has MediaAlpha’s transparency helped you be more efficient as a publisher?
BD: A lot of it comes down to the granular data we’re able to see and the ability we have to drive decision-making in both real time and retrospectively looking at historical trends. We get a nightly feed of information that flows into our data warehouse, which allows us to not only operate on it from a machine learning and AI point of view, but to look at it on a retrospective basis for historical trends. We spend a very large amount in the advertising world on all the online channels, so anything we can do to be more effective in that regard is a big plus.
When you aren’t granular with the data you give to a publisher, that’s the equivalent of being opaque. With some platforms, we think their lack of transparency is meant to obfuscate things that we would like to know and take action based on.
It’s one thing to have a technical advantage, which I think the MediaAlpha platform does. But it’s another thing to have the people who run the business be in sync with our values as a business. We are very comfortable with Steve and the whole team—we think alike and we’re very confident that we have each other’s best interests in mind.
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