The Dos and Don’ts of Performance Advertising on the MediaAlpha Platform

Some pointers for getting off on the right foot at the bottom of the funnel

Following these tips can help insurance carriers get off to a strong start on the MediaAlpha platform.

Over the past several years, a growing number of insurance carriers have recognized the power of performance advertising. With each passing month, more carriers are reaching the conclusion that a significant presence at the bottom of the funnel is no longer a nice-to-have but an absolute necessity for acquiring new customers with efficiency and scale.

However, scaling a performance advertising campaign isn’t always smooth sailing, and advertisers sometimes make mistakes when they’re getting started on the MediaAlpha platform. Here are some pitfalls to avoid and some pointers to implement when you’re building your first performance advertising campaigns with MediaAlpha.

DON’T: Forget to measure your performance at a granular level

One big issue new advertisers often have is that they are not yet equipped to measure how different variables are impacting their performance. If you don’t have tools in place to tie your marketing data to your sales data—that is, to connect your policy sales to the ad clicks that led to them—you’re missing out on key insights that will enable you to adjust your buying strategy for optimal results.

For instance, let’s say you’re getting a $10 cost-per-click on the inventory you buy from Publisher A and a $5 cost-per-click from Publisher B. Absent other information, Publisher B would appear to be a much better investment. But if you’ve implemented click-level reporting, you might discover that the people who clicked ads on Publisher A were much more likely to buy a policy from you than those who clicked ads on Publisher B. This new information would help you make a smarter decision about how much to bid for each publisher’s inventory.

DO: Implement MediaAlpha’s conversion tracking token to track online and offline sales

If you’re a MediaAlpha client, you can tie your marketing data to your sales data by implementing our conversion tracking token. This way, you’ll be able to identify the online and offline sales that were driven by your performance campaigns.

In addition to measuring performance by publisher, a conversion tracking token enables you to measure your performance by zip code and the referring channel that sent the consumer to the publisher where your ad appeared (e.g. paid social media, organic search, and so forth). Even among consumers who click an ad on the same publisher, there can be large fluctuations in how often shoppers convert based on whether they came to the publisher from a search engine, a social media ad, or some other channel.

DON’T: Prioritize price over quality in the consumers you target

When you’re first starting out, it can be tempting to try to acquire new customers at the lowest possible price. After all, isn’t that the sort of efficiency you’re supposed to be looking for when you turn to performance advertising?

Not quite. You also need to consider the quality of the customers you’re paying to sign up. If you’re exclusively converting the least expensive shoppers on the market, there’s a chance that your entire book of business will be made up of…the least expensive shoppers on the market. This means consumers who can be less likely to renew and more likely to default on payments. If you’re not careful, you can wind up acquiring lots of low-value customers at a cost that is not quite low enough to make them profitable to your business.

DO: Create a bidding strategy that accounts for a consumer’s lifetime value to your business

To avoid this pitfall, you should target different kinds of consumers and create a bidding strategy that takes into account how much money you can expect to make from your target customers in the long run. For instance, if a consumer is a homeowner, you might decide to double your usual cost-per-acquisition target because there’s a strong likelihood that you will be able to sell them a bundled policy that includes both home and auto insurance.

More advanced advertisers can try analyzing the lifetime value they receive from each consumer and optimizing their bidding for the lifetime value to customer acquisition costs (LTV-to-CAC) metric.

DON’T: Forget your product’s benefits and your target audience

It’s important to have a clear sense of who you’re marketing to before you create your targeting and bidding strategy. This means coming in with a deep understanding of your insurance product and the consumers it is most likely to appeal to.

DO: Craft a customer acquisition strategy that plays to your product’s strengths

What kinds of consumers should you be targeting? Which states will you be most competitive in? Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you build the backbone of your performance advertising strategy.

DON’T: Underestimate the importance of a great user experience

Even if you’re buying high-quality media that enables you to bring the right shoppers to your website, your campaign can still be undone by a poor user experience that causes consumers to leave your site without completing the quote request form.

DO: Use pre-filled forms and a simple quote flow for the best possible conversion rates

Before you start your performance advertising campaign, make sure you’ve put time and resources into a shopping experience that is as easy as possible for the consumer. Implementing pre-filled forms can speed up your quoting process by automatically transferring some of the information the consumer submitted on the referring website to your own quote form. In addition, you’ll want to keep your quote form as simple as possible.

DON’T: Underinvest in performance testing

Even the savviest marketers don’t nail their targeting and bidding parameters right away. If you want to achieve optimal performance, you need to invest in tests that are thorough enough to give you real, actionable information. If you only put a small amount of money into a test, or if you only run it for a short period of time, the data you get back won’t be statistically significant.

DO: Have patience and set realistic goals for your testing

In addition to adequate funding, good testing requires patience, realistic expectations, and a goal that you’re aiming to achieve. Indeed, it’s impossible to make sense of your test performance if you don’t know the goal you’re striving for.

Have questions about getting started in performance advertising? We’ve got answers.

Performance advertising can be tricky at first, but with the right guidance and a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to acquire valuable new customers with data-driven efficiency. And by implementing the suggestions we’ve shared here, you’ll be well on your way to crafting successful campaigns.

If you have any other questions about how to get the absolute most out of your media buying, our team of experienced, hands-on account managers will be more than happy to share their expertise with you. All you have to do is reach out to yours to set up a call. And if you’re not yet a MediaAlpha client, you can schedule a meeting with us on our website to discuss how we can help you take your digital marketing performance to the next level.

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