Consumer expectations for personalized, onlin`e shopping experiences have grown significantly in the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these expectations with consumers stuck at home and increasingly accustomed to shopping online with easy access to compare products and services. While this trend has been most noticeable for traditional ecommerce and retail products, it has also been true for more significant financial decisions like choosing the right auto, home or life insurance policy coverage. For example, at the onset of the pandemic — in March of 2020 — online comparison shopping for auto insurance skyrocketed by 26% in one month.
For insurance carriers, this means it is more critical than ever to take advantage of shared leads which are generated by comparison shopping websites and lead aggregators. For the majority of carriers, relying solely on direct brand marketing and a first party website presence is no longer a winning strategy. There are simply too many missed opportunities with consumers who want a comparative shopping experience online. The leading carriers have focused their performance marketing efforts in the shared lead channel where they can extend their brand presence and extend the reach of their advertising spend to meet consumers on their buying journey across comparison shopping websites.
Buying leads from comparison shopping websites — also known as lead sellers, aggregators, or lead generators — brings distinct competitive advantages to a carrier, however, it also presents a number of unique challenges to navigate.
Fraud, Non-Compliance, and Lead Quality
Defining “good” or “bad” quality purchased leads in the shared lead channel is distinctly challenging. Unlike a lead that is directly sourced from your own website, the origin, history and consumer experience behind a purchased lead is often opaque. Fraud and non-human web traffic can create bad leads that will never convert into a customer, wasting time and resources for the lead buyer. Similarly, a lead partner’s failure to set appropriate expectations with the consumer about how they will be contacted, or a failure to secure written consent from the consumer to receive phone calls and text messages, can create multi-million dollar legal and brand reputational risks for carriers that inadvertently violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulation.
The carriers that effectively navigate these challenges have not only focused on creating trusted relationships with their lead seller partners, but they have placed a maniacal focus on using data intelligence to drive real-time marketing spend and marketing compliance decisions.
Data Is the New Oil
It is no secret that data is the future (and present) of marketing — and it plays an outsized role in solving the issue of lead quality and marketing compliance.
Using data to remove fraud and front-end marketing compliance risks has become easier than ever before in the shared lead channel. Lead certification and TCPA compliance data providers used in conjunction with fraud and non-human bot traffic detection providers like Anura or OxfordBiochronometrics not only mitigate the risk of wasted marketing spend, but can also dramatically reduce the risk of TCPA lawsuits and compliance violations.
As a lead buyer, once you have managed to remove fraud and non-compliant leads from your consideration set, the next step is to turn towards data decisioning for lead quality and performance to optimize your marketing spend and ROI.
The use of demographic data is fairly common for lead quality assessments, as it can provide basic information about the consumer such as gender, age or location, most of which is collected from the consumer on a lead form. While demographics are useful, insurers are increasing their competitive advantage by adding behavioral data to their decisioning process.